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Last year at our TC Sessions: Robotics event, Boston Dynamics announced its intention to commercialize SpotMini. It was a big step for the secretive company. After a quarter of building some of the world’s most sophisticated robots, it was finally taking a step into the commercial realm, making the quadrupedal robot available to anyone with the need and financial resources for the device.
CEO Marc Raibert made a return appearance at our event this week to discuss the progress Boston Dynamics has made in the intervening 12 months, both with regard to SpotMini and the company’s broader intentions to take a more market-based approach to a number of its creations.
Appearance - Heels - Acquisition - Company - Fact
The appearance came hot on the heels of a key acquisition for the company. In fact, Kinema was the first major acquisition in the company’s history — no doubt helped along by the very deep coffers of its parent company, SoftBank. The Bay Area-based startup’s imaging technology forms a key component to Boston Dynamics’ revamped version of its wheeled robot hand. With a newfound version system and its dual arms replaced with a multi-suction cupped gripper.
A recent video from the company demonstrated the efficiency and speed with which the system can be deployed to move boxes from shelf to conveyor belt. As Raibert noted onstage, Handle is the closest Boston Dynamics has come to a “purpose-built robot” — i.e. a robot designed from the ground up to perform a specific task. It marks a new focus for a company that, after its earliest days of DARPA-funded projects, appears to primarily be driven by the desire to create the world’s most sophisticated robots.
Foot - Boxes - World - Year - Raibert
“We estimate that there’s about a trillion cubic foot boxes moved around the world every year,” says Raibert. “And most of it’s not automated. There’s really a huge opportunity there. And...
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