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Spot gets footloose in a factory in Boston Dynamics’ latest video

Spot, the most famous four-legged robot in the world, sometimes seems more like an animatronic entertainer than an industrial machine. But creators Boston Dynamic want to remind the world at large in a new video that this thing can do work, too.

The new Spot spot, titled “No Time To Dance,” shows the quadrupedal bot carrying out a range of tasks in an industrial setting. Spot takes readings from gauges, uses an infrared camera to scan some equipment, and generates work orders for human employees. And, yes, then it does a little dance as well.

It’s a slick video — testimony to Boston Dynamics’ ability to make a robot that has been tested for use with both the military and law enforcement seem cute and harmless. (And to be fair: it is harmless. It’s just the ways humans might put it to use that are worrying.)

The video is really a way to show off a bunch of small but useful upgrades that Boston Dynamics is announcing for Spot: the robot’s five stereo cameras now produce full-color imagery; its tablet controller has been upgraded to a Samsung unit with a larger screen, longer battery life, and ruggedized case; it has a new charging module; and it has a new system-on-chip for faster on-device AI processing and 5G compatibility. (For the spec-hungry among you: the module is an Nvidia Jetson Xavier NX with — if BD is using the regular loadout — 384 CUDA cores, 48 Tensor cores, and 6 Arm CPUs.)

Again, all of this is to remind you that Spot is a tool, not a toy. And it’s looking for work.

You can check out a detailed rundown of the new features in the video below:

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