Spot the robot a definite hit at Collision 2022


There are really only two emotions the subject of robots seems to generate, Robert Playter, the chief executive officer of robot manufacturer Boston Dynamics, said today at Collision 2022 in Toronto: Anxiety or joy.

Spot the robot and its creator, Robert Playter. Photo by Paul Barker.

The anxiety may be the result of thinking that the company’s flagship robot named Spot, which was brought on stage to thunderous applause, and others like it are there to take away jobs that humans would normally do.

Playter said nothing could be further from the truth.

“Our goal is to build robots that work with us and in our places of work,” he said. “They don’t displace workers, they enhance what they do.”

An example of that, Playter added, could be in a warehouse where instead of someone unloading boxes, Spot would do it and the human would evolve to where he or she would become a robot operator.

Unloading containers is one of the worst jobs in the warehouse, ”he said. “It’s repetitive, it’s backbreaking work, it can be extremely hot in the summer and extremely cold in the winter. And so, we think this robot is going to find great reception in the logistics industry. ”

Boston Dynamics states on its Web site that while it “takes the natural world as inspiration for our robots, the design is ultimately motivated by functionality. Our robots end up moving like humans and animals, not because we designed them to look like humans and animals but because we made them balance.

“Balance and dynamic motion are characteristics we have previously only seen in animals. It is this organic quality of dynamically stable motion that people tend to associate with lifelike movement. ”

Playter said the company currently has close to 1,000 robots out in the field doing a variety of jobs

“And I’ve been saying with confidence that we can build robots that can pretty much go anywhere a person could go. And in some cases, even building robots that exceed human capabilities. ”

Additional coverage of Playter’s keynote speech from the conference will appear soon.

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