This article originally appeared in Boston Business Journal, a sister site of BostInno.
Boston Dynamics, the SoftBank-owned robotics company based in Waltham, has a new trick up its sleeve and it involves a little bit of old-fashioned robot gentility.
On Monday, the company uploaded a YouTube video showing one of its newer bots — the small four-legged robot called SpotMini — opening a door handle and then holding the door for one of its friends. The company says that SpotMini, Boston Dynamics’ quietest robot, is all-electric and can go for about 90 minutes on a charge, depending on what it’s doing.
Boston Dynamics periodically uploads new videos of its robots to its YouTube channel and it’s not clear how SpotMini’s newest feature could be used in the real world, but it’s not too hard to see where SoftBank might be taking the technology. SoftBank already owns the humanoid robot Pepper, which was first touted as a potential companion for elderly people and as a greeter in retail stores.
A subsidiary of Japanese tech giant SoftBank Group Corp. last year acquired Boston Dynamics, a company that’s known around the world for its development of humanoid and animal-like robots, from Alphabet Inc.
Boston Dynamics has developed a series of robots that look like animals including BigDog, which was originally funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and is the size of a large dog or small mule. The robot is designed to run at “4 mph, climb slopes up to 35 degrees, walks across rubble, climb muddy hiking trails, walk in snow and water, and carry [a] 340 pound load,” according to the company’s website. It’s also developed two human-like robots, Atlas and Petman.