Why Is Everyone So Obsessed With Boston Dynamics

From robot dogs that open doors to humanoid robots, Boston Dynamics' is on a mission to make humans' lives safer and simpler with its lifelike robot creations. While Boston Dynamics has faced competition from the likes of Unitree, ANYbotics and other engineering companies that have created quadrupled robots, Boston Dynamics often stands out from the rest thanks to its expertise, technology and cool yet sophisticated lifelike robots that often captivates its audience's attention. Everyone seems to be obsessed with Boston Dynamics and for good reasons. Here's why:

Boston Dynamics Has a Robust History

Boston Dynamics has a long and strong history that dates back to the days its founder Marc Raibert created the company as a spinoff company from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) back in 1992. Raibert currently serves as Boston Dynamics chief executive officer (CEO) and has led the company through several innovations and acquisitions, including its popular BigDog robot and acquisitions by Google and SoftBank Group.

Boston Dynamics' lineup of robots.

Thanks to its innovation and robotics expertise, private companies and government organizations alike look to Boston Dynamics for help with developing robots.

Boston Dynamics Robots' Applications are Vast

The company has made some significant innovations that demonstrate a wide variety of applications for robots, such as carrying supplies for troops and surveying work progress in construction sites. Moreover, the robots Boston Dynamics create often are easy to maneuver thanks to its racecar-like remote controls.

Some of its most important robots include BigDog, PETMAN, and LS. Atlas, Handle, the Spot and SpotMini are more recent innovations that have everyone excited about Boston Dynamics.

The company's infamous BigDog robot helped popularize Boston Dynamics thanks to its ability to travel on rough terrain, making it the first legged robot to achieve this feat. It was designed for the U.S. military and saw subsequent innovations, including the LS3.

Also, the SpotMini has the capabilities similar to a robot butler thanks to its ability to clasp objects. The robot has the potential to perform simple tasks, such as serving a beverage.

Boston Dynamics' lifelike robots can find where they need to go automatically once they map out their surroundings. The robots also are known to sustain impact and even keep their balance on various types of terrain. Thanks to Boston Dynamics' innovations, the company has attracted major interest from government organizations, private companies and the public.

Making it Viral

Boston Dynamics often shares what they are working on via social media videos. Its transparency helps the public realize the endless applications its robots have and it's part of why the videos go viral.  For instance, the video of the SpotMini opening a door with its extended arm sparks interest by demonstrating its capabilities beyond serving beverages.

The magic behind these videos is that the company focuses on creating content that is easy to understand and focuses on what the robots can do. One popular video includes the SpotMini performing the running man dance. This simple entertaining scene, with Uptown Funk playing, perfectly demonstrates the robot's flexibility.

But their most popular video shows Atlas, a humanoid robot, taking a walk outside in the snow, moving boxes, opening doors, etc. You don't need explanations to understand how advanced Atlas is when you see its balancing skills and its ability to fall and stand up as it's being pushed.

By demonstrating the flexibility, persistence, and robustness of their robots in surprising and funny videos, Boston Dynamics' channel has gained millions of views. And its fandom has even extended beyond its reach to parodies made of its content, such as the viral video that uses CGI to mock a Boston Dynamics-like robot hitting a human. 

It's no secret; everyone is excited about Boston Dynamics. And by using viral videos, the company found the ideal vehicle for driving interest in its products and expertise in the robotics community and the general public.

The Company's First Commercial Robot is Preparing for Launch

Boston Dynamics is constantly working on the next innovative project in robotics, but what is next for the company in the near future offers even more exciting news. One exciting project Boston Dynamics is working on is the launch of its first commercial robot named Spot.

This quadrupedal robot is projected to go on sale to the public towards the end of 2019. The company is aiming to produce 1,000 units of the quadrupedal robot and is marketing Spot as a mobile platform that completes a variety of tasks. For instance, the robot can open doors with an arm attachment. It can also identify hazards and map out construction sites when equipped with 3D cameras.

Boston Dynamics is currently testing Spot in surveying work, package delivery and other proof-of-concept (POC) environments. Spot's launch and ability to deviate from a task---the way humans do---when an expected behavior occurs are making Spot shape up to be one of Boston Dynamics' most significant innovations yet.

Final Thoughts

The frenzy surrounding Boston Dynamics is dynamic thanks to its expertise, technology, and lifelike robots' capabilities and the viral videos that demonstrate their applications. With a vast selection of applications and its venture into consumer products, Boston Dynamics is offering investors, competitors and consumers alike something worth watching.

Picture credit:
Boston Dynamics, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LikxFZZO2sk
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