This one has wheels!
February 3, 2017 8:23 AM   Subscribe

The imagineers at Boston Dynamics have built a new metal friend. (via)
posted by theodolite (31 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
This presents a really good opportunity to drop one of my favorite jokes.

I just flew in from the Transformers convention and boy are my arms tires!

Thanks folks I'll be here all week.
posted by phunniemee at 8:27 AM on February 3, 2017 [64 favorites]


Oh my that is one elegant design--the thing's stability given the small footprint is mind-blowing.

One week ago my guy had robotic-assisted surgery for cancer, and during his hospital stay I spent time watching the building's robot pharmacy (similar to this one). I learned that the surgery I had myself--total hip replacement--is a procedure that is now also being performed by robot, rendering the years my own surgeon spent perfecting his exceptional technique obsolete.

It's overwhelming how quickly these technologies are moving forward and supplanting skilled workers. Just think: if Mr. Gower had had on of those robots back in Bedford Falls he wouldn't have needed George Bailey to keep him out of jail--if he'd had a job at all.
posted by kinnakeet at 8:43 AM on February 3, 2017 [1 favorite]


Excellent choice going with the cloven-hoof/devil/hicus-woodcut inspired body plan. A+++ nightmare fuel, will shudder again.
posted by Rhomboid at 8:49 AM on February 3, 2017 [12 favorites]


That's the end of warehouse jobs.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:52 AM on February 3, 2017 [9 favorites]


we ded
posted by Mike Mongo at 8:53 AM on February 3, 2017 [3 favorites]


Heartbeeps, here we come.
posted by grumpybear69 at 8:58 AM on February 3, 2017


They missed the chance to call SpotMini Opabinia instead, but that's too many layers of nerd, I suppose.

I appreciate his joking about the "nightmare-inducing" properties of these robots. I often wonder how serious roboticists deal with the ambivalent emotional reactions of people outside the field, if they do at all. Personally I tend to find them more cute than frightening, especially when the wheeled one was spinning around with open arms like it was in the middle of its Disney princess song.
posted by Countess Elena at 9:00 AM on February 3, 2017 [5 favorites]


BEWARE THE WHEELERS
posted by dephlogisticated at 9:02 AM on February 3, 2017 [13 favorites]


Boston Dynamics: Bringing us one step closer to Roujin Z
posted by Nanukthedog at 9:08 AM on February 3, 2017 [1 favorite]


A more efficient design would be wheels on all 4 legs, so on smooth surfaces it could just roll without needing to balance, then brake the wheels and walk if the ground was too bumpy. Then you paint it blue.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 9:15 AM on February 3, 2017 [3 favorites]


It's funny, because even right wingers are starting to talk about basic universal income. Too bad the discussion is only ramping up because middle class white collar workers are now at risk. Better late than never, I guess.
posted by Beholder at 9:17 AM on February 3, 2017


Oh no, this is the end of our thriving carhop industry!
posted by FJT at 9:42 AM on February 3, 2017


I often wonder how serious roboticists deal with the ambivalent emotional reactions of people outside the field, if they do at all.


Roboticists think quite a lot about people's reactions. There are technical problems getting these things to work, but the social problems are often bigger. Roboticists have to think about how to integrate robots into worlds designed for people, and those worlds include people.

I studied robotics many years ago, and we had sections on the course about the uncanny valley, Frankenstein effect and different cultural contexts alongside stuff on job displacement and other socio-economic bits.

It's always kind of interesting to see what people think is impressive in robotics. Quite often the impressive looking move (the chicken head routine in this one for example) is actually relatively simple in robotics world, whereas stuff that you do every day (going up stairs, catching balls, walking at all) is fantastically complicated.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 9:46 AM on February 3, 2017 [4 favorites]


James! Baxter! James! Baxterrrr!
posted by rikschell at 9:51 AM on February 3, 2017 [8 favorites]


Oh no, this is the end of our thriving carhop industry!

Especially since it can apparently hop right over your car when delivering your order...
posted by jim in austin at 9:56 AM on February 3, 2017 [1 favorite]


I remember one demo where a flying robot would toss something in the air spinning and catch it, just amazing but still closer to a clockwork device than what seems toddler simple like "hand me the red block". There is a lot of movement towards computer "understanding", some big changes (machine translation, facial/emotion recognition) seem to be happening due to the huge increase in hardware speed/memory but at some point all the pieces will all come together in that Positronic Brain. Exciting, scary.

The rolling jump was pretty cool.
posted by sammyo at 10:09 AM on February 3, 2017


It's funny, because even right wingers are starting to talk about basic universal income.

Not to derail, but the UBI started as a right-wing idea — see the Nixon Administration's FAP — and continues to find fervent support among neoliberals. The reasons for the appeal are left as an exercise for the reader.

Carry on nightmarizing!
posted by adamgreenfield at 10:58 AM on February 3, 2017 [3 favorites]


"It's basically an exercise in seeing if we can do something like the humanoid that has less degrees of freedom, eventually could be less expensive, but still have significant capability."

I mean, okay, I think it's probably pretty fair to assume he's talking about degrees of freedom vis-à-vis locomotion, relative to the humanoid robot, but...
posted by Sys Rq at 11:30 AM on February 3, 2017 [1 favorite]


You order your stuff through a smartphone, on an app curated by a bot. Put the crates of goods manufactured by robots into a robotic truck, carry it across the country to a robotic warehouse, where it's sorted and put into individual shipments (on robotic vans or drones for immediate delivery) and delivered to gated communities and high rises guarded by robotic rolly guards that have guns strapped to them.

Uh... I guess the design and upper level management jobs still exist, right? High end retail interfaced by a human is an aspirational career for the college educated.
posted by codacorolla at 11:52 AM on February 3, 2017 [1 favorite]


I'd like to say I'm still not afraid of our robot masters, but they now know when you're bluffing.
posted by roystgnr at 12:15 PM on February 3, 2017


I mean, okay, I think it's probably pretty fair to assume he's talking about degrees of freedom vis-à-vis locomotion, relative to the humanoid robot, but...

No they're talking about Deltas. I'm really awfully glad I'm a Beta, because I don't work so hard.
posted by GuyZero at 12:36 PM on February 3, 2017


You know how haute couture houses have been teaming up with mass market retailers for collaborations, like Maison Martin Margiela x H&M or Missoni x Target? I am not looking forward to the inevitable Guillermo del Toro x Boston Dynamics team-up.
posted by mhum at 12:59 PM on February 3, 2017 [2 favorites]


Boston Dynamics: Our Robots Will Skateboard Better Than Your Kids
posted by Nanukthedog at 2:05 PM on February 3, 2017


Boston Dynamics: Our Robots Will Skateboard Better Than Your Kids
And with the same casual indifference baked right in.
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 2:54 PM on February 3, 2017


Can we have Soros pay for about two million of these to descend upon DC at the same time?
posted by perhapses at 7:11 PM on February 3, 2017


The wheeled one appears much more prepared to murder everyone than the ones with feet. Have we been heretofore kept safe by some engineers' stubborn insistence that death machines need feet, not wheels?
posted by ethansr at 7:22 PM on February 3, 2017


see the Nixon Administration's FAP

No, thank you.
posted by univac at 6:51 PM on February 4, 2017 [3 favorites]


I'm actually not sure what FAP stands for in this context. Care to explain?
posted by Sleeper at 2:21 AM on February 5, 2017


BEWARE THE WHEELERS
posted by dephlogisticated at 9:02 AM on February 3


There definitely is a strong whiff of the Wheelers here.
posted by Sleeper at 2:27 AM on February 5, 2017


"If my grandmother had wheels, she'd be a " Handler.
posted by filtergik at 5:52 AM on February 5, 2017


Speaking of wheeled robots, Italian scooter manufacturer Piaggio have a prototype autonomous delivery robot.
posted by acb at 10:03 AM on February 6, 2017


« Older ACT 1: THEY MEET   |   She Received 65 Proposals, but Never Married Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments