After applying the Spot 2.0 update, Boston Dynamics has announced that the four-legged robot can now be purchased on the company’s website for $74,500. (Image Credit: Boston Dynamics)


Boston Dynamics announced that its famous four-legged Spot robot can now be purchased online via the company’s website for $74,500. Previously, Spot could only be leased to businesses through Boston Dynamics’ Early Adopters program. The entire package includes Spot, Boston Dynamics’ APIs, two batteries, a battery charger, and a tablet controller.


It may be a pretty steep price to pay for the robot. Still, industrial and commercial companies purchasing it will be assured that they’re getting the most advanced mobile robot in the world, and it can traverse anywhere a human can. Even though it’s quite agile, Spot’s workload is currently limited to surveying and data collection. To date, Spot has been deployed to produce 3D maps of construction sites and find machine faults in oil rigs. The robot has also been used in hospitals to help triage patients infected with the coronavirus.


Boston Dynamics is adding improvements to Spot based on the feedback it receives from customers, but overall, the robot is ready for general sale. This is partially due to a recent software update, called Spot 2.0, which includes advanced autonomy and navigation features.


The company is currently working on remote teleportation, and a demo version of this feature is to be made available to interested Spot customers in the future. They’ll be able to take it out for a test drive at Boston Dynamics’ headquarters in a robot assault course.  This allows customers to try it out before they purchase it, while travel is restricted due to the ongoing pandemic.


Boston Dynamics leased approximately 150 robots to customers, and the company won’t be able to reach its goal of producing 1,000 robots this year because of the pandemic. However, they project to hit that target in the first quarter of 2021. Customers will only be able to purchase two robots at once and if they want to make larger orders, they need to discuss it with the company.


Children can build five robots from the Mindstorms Robot Inventor Kit. The kit contains sensors, motors, and Lego’s Bluetooth enabled “Intelligent Hub.” (Image Credit: LEGO)


Children can now build and design robots using the Mindstorms Robot Inventor kit by LEGO. The kit includes 949 pieces along with a color sensor, a distance sensor, four motors, and LEGO’s Bluetooth-enabled “Intelligent Hub.” This kit was designed to help children learn basic STEM skills, which includes programming. The kit will be released in the fall, priced at $359.99.


The kit contains instructions to build five robots. It looks as if Blast is the most impressive one of the five, which uses all the hubs, motors and sensors that are included in the kit. Blast is capable of environment sensing, and it can fire darts. Another robot, Charlie, which is smaller, can dance and give high-fives. Tricky, on the other hand, is a robot that can play up to three different sports, including basketball, soccer, and bowling. The fourth robot, Gelo, is a quadruped that can walk around while avoiding obstacles, and lastly, the MVP (Modular Vehicle Platform), can be constructed into different vehicles such as buggies or cranes.


Additionally, LEGO’s new Intelligent Hub contains a 5x5 LED matrix, which is what gives animated faces to Charlie and Blast. It also comes with a 6-axis gyro/accelerometer, a speaker, Micro USB port, and it even has a Bluetooth connection. It can also be hooked up to various sensors and motors via the six input/output ports.


The app uses the Scratch-based coding language, which allows children to create their own designs. The app also supports Python. (Image Credit: LEGO)


Coding and building instructions for all five of these robots can be found on Lego’s Mindstorms Robot Inventor App, but it can also be used to code via its drag-and-drop programming language based on Scratch and Python. These can be useful when creating custom designs. A controller can also be synced to the app to control the robots.


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