15:00 GMT09 May 2021
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    A puppy may not be a wise purchase for everyone. But, if they’ve got $74,500 to spare, perhaps a robo-pet may be the right thing for those who are not fully sold on the living version.

    For the first time in its 28-year history, Boston Dynamics, one of world's leading robotics companies, is selling its famous robot, the Spot Explorer, to the public 

    The robotic quadruped, which can be found on the Boston Dynamics website, can now be your very own robotic dog for a mere $74,500.

    “Spot Explorer is designed for developers eager to explore how flexible mobile robots can be adapted for tasks ranging from industrial inspection to entertainment,” states its product description. 

    “Spot comes ready to operate, right out of the box. With its flexible API and payload interfaces, Spot can be customized for a variety of applications.”

    Man’s Best Mechanical Friend: Robotic Dog Hits US Shelves
    Man’s Best Mechanical Friend: Robotic Dog Hits US Shelves

    Boston Dynamics also states that unfortunately, sales are limited to the US, with international consumers needing to contact the firm about leasing one. The $74,500 price is for an outright purchase of the robot, and no information is given on how much leasing costs. Academic and research institutions are eligible to receive a discount if they contact the firm. 

    Wired reports that this robotic version of man’s best friend dutifully follows every command. After trying out Spot for himself, journalist Matt Simon wrote,“The machine traipses forward, then automatically scrambles over a raised bed of rocks. I make it side-step. I command it up a flight of stairs, which it tackles with ease. It meets its match when I steer it at a medicine ball, though; it takes a tumble, and for a moment lies paralyzed on its back. But with a click of a button, Spot twists and rights itself, and recommences its ramblings.” 

    Simon was able to have the robot dog in Boston, Massachusetts, do as he wished by piloting it remotely through his web browser from the comfort of his home in San Francisco, California, 3,000 miles away. 

    Spot is able to handle many different tasks thanks to a variety of possible attachments. Although its onboard cameras aren’t able to see long distances, it’s possible to add a laser distance-measuring, or lidar, system to expand the robot’s range of perception. Alternatively, you could equip it with a high-resolution, 360-degree camera. Furthermore, Wired reports that Boston Dynamics is working on even more attachment options.

    While it’s unlikely that man’s best friend will become obsolete, perhaps robotic pets will be more than just novelty toys in the future.


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