Watch Spot Mini convince a bunch of Vancouverites robots are their friends

"As with all advanced technology, it can be used for all kinds of things."

Boston Dynamics Spot Mini

Boston Dynamics, everyone’s favourite robotics company and purveyor of the apocalypse, recently visited Vancouver to demo its Spot Mini robot and talk about the future of robotics. The presentation, which happened this past April at TED Vancouver, is now available to stream via the conference’s website.

In the video, Marc Raibert, the founder and CEO of Boston Dynamics, provides an update on the company’s recent breakthroughs. One of the more significant ones involves the use of 3D printing to create robotic body parts that more closely resemble organic parts. In turn, this has allowed the company to makes its new robots a lot lighter.

The company’s original Atlus robot, for instance, weighed 375 pounds. Meanwhile, the Atlus 3, the company’s latest humanoid robot, weighs 165 pounds (the average Canadian male weighs 177 pounds, by comparison).

It also appears the company made significant software strides just before it was sold by Google X to Softbank. At the time when the presentation was filmed, Spot Mini was able to successfully deliver a package to someone’s home 70 percent success of the time.

The presentation eventually leads to a Q&A period in which Raibert is asked about the dark side of robotics and whether the military has shown interest in the company’s robots. Raibert does little to reassure the crowd that all of this won’t end in tears. “Sure, the military has been a big funder of robotics,” says Raibert.

“I don’t think the military is the dark side myself. As with all advanced technology, it can be used for all kinds of things.”