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Boston Dynamics' dog-like 'Spot' robot goes on sale -- but there's a catch

Thomas Barrabi

After years of development, Boston Dynamics’ robot “Spot” was made available for sale on Tuesday, but the general public won’t be able to purchase the dog-like device just yet.

The Waltham, Massachusetts-based robotics design firm said it is accepting applications for orders from “select early customers” in the business world. To be considered, companies interested in purchasing “Spot” must explain how they would use the device to aid their business, or possess a development team capable of leveraging the technology in a unique way.

“Just because of the scarcity of the robots that we have, we’re going to have to be selective about which partners we start working together with,” Michael Perry, Boston Dynamics vice president of business development, told IEEE Spectrum, which first reported that Spot was on sale.

Boston Dynamics did not immediately respond to a request for comment on how much individual robots cost to purchase.

Spot uses 360-degree cameras and sensors to navigate obstacles in worksites and is capable of picking itself up if it falls. The robot moves at speeds of up to 3 miles-per-hour and can operate for up to 90 minutes per battery charge.

The quadrupedal robot can also perform basic tasks, such as opening doors or grasping objects. It is built to withstand falls as well as fluctuations in external temperature.

Videos of Spot’s development have regularly gone viral on YouTube and other social media platforms in recent years.

“A nimble robot that climbs stairs and traverses rough terrain with unprecedented ease, yet is small enough to use indoors. Built to be a rugged and customizable platform, Spot autonomously accomplishes your industrial sensing and remote operation needs,” the company’s description of “Spot” says.

Boston Dynamics has identified at least three potential uses for the robot. “Spot” can be used for mapping construction sites to create digital progress reports, facilitate remote inspections of oil and gas plants and aid public safety operations by monitoring dangerous situations without endangering humans.

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