The last time Alphabet subsidiary Boston Dynamics released a creepy video of its latest robot creation, it caused so much consternation that Google’s parent company put the unit up for sale.
Today, Boston Dynamics released a new video of another new robot, the SpotMini, which has a long, extendable claw coming off its back. And in an attempt to make SpotMini less terrifying, the company attached a set of googly eyes, making it look like a bizarre robot dinosaur.
It can also keep its extra arm perfectly still as it moves around it, rather like a gimbal on a drone. As a happy byproduct, it appears to have some hilariously awkward dance moves.
The SpotMini is a smaller, streamlined version of Boston Dynamic’s Spot robot, unveiled in early 2015. The company loves to mistreat its robot creations, and the new unveiling is no exception: The video shows SpotMini crashing to the floor after slipping on some deviously place banana peels.
Presumably the bullying is designed to show how stable and resilient the robots are, but they definitely will be used as evidence when humans are tried for crimes against robot-kind. And it does seem that SpotMini is at least a little fed up with its human masters.
In a coda to the video, SpotMini brings a human a Diet Coke. Instead of just handing it over, it pulls back and then appears to lunge at the human. When the human moves away, SpotMini hits a wall, and promptly falls over.
But SpotMini is also shown to have some useful qualities: The robotic arm can help it clear up recycling, and put dishes in the dishwasher.
Rumors have been floated that Alphabet is preparing to offload Boston Dynamics to Toyota—which recently set up a billion-dollar robotics research lab. But given SpotMini’s quirky personality, perhaps the robot maker would prefer a sale to Disney and its army of “imagineers.” It would definitely make the next Star Wars film a bit more interesting.