Boston Dynamics, the Google subsidiary company best known for its versatile quadruped military robots, has demonstrated a new smaller robot 'dog' which appears to be rather adept at domestic chores. The SpotMini robot is said to be light and quiet and it runs entirely on batteries.
At the time of writing the Boston Dynamics homepage seems to be lacking in any links to pages or information dedicated to SpotMini but thankfully there is an outline of its specs/capabilities posted in the YouTube video description. The firm says that this robot is a smaller version of its Spot robot. SpotMini weighs 25Kg, or just under 30Kg with its very useful 'arm'. We are told that SpotMini is "one of the quietest robots we have ever built," thanks to its battery powered motors and can run for about 90 minutes between charges. Indoors you could likely set up a charging dock/bed for SpotMini so it would always be ready to provide robotic help.
SpotMini is fitted with a variety of sensors including depth cameras, a solid state gyro (IMU) and proprioception sensors in the limbs. These help the robot complete tasks and manipulate objects elegantly. SpotMini is said to be able to complete tasks autonomously but looks to humans for high-level guidance when required.
I found it rather enjoyable to watch the SpotMini video, where you can see the robot dog work helpfully in the kitchen correctly throwing things in the trash and placing things in the dish washer. The Boston Dynamics researchers had left a banana skin in the hallway which comically caused SpotMini to come a cropper – however it righted itself using the 10Kg arm attachment with aplomb. The 'arm' attaches to SpotMini like a neck and the 'hand' is fashioned like a diplodocus head, making the robot look rather cute. Without the 'arm' SpotMini would lose a lot of its functionality so I am not certain why it seems to be an optional appendage.
Boston Dynamics hasn't indicated when/if anyone will be able to buy their own canine household robot to help around the house.