Boston Dynamics’ SpotMini can now open doors and call for backup like something straight out of a sci-fi movie

Boston Dynamics’ SpotMini is back. This time with a head and some serious collaboration skills.

The robotics firm has posted a new video of its SpotMini robot dog simply titled “Hey buddy, can you give me a hand?”

In the YouTube video, one SpotMini looks troubled upon reaching a firmly closed door, but out of nowhere, its dog buddy appears to save the day, opening the heavy-looking door and holding it open until both robots/dogs have passed through.

That’s right. Robots, like the raptors in Jurassic Park, have learnt how to open doors.

We first saw this latest iteration of the SpotMini in November, when it was shown without a head attachment. Now it’s got its head back and it’s smarter than ever.

Even the earliest SpotMini was capable of doing some pretty cool stuff like climbing stairs, stacking the dishwasher and righting itself when it toppled over, but the interaction between the two SpotMinis in this latest video makes them take on a much more sophisticated, and altogether more lifelike (read: slightly terrifying) form.

Indeed, where the first SpotMini was noisy and looked a little clumsy, everything about the new, yellow SpotMini appears slick and polished.

It’s not clear how the dogs communicate, but when the first SpotMini drops his hind legs and extends his front limbs (resembling the body language of a dog or wolf that’s crying out), doggo number two almost instantly appears from behind a cabinet.

The second SpotMini then uses a remarkable combination of head and neck movements in order to open the door, while giving its companion enough space to walk through. First, it grabs the handle and pulls it towards it, then it blocks the door from closing with its front-left leg, before putting its head behind the door and levering it fully open. As it finally walks through the door, its neck swivels to ensure the door doesn’t close on it.

The video might only be a minute long, but personally, I find the slick problem solving of the SpotMini much more interesting than the jumps and backflips of Boston Dynamic’s showoff humanoid robot, Atlas. It’s just difficult to imagine what the robot dogs might be able to do next…

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