The next wave of robotics starts with a dog walk — join us

Today we’re launching a new program called Walk With Spot to accelerate the development of robotics applications. We’re doing this by giving people from all walks of life (like you) the opportunity to remotely control a Boston Dynamics Spot (robotic dog) from anywhere in the world using a simple web-based application.

Take a look at how CNET’s Lexy Savvides, conquered Golden Gate park last week.

And Steve Crowe and Eugene Demaitre from The Robot Report also took Spot for a spin: We tele-operated Spot around Golden Gate Park from 3,000 miles away.

The background

With the recent months-long quarantine, resultant travel restrictions, and overall sense of isolation, we’re all experiencing a bit of cabin fever. While we can’t convey the smells of Golden Gate Park’s Bison Paddock (yet!), we can provide the visuals, as well as real-time interactions with the curious humans and k-9s users will likely encounter along the way. Imagine a Zoom conference strapped to a miniature All-Terrain Vehicle that you can control from the comfort of your own sofa.

Beyond the sheer novelty and fun this project offers, Formant’s primary mission is to accelerate the application of autonomy to real-world use-cases. Right now, the primary barrier to that effort isn’t the cost of hardware, computational limitations, or even need. It’s the accessibility of these systems to non-engineer operators. By making Spot dead simple to pilot, we are previewing how our robot fleet management software accelerates the application and adoption of automation technologies poised to permeate our public and professional spaces. The next wave of systems will lean on largely non-specialized, human operators to help them on their daily missions and tasks. And with this project, we intend to prove it. If you’ve used Zoom, you’re already qualified to take Spot for a spin.

Our goals

  1. To delight: We hope to bring joy to pilots and passers-by, showing robots can be friendly
  2. To start the discussion: We want the world to discover and discuss the potential of human-piloted robotics
  3. To democratize: We’re building Formant to empower non-technical individuals to participate in future robotics economy

Who should sign up?

In the wake of COVID-19, there is a renewed urgency to rethink our labor force and how it works. In the context of global labor shortages, the rapid adoption of remote work, and the persisting need for social distancing, the automation of physical work is a growing focus for both industry and society as a whole. The good news is, this movement needn’t erase the human element. Instead, it holds the potential to enable us to do more, with less sweat, and fewer risks. To help demonstrate this potential, Formant will invite a broad spectrum of individuals to schedule walks in unique, Bay-Area locations. The invitees will range from labor and industry stakeholders to journalists, children, and seniors. So, Formant cordially invites the public to remotely stretch their legs by taking the world’s most advanced production robot for a stroll – from anywhere on Earth, with no training necessary.

Ready to walk a dog?

© 2020 Formant • 1999 Bryant St · San Francisco, CA 94110
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