Wheelchair or Spotchair?

Author
Stuart
Category
blog

After thinking long and hard in the head till it hurt about what I’m going to do when my venerable steed eventually passes its prime, I finally decided the new accessibility solution from Boston Dynamics is the way to go. The video of the SpotMini robot from Boston Dynamics dragging a truck is what finally tipped me over the edge:1

Clearly, the only reason the little robots in the video above are dragging a big truck is because I was unavailable that day. - Me 2019

A couple of these little robots pulling me around in a fully pressure relieving and comfortable chair on wheels is an idea whose time has finally come. The people of Boston dynamics are incredibly clever (and very attractive to boot) so obviously this is what they had in mind when they designed this robot. I know that other people have wild ideas about these robots being used other purposes but really, are any of them as great an idea as this one? I think not.

Still not convinced? Okay you sceptical little scamp you. Here’s a video of Spot doing chores around the house. I am quadriplegic, can’t do these jobs myself… seeing the connections yet?! Thought so.

Carer or Robot…? FIGHT!

For some reason people would prefer a human look after them when they become vulnerable in some way, either through old age or some sort of medical laying low type thing like becoming quadriplegic. Crazy people in other words. But in the interests of fairness, let’s make two lists of the benefits of each type of carer and see who wins.

Spot

First we have the robot Spot Mini, who:

  1. Will reliably pull me around in my environment
  2. Can do chores and other tasks around the house
  3. Is a robot!
  4. Will do reconnaissance of unfamiliar buildings and venues to see whether they are accessible to the likes of me
  5. If the result of (4) is an inaccessible building, he can gather together a couple of hundred of his Spotty friends and pull doors off hinges, smash doorways wider and smooth out steps by stomping on them. You know, normal accessibility adaptations
  6. Is a robot!!!!!1!
  7. Also they don’t get angry, tired, hungry and are excellent timekeepers

Humans

Next up are the Meat Sacks, who:

  1. Can’t pull me around the world reliably
  2. Are always breaking things around the house
  3. Are not robots
  4. Think reconnaissance is somewhere in France
  5. Probably can’t pull a door off its hinges
  6. are still not robots.
  7. Get angry, tired, hungry and are rarely on time for work

Conclusion

There we have it. Scientific proof2 that in every way Spot comes ahead in the “Who Should Stuart Rather Be Looked after By” Competition. Well Done Spot!

A Message to Boston Dynamics

Hello Boston Dynamics folks! In the unlikely event somebody from your team is reading this post I’m available whenever you are for the inevitable beta testing that will inevitably be needed to achieve everything outlined above. I’m reassuringly expensive where testing robots is concerned!

Further Info

I’ve just lifted a little bit of the blurb from the Boston Dynamics website showing you each of the different types of Spot robot, the SpotMini is the result of testing done on the larger original Spot robot and the other robots became before it. Very cool stuff.

SpotMini

Good Things Come in Small Packages
A nimble robot that handles objects, climbs stairs, and will operate in offices, homes and outdoors.

Spot

Takes a Kicking and Keeps on Ticking
Spot takes the lessons learned developing BigDog, Cheetah and LS3, and rolls them into a quiet four-legged robot with extraordinary rough terrain mobility and super-human stability.


  1. Tipped me over the edge towards Boston Dynamics, not me over the edge in the crazy way. 

  2. Yes, scientific! 

robots, stuart, and opinion

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