SpotMini robot learns to open door, battle humans [Video]

SpotMini robot learns to open door, battle humans [Video]

by Justin King

The quadruped robot overcomes human aggression without resorting to violence ... for now.

Boston Dynamics' SpotMini robot has learned to open doors and deal with disturbances, such as a human armed with a hockey stick.

An off-camera handler points at the door handle and gives the 'go' command. The robot then proceeds autonomously, using its camera to find the door handle, determine if the door is open or closed, and then navigate through the doorway.

"Software provides locomotion, balance and adjusts behavior when progress gets off track," Boston Dynamics notes.

The robot doesn't simply give up when another human handler enters the scene with a hockey stick, attempting to prevent the robot's head from grabbing the handle and then holding the door shut. Even after the handler grabs SpotMini's tether, the robot still attempts to finish the task.

"The ability to tolerate and respond automatically to disturbances like these improves successful operation of the robot," the company says. "Note: This testing does not irritate or harm the robot."

The viral video will likely fuel the debate over artificial intelligence, which could have learned a less civil way to deal with a human aggressor.