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Marc Raibert believes the impact of robots will be greater than the Internet. He is one of the few who has the credibility to make such a statement. In 1980, Marc founded the Carnegie Mellon University Leg Lab. He is a professor at CMU and MIT. In 1992, he founded Boston Dynamics, a world leader in mobile robots with a reputation for tackling some of the toughest robotics challenges. The company combines the principles of dynamic control and balance with sophisticated mechanical designs, advanced electronics, and next-generation software. They create robots equipped with perception, navigation, and, yes, intelligence.

Knowing a lot about how legs work, Dr. Raibert developed the first self-balancing, hopping robot, a significant step forward in robotics. Raibert’s dream is to advance bipedal and quadrupedal robotics to a supernatural state. I am not so sure about the supernatural part, but I am convinced his dream about robotic dogs is a winner. Watch the mind-blowing video above and see a glimpse of the future, which is already here.

As you can see, Spot, the four-legged robotic assistant “dog” has surprising dexterity, can open doors, and handle tasks in industrial or construction settings which humans may not want to do. It climbs stairs, navigates irregular terrain, and is immune to rain and dust. Using a built-in camera and sensors. the robot can trot at up to 3 miles an hour.

Now that Spot is becoming available for sale or lease, the most useful applications for it will be determined by the customers. One likely possibility is performing visual inspections in workspaces which may not be safe for humans. Future options will no doubt include an appendage which can pick up and grasp objects.

Boston Dynamcis has not announced a price, but a technology magazine wrote it might “cost as much as a luxury car.”