Spot Robot Dog Helps Doctors Remotely Triage COVID-19 Patients
Boston Dynamics spent six weeks developing a new payload, hardware and software before open-sourcing its work for other mobile robotics platforms to use.
Spot has twerked to Bruno Mars, hauled a truck across a parking lot and pulled Adam Savage's homemade rickshaw. Now Boston Dynamics' robot dog is taking on the most important role of its life: frontline healthcare worker.
Like many companies, Boston Dynamics' focus shifted due to the coronavirus pandemic. The engineering firm spent six weeks developing a new payload, hardware and software, preparing Spot to help reduce exposure of medical staff to the novel coronavirus.
"We have spent the past several weeks trying to better understand hospital requirements to develop a mobile robotics solution with our robot, Spot," a Boston Dynamics blog post explained. "The result is a legged robot application that can be deployed to support frontline staff responding to the pandemic in ad-hoc environments such as triage tents and parking lots."
That's exactly what Spot has been doing since joining the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Massachusetts two weeks ago. With an iPad and a two-way radio strapped to its back, the robot serves as a telemedicine platform — providers can videoconference and sort potentially contagious patients.
Following a successful trial period, Boston Dynamics has open-sourced its designs "to empower mobile robotics platforms to leverage the same hardware and software stack that we've developed." You don't need a Spot dog to implement the services; most wheeled, tracked or legged robots will do.