Adam Savage taps Boston Dynamics robot to pull custom rickshaw

The first of many Spot videos to come from Savage in 2020  
By Shawn Knight

Image result for Adam Savage taps Boston Dynamics robot to pull custom rickshaw
In brief:
Adam Savage of MythBusters fame may have just found the best use yet for Boston Dynamics’ robotic dog, Spot (ok, probably not, but it’s still neat nevertheless).
In a video published to YouTube on Thursday for Tested, Savage said he spent roughly five days building the carriage for his personal rickshaw which is based on a wheelchair chassis. The real star of the show, however, is Spot and the true challenge was creating an interface between the rickshaw and the robot.
To help, Savage consulted Seth Davis, the field applications lead with Boston Dynamics. Fortunately, Spot comes equipped with universal cargo rails for attaching things directly to its back. What they came up with is essentially a tow hitch that mounts on the robot’s back.
The video leans more on the engineering side than most but it’s easy enough to skip past that part if you aren’t interested (the real fun starts around the 22-minute mark).

Theatrics aside, the creation really isn’t all that practical. The robot’s movements transfer to the rickshaw, resulting in what looks like a rather jostling ride. What’s more, it’s slow and Spot isn’t great at tackling inclines with stock programming.
By tweaking Spot, however, they were able to compensate for the payload (Savage and the rickshaw) and respond accordingly. The resulting ride was smoother and even a tad bit quicker.
Still, if you’re looking for the best in personal transportation, even something as basic as a powered wheelchair would be a much better choice.

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