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  • Writer's pictureSarah Ruivivar

Boston Dynamics' Spot: The Chatty Tour Guide

Image Credits: Boston Dynamics

Meet your new tour guide, Spot, the robot dog from Boston Dynamics.

This isn't your ordinary tour guide, though. Spot has learnt to chat, and it's all thanks to OpenAI’s ChatGPT API.

In a video that's both fascinating and a tad eerie, Spot dons a top hat, a moustache, and googly eyes, and takes staff members on a tour of Boston Dynamics’ facilities. With a British accent, Spot invites the staff to follow him around the charging stations where his robotic siblings rest and recharge.

But how does Spot manage to hold a conversation? Boston Dynamics combined OpenAI’s ChatGPT API with some open-source large language models to train Spot's responses. They then equipped Spot with a speaker and text-to-speech capabilities, and even made its gripper mimic speech.

According to Matt Klingensmith, the principal software engineer at Boston Dynamics, Spot was given a brief script for each room in the facility. Spot then blends this script with the imagery it captures from its body and gripper cameras to generate a response.

Spot's tour guide persona isn't the only character it plays. It also takes on the roles of a 1920s archaeologist, a teenager, a Shakespearean time traveller, and even a sarcastic poet. But don't be fooled by Spot's playful demeanour. Remember, this is a robot dog that can open doors and has been used by the police and military.

Boston Dynamics is excited about the future of AI and robotics, and the potential for robots to understand and respond to verbal tasks. While there are still some kinks to iron out with the language models, the progress is promising.

So, next time you visit Boston Dynamics, be ready for Spot, your chatty tour guide, to show you around!

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