That changed Tuesday when Boston Dynamics released a video in which Spot — decorated with seasonal flair and reindeer ears — pulls a sleigh. Two other holiday-themed versions of Spot trot ahead as jingle bells plays in the background.
“Happy Holidays from Boston Dynamics!” says a female Santa riding in the sleigh.
It’s a different side of the robot maker. It’s hard not to watch the video without chuckling. Instead of showing off technical capabilities — like the ability to jump on a 30-foot building — it attempts to make us smile. And in a refreshing twist, a woman plays a role in one of its videos. While the robots always take center stage, any humans in its videos have been overwhelmingly male. The field of robotics isn’t close to having gender balance, as the teams at DARPA’s Robotics Challenge make clear.
Of course, given the advances we’ve seen from Boston Dynamics in human-like robots, next year Santa might be a robot too.