LSU Construction Management Dept. welcomes new pet, robo-dog 'Spot'
BATON ROUGE- LSU Construction Management students have a new pet that will live in one of the department's labs. This dog can see, hear, smell, and listen to demands, but requires no water, food, or walks. His name is Spot and he is a robot.
Spot was created by Boston Dynamics as a "dog-bot," meant to serve a multitude of purposes.
The department says Spot can go where people cannot, making the bot useful for things such as inspecting gas leaks, getting close to COVID-19 patients (reserving PPE), and even "herding sheep." LSU says the bot can climb stairs and traverse rough terrain with ease.
LSU Construction Management Professor Jonathan Shi is Spot’s “trainer,” and said Spot can be trained to do whatever the department would like him to do.
“We want to create a mission telling Spot where to go and what information to gather,” Shi said. “What can we learn from that information and what decisions can be made accordingly? On a construction site, you do inspections and send people to check on safety regulations and progress. What we see, we do not always remember, and it’s also not very detailed. Spot’s sensors enable us to gather more precise information.”
The department says Spot has his very own graphics processing unit, or GPU, and advanced sensors that can sense much better than human eyes and ears. This allows him to detect dangerous situations, such as in chemical plants, the oil and gas field, and mines.
Spot can also communicate through WiFi, telephone networks and GPS. Since he also comes with a laser scanner, Spot can take 360-degree photos. He can be driven remotely or taught routes and actions to perform missions.
“Students will be happy to see what this new technology can do,” Shi said. “It’s exciting for them and their research.”
Shi hopes to work with LSU’s engineering departments to create further applications for Spot.
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