Wed. Nov 29th, 2023
    Spot, the Robot Dog: A New Era of Communication

    Spot, the innovative robot dog developed by Boston Dynamics, has recently acquired the ability to ‘speak’ and answer questions thanks to the collaboration with OpenAI’s ChatGPT. Hyundai-owned US robotics design firm, Boston Dynamics, successfully trained Spot using a combination of ChatGPT and open-source large language models (LLMs).

    To enable Spot to ‘speak,’ engineers equipped the robot with a speaker and integrated text-to-speech capabilities. Spot is given a concise script which, when combined with visual information obtained from its cameras, allows the robot to generate contextually relevant responses. By capturing images and applying Visual Question Answering models, Spot can provide answers to inquiries about its surroundings and facilities.

    Although Spot appears to ‘mimic’ speaking in its interactions, it is the text-to-speech technology that generates the audible responses. Boston Dynamics has shared a video showcasing Spot’s speaking abilities, with the robot dog’s mouth opening and the speaker projecting the answers.

    The integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics has vast potential, according to Matt Klingensmith, principal software engineer at Boston Dynamics. LLMs provide valuable cultural context, practical knowledge, and flexibility that can enhance various robotics tasks. For instance, the ability to assign tasks to robots through verbal communication could greatly simplify the learning curve for utilizing these systems.

    This exciting development marks a significant milestone in the field of human-robot communication. Spot’s newfound ability to interact and provide informative responses opens up a range of possibilities in areas such as customer service, assistance in navigating complex environments, and even companionship.


    1. How does Spot ‘speak’?

    Spot can ‘speak’ by utilizing text-to-speech capabilities integrated into its design. Engineers at Boston Dynamics trained the robot to generate responses by combining a brief script with visual information obtained from its cameras.

    2. What are ChatGPT and LLMs?

    ChatGPT is an AI language model developed by OpenAI that enables robots like Spot to engage in conversations and answer questions. Large Language Models (LLMs) refer to open-source models used to enhance the training process of Spot’s responses.

    3. What role does artificial intelligence play in this development?

    Artificial intelligence, particularly in the form of language models like ChatGPT, enhances Spot’s communication abilities. It provides contextual understanding and knowledge to generate accurate and relevant responses. The integration of AI with robotics contributes to the overall advancement of human-robot interaction.