Oct 12, 2018

How much is that robot in the window?

Video: Boston Dynamics

For its latest trick, a dog-like robot from Boston Dynamics noses around a construction site and scuttles up stairs on four legs — a demonstration, the company hopes, for why the market should buy its creations.

Why it matters: Boston Dynamics is trying to figure out how to sell its robots, including Spot, the robot that in the clip above is moving with an agility and versatility that possibly no rival has matched.

Boston Dynamics likes to cloud its work with mystery, teasing the watching world with showy videos in which robots do amazing feats.

Reality check: We asked Boston Dynamics whether the robot above is autonomous or human-driven, but it did not answer.

What's next: Beyond putting out flashy demos, the company has been plagued with questions about how it will make money. Just last week, Rethink, a storied robotics company, folded. An executive told the Boston Globe it crumbled under pressure from competitors, not because of wider monetization problems in the industry.

Go deeper

Supreme Court to hear Philadelphia case over same-sex foster parents

Photo: Daniel Slim/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court agreed Monday to hear a high-profile case that could reshape the bounds of First Amendment protections for religion.

Why it matters: The direct question in this case is whether Philadelphia had the right to cancel a contract with an adoption agency that refused to place foster children with same-sex couples. It also poses bigger questions that could lead the court to overturn a key precedent and carve out new protections for religious organizations.

Why Apple may move to open iOS

Photo illustration: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Apple may finally allow iPhone owners to set email or browsing apps other than Apple's own as their preferred defaults, according to a Bloomberg report from last week.

The big picture: Customers have long clamored for the ability to choose their preferred apps, and now Apple, like other big tech companies, finds itself under increased scrutiny over anything perceived as anticompetitive.