See Spot. See Spot run. See Spot bounce on its four mechanical limbs as it terrorizes the crap out of a miniature Schnauzer owned by the co-founder of Android.
Dogs will bark at almost anything—the mailman, ambulance sirens, the wind—for no apparent reason. Alex however, the dog in the above video, has plenty of reason to bark; that’s because Spot, Boston Dynamics’ 160-pound quadrupedal LIDAR-guided robot, is currently giving him what one can only imagine are little doggy nightmares for the rest of his life.
The video of the dogs fighting in the parking lot, dubbed “Fido vs Spot—Animal vs Robot,” was taken by Steve Jurvetson, a venture capitalist who sits on the board of SpaceX, Tesla Motors, and five other tech companies. The dog—the meat and bones one—is owned by Andy Rubin, the co-founder of Android and Danger, Inc., as well as a former SVP at Google. Which makes this essentially King of the Hill Silicon Valley edition.
Spot, if you’re unfamiliar with it (it still feels weird to call one of Boston Dynamics’ machines “it”), is that whizzing, dancing quadrupedal robot that first blew people’s minds with its dexterity and balance under duress in its premiere video, “Introducing Spot,” released on YouTube in February, 2015. Since then, Spot has taken somewhat of a backseat to his younger, bipedal brother, next-gen Atlas, who was recently seen doing seriously impressive things with boxes, and getting punked by a guy with a hockey stick.
Perhaps one of the most endearing qualities of Spot is the little dance he’s capable of doing, which seems to be identical to that of an excited Shiba Inu:
There hasn’t been much news on how Spot-bot has been evolv–err advancing, but it seems to be about the same machine that appeared back in the introductory video last year. It also seems that in this video, he’s being remote-controlled by what appears to be a modified Xbox controller.
If you want to see more of Spot, and its various gaits, you can check out another video Jurvetson took of him here. And although there’s no word on when a Spot vs meat-dog may happen again, hopefully when they do meet, the former participant won’t be “weaponized” like this beast.
What do you think about Spot vs Alex? Is this a great way to socialize dogs with dog-like robots, or is this a clear case of a “Robo-puppy mistreatment alert“? Let us know in the comments section below!
HT: IEEE Spectrum