After thousands of years of domestication, the humble dog is generally considered to be a man’s best friend.
However it is not yet clear whether that age-old saying holds true for robotic dogs. The human-canine relationship could be shaken up by a new generation of mechanic dogs like Spot, the brainchild of researchers at Boston Dynamics.
Boston Dynamics’ Spot faces off against real dog
The company is part of Google’s Alphabet company, and is dedicated to researching and building the next generation of robots. One of its existing models, Spot, came face to face with a real canine the other day, and luckily someone was on hand to video the encounter.
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For those of you intrigued to see how a real canine gets along with a robotic relation, this next sentence carries a spoiler alert. The answer is not very well.
The real dog looks like Cosmo, whose owner is Android co-founder and former head of Google’s robotics program Andy Rubin. While the pair appear to be intrigued by each other’s presence, it certainly doesn’t look as though they will be friends.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about the video is the creepily realistic way in which Spot moves like a normal dog. In fact it may well be these realistic movements that make the real dog lose its mind.
Videos show impressive capabilities of robo-dog
Steve Jurvetson, who uploaded the video, is a partner at venture capital firm DFJ. He posted another video of Spot on Sunday in which the robo-dog lying down sideways on the street before getting up and walking off.
Judging from the videos Spot is able to easily move over curbs. The videos also show that the robo-dog is capable of different modes of operation. At one point its legs move completely in unison, while in another they are completely out of sync.
Spot weighs in at 160 pounds and boasts a camera on its head to help it avoid obstacles. Researchers at Boston Dynamics have been recorded abusing the robot, which is surprisingly stable and stays upright even if it receives a kick to the side.