Science

Jeff Bezos Shows Off His Robot Dog At Amazon’s MARS Conference

jeff bezos robot dog
Image source: Boston Dynamics via YouTube (screen shot)

Amazon kicked off its annual, invite-only MARS conference on Monday, and CEO Jeff Bezos is diving into new technology revealed at the conference. He tweeted a photo of himself walking his new robot dog, which just happens to be Boston Dynamics’ SpotMini.

Jeff Bezos shows off his robot dog

The billionaire Amazon founder is certainly not shy about his love for technology and his interest in going to Mars via his commercial spaceflight company Blue Origin. He even named his annual technology conference after the Red Planet, with MARS standing for machine learning, automation, robotics and space.

This year at the MARS conference, Jeff Bezos apparently adopted a dog:

Bezos’ robot dog is none other than the SpotMini

Boston Dynamics has been marketing its robot dog heavily this year. In February, the company showed off a video of it opening a door, and apparently, Jeff Bezos’ interest has been piqued. According to the company’s website, SpotMini weighs about 25 kilograms. You can even add an arm to the place where the dog’s head would normally go. The arm enables the robot dog to do various things, including open a door.

The robot dog is all-electric, but you’ll only get about 90 minutes of companionship (if one can call it that) at a time before you have to recharge it. The battery might not even last that long, depending on what you’re doing with it. SpotMini is equipped with a suite of sensors that includes depth cameras, force and position sensors and stereo cameras. The robot dog is able to handle objects with its arm, and the force and position sensors on the arm enable it to control how hard it squeezes objects.

While the idea of a robot dog may appeal to some people, it’s hard to imagine that the SpotMini would fit the bill for most people. It’s actually a somewhat terrifying thing to look at, so small children (and some adults too) might be inclined to run the other direction if they see it coming.

Jeff Bezos loves robots of all kinds

Bezos clearly doesn’t have the fear of robots that so many people have. Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s concerns about artificial intelligence, as he’s worried about robots taking over the world. Still, even Musk has expressed interest in utilizing robots for some things, like doing the housework. The concern is whether robots will one day become smart enough to revolt and start killing humans.

This certainly isn’t the first time we’ve seen Jeff Bezos play with a robot. Last year during Amazon’s MARS conference, he made headlines when he took the controls of a giant mech robot made by Hankook Mirae Technology. At this year’s MARS conference, the Amazon founder was also shown playing the bottle flip challenge with another robot: