A robotics firm has unveiled footage of a dog-inspired robot that can open doors, which has left many pondering scenes of a sci-fi apocalypse rather than a man’s best friend.
Boston Dynamics revealed the “terrifying” video showcasing SpotMini, a robot with four legs, a body, and an extendable claw as a head, on Monday, Feb.12.
In the video, called “Hey Buddy, Can You Give Me a Hand” a robot walks up to a lab door, then its fellow robodog steps in to help, using its mechanical pincer-like head to pull the handle and open the door.
It hasn’t been detailed exactly what the cyberdog will be used for, but footage of the doglike machine has been shared thousands of times on social media. Many fear the canine-inspired droids bring humankind one step closer to a dystopian society.
Boston Dynamics is owned by Japan’s Softbank after it was sold by Google’s parent company, Alphabet, last year. The company says on its website that the robot “comfortably fits in an office or home” and can handle objects and climbs stairs.
SpotMini is a smaller version of another Boston Dynamics robot, called Spot. Its sensors include stereo cameras, depth cameras, and sensors in the limbs that help with “navigation and mobile manipulation.”
It weighs around 55 or 65 pounds.
Guardian columnist Owen Jones tweeted the video with the caption, “OK so we’re all going to die.”
OK so we're all going to die pic.twitter.com/qdC1E0ohtE
— Owen Jones? (@OwenJones84) February 12, 2018
Alan White, editor at BuzzFeed UK wrote: “This is one of the most terrifying things I’ve seen in all my life”
This is one of the most terrifying things I’ve seen in all my life pic.twitter.com/Yp9xlhdKC9
— Alan White (@aljwhite) February 12, 2018
Others drew parallels to the sci-fi series “Black Mirror” in which murderous AI-enabled robot dogs roam the earth.
honestly for like 8 years ive been watching videos of boston dynamics perfecting dog shaped future killing machines and its always framed like im supposed to applaud that it learned to hunt me a little better this month.
— el-p (@therealelp) February 12, 2018
Those weird robot dog things opening doors for each other honestly freaks me out. Because Black Mirror literally just did a episode showing why that could be a very bad idea. pic.twitter.com/OhbrDs0o0b
— PunisherGNR.45 (@PunisherGNR45) February 13, 2018
In November, Boston Dynamics posted a video of its new robot “Atlas,” a humanoid robot that can do somersaults.
“In extremely challenging terrain, Atlas is strong and coordinated enough to climb using hands and feet, to pick its way through congested spaces,” the robot was described on the MIT website.