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11 Feb, 2015 04:45

Google’s new robo-dog stalks premises, withstands hard kicks (VIDEO)

Google-owned robotics company Boston Dynamics has showcased its latest creation in a family of four-legged robots. The trimmed down electric version of BigDog, called Spot, is capable of operating indoors and withstanding hard kicks.

Spot is the latest addition in a line of high-end robots being designed and developed for the US military with funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

In a YouTube video released by the company, the new, smaller bot stands in a showroom in line with its four-legged big brothers, before quietly going out for a walk around the building.

The slimmed down version of the four-legged mechanical friend weighs about 160 lbs and runs on an electric engine, making the robot much quieter than its predecessors. Spot can also operate both indoors and outdoors, making it a lot more versatile and stable.


— BJPetersen (@Barbara2011a) February 11, 2015

According to Boston Dynamics, the robot “has a sensor head that helps it navigate and negotiate rough terrain.”

In the video, Spot – electrically powered and hydraulically actuated – tackles steep slopes, steps, and uphill grass terrain, as well as a slippery surface. It can even stabilize itself after a hard kick to the side by a human.

See Spot. See Spot run. See Spot get kicked really hard and not even fall, like a total badass http://t.co/pOlx2ZXZZzpic.twitter.com/fJoNQxDgG2

— Jillian D'Onfro (@jillianiles) February 9, 2015

The video even shows a couple of Spots operating side by side, which, along with the ability to operate indoors, seems to be in line with DARPA’s 2008 request for a “software and sensor package to enable a team of robots to search for and detect human presence in an indoor environment.”

How long until they are given a bloodhound nose and a gun, and are set up to hunt and kill humans?... http://t.co/UfO3iQmWQB

— Matthew Bracken (@MattBracken48) February 10, 2015

With future software updates and a skilled operator, the new robot appears to be potentially capable of searching and detecting a “non-cooperative human subject” with the ability to “intelligently and autonomously search” environments during pursuit – all in line with the old government specifications.

Moore's law applied to robots… "Spot" Is a Smaller Version of Boston Dynamic's Big Dog http://t.co/rC1dAZQtzWpic.twitter.com/up82pePCfw

— Tony Fadell (@tfadell) February 9, 2015

Before it was purchased by Google, almost all of Boston Dynamics’ projects were funded by DARPA – but the new video makes no mention of the funding from the Pentagon. It does, however, state that "no robots were harmed in the making of this video."