back to article NERDS KICK PUPPY 'bot in brutal attack

K9 never had to put up with this type of thing: yowls of not-so-serious outrage have greeted the latest vid from bot-tastic US defence contractor Boston Dynamics. What the famous robotics outfit wants to demonstrate is that its latest product, Spot, has great stability and does a decent job of recovering from a momentary lack …

  1. Andrew Tyler 1

    That... damn impressive.

    1. king of foo

      Re: That...

      Their other projects are far scarier. See PETMAN or ATLAS...

      I'll be back

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: That...

        Damned impressive; Ray Bradbury's Mechanical Hound required eight legs...

        The mechanical Hound slept but did not sleep, lived but did not live in its gently humming, gently vibrating, softly illuminated kennel back in a dark corner of the fire house. The dim light of one in the morning, the moonlight from the open sky framed through the great window, touched here and there on the brass and copper and the steel of the faintly trembling beast. Light flickered on bits of ruby glass and on sensitive capillary hairs in the nylon-brushed nostrils of the creature that quivered gently, its eight legs spidered under it on rubber padded paws.

        >Their other projects are far scarier.

        That depends on whether you have a secret stash of books or not! You should be kitted out with some 105" Samsung TVs like a good citizen ;)

      2. jzlondon

        Re: That...

        Re, PetMan.

        Fucking hell.

        1. Pirate Dave

          Re: That...

          Petman - has a nicer ring to it than T-500 ...

  2. Christian Berger

    It's the result of 2 things comming together

    a) Near endless money out of the "killing other people" budget.

    b) Smart people.

    Those 2 luckily rarely get together, but this is one example where they did.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: It's the result of 2 things comming together

      They get together all the time, that's why we have jet engines (and aeroplanes in general), radar, computers, GPS, integrated circuits, rockets etc etc

  3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    It does have laser beams

    That's the spinning lidar unit on it's "head"

    1. VinceH

      Re: It does have laser beams

      Nonsense. It's a dog, not a frikkin' shark!

  4. Captain DaFt

    I'd be leery about kicking it like that

    Considering the reputation of the mythic 'Spot'.

  5. king of foo

    the next vid

    ...involves saddles, small children, and lightsabers!

  6. Chris Miller

    What's the power source?

    Big Dog has a petrol engine, is this running on batteries?

    1. Sebastian Brosig

      Re: What's the power source?

      Yes it is running on batteries, the question is "How long?", the answer, presumabily, being "Not very long."

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What's the power source?

        "How long?", the answer, presumabily, being "Not very long."

        Well, presumably long enough to chase you and bite the leg off that bit it... kicked it.

  7. Semaj


    Is it me or when it gets kicked does it's body language say "Just you wait till I get my automatic defense system..."

    1. VinceH

      Re: Kick

      That, I think, is where the boffins missed a trick.

      What they should have done is programmed it to turn and face the source of the kick, and slowly advance - sneakily throwing in a speaker with a suitably nasty sounding growl to be played at that point as well.

      All without telling the guy tasked with kicking it.

      That would have been funny.

      1. Bob Wheeler

        Re: Kick

        And think of what is going to happen when there area pack of these robo doggies roaming around the mean streets!!!!!!

        1. BongoJoe

          Re: Kick

          I wouldn't want one to hump my leg.

          1. Fungus Bob Silver badge

            Re: Kick

            I'd rather it humped your leg than mine...

      2. Midnight

        Re: Kick

        Funnier would be programming it to say "Please put down your weapon. You have twenty seconds to comply."

    2. TitterYeNot

      Re: Kick

      It's about time someone got the boot in - these pesky robots have already started treating us as a source of food...

  8. Nash

    I love

    Robotics! and now i want one of those! - i'd love to take one on the local dog walk to see what "charlie" the Estate's local hard Staffie has to say about it!

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: I love

      That depends upon whether Charlie has had his mental development muddled by parvovirus or not. Here is a video of a one such canine cheerfully eating a police car. With police officers in it! He later shrugs off a couple of hits with a Taser...

      1. dogged

        Re: I love

        I love Staffs. They are friendly, cheerful, playful, rock-hard gormless idiot psychopaths who love you if you have two legs. If you have four legs or are a police car, keep well clear.

      2. jzlondon

        Re: I love

        The body language of those dogs was playful. They were having fun, not attacking. If I was the officer, I'd have got out of the car and calmed them down.

  9. Chris G Silver badge

    All those trees

    And it didn't piss on a single one of them!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    you kick a 109 piece of metal, it's gonna hurt. And then, once it grows a set of jaws on its backside in a millisecond, before you try it again....

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One day

    When the robots launch their war on humanity, this will be their recruitment reel...

  12. CheesyTheClown

    Help from clumsy Ninja guys

    These robots were absolutely amazing... the algorithm they used for rebalancing was natural reactive and just all around well done.

    There was a single thing I noticed which was a bit rough around the edges, it was when the sensors noticed it was about to come into range of an object which would require adjusting balance to climb or descend.

    I have never played it, but I've watched my wife messing with a game called Clumsy Ninja on the iPad. It's the first and only time I've seen any automated system which actually has a natural flow for approaching objects which need to be climbed. What was most interesting is that the code didn't calculate surfaces based on the perimeter of the rigging during the approach, instead it clearly calculated based on the actual wireframe.

    I believe this is what seems off to me about the dogs. I think that the software is calculating for the distance from the point of balance, instead of the point of contact and then compensating reactively.

    These guys should really check that clumsy ninja, their collision and climbing physics are the most natural I've ever seen. While CN is for biped, the proactive collision management system should be able to be adjusted for quadrupeds.

  13. Benjol

    We're definitely going to be needing a robot overlords icon.

    1. dogged

      we have one, don't we?

  14. GrumpyOldMan

    Better than drones?

    I'd prefer to have one of these deliver my packages from Amazon than a drone. Way cooler. And you get to pat it on the head.

  15. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    It's a good thing these are dogs

    Dogs have a master

    Cats (unadulterated ones, at least) have personel

  16. Rob Quinn

    These things always remind me of the Hunters from Half Life.

  17. Yet Another Hierachial Anonynmous Coward

    Sticks and Balls

    Very impressive, but if you throw it a stick or ball will it retrieve it and bring it back, unlike my g/f's dumb hound?

    Would have been cute to have seen it balance on three legs next to one of those tress though.

  18. A Twig

    Oh God, it can do stairs!

    1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

      Oh God, it can do stairs!

      I was wondering if it can descend stairs as well as climb them. Some dogs are reluctant to go down staircases, and I believe horses can't.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Very impressive

    They've made impressive progress, both in balancing algorithms and making it more compact. What I didn't see was what it would do if it took a downhill slope and lost footing. At some point, these things will take a roll, I would be interested to see how they would right themselves again.

  20. Ru'

    What could be creepier than this robo-dog-thing I thought, watching the video.

    Aaargh! Two of them!

    (utterly cool though)

  21. John Tserkezis

    Best of all...

    You don't have to pick up its poop when you walk it.

    1. ADJB

      Re: Best of all...

      It probably just squats down and leaves a pile of AAA's behind.

  22. Andrew Jones 2

    OK, I want one!

  23. Keir Snelling

    This lot are owned by Google aren't they?

    Look at who else they've bought recently...

    Revolv - Home automation

    Vision Factory - Artificial Intelligence

    Dark Blue Labs - Artificial Intelligence

    Jetpac - Artificial Intelligence, image recognition

    Dropcam - Home monitoring

    Alpental Technologies - Wireless technology

    Titan Aerospace - High Altitude UAVs

    Deep Mind Technologies - Artificial Intelligence

    Nest Labs - Home automation

    Boston Dynamics - Robotics

    Bot & Dolly - Robotic Cameras

    Holomni - Robotic Wheels

    Meka Robotics - Robotics

    Redwood Robotics - Robotic Arms

    Industrial Perception - Robotic Arms, Computer vision

    SCHAFT, Inc - Robotics, Humanoid Robots

    DNNresearch Inc. - Deep Neural Networks

    That's just in the last 2 years - They're building Skynet. Someone saw Terminator, and didn't heed the warnings. We're doomed.

  24. Jagged

    One question ...

    Where is the video of people riding these things like horses?

    Don't tell me they haven't done it.

  25. Crisp

    When the robots rise to power and start killing all humans...

    That video will probably be cited as evidence.

  26. John 104

    Is it me...

    Or are these improved versions even more terrifying than the original big dog?

  27. sisk

    I can see it now...

    Some dude kicks the robotic dog and it goes all nerd-bot rage on him. I've been saying AI will have no reason to wipe out humanity, but you just gave them one: them 'humans are dicks' factor.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I for one...

    remind our Robotic Overlords that I stood against kicking of robot dogs from the very beginning! :)

  29. BongoJoe

    Being AC in such a post is surely pointless.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  30. BongoJoe
    Big Brother

    Imagine a legal and peaceful demonstration.

    The Met Police decide otherwise and release a hundred or so of these. With tasers...

  31. montyburns56

    Robot rights?

    Let's hope that P.E.T.R don't get to hear about this!

  32. Dave Cheetham

    Forget driverless cars

    I want to ride one of those to work each day!

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Weak point

    Kick it in the nu... gyroscope.

  34. Bruce Woolman

    Creepy homicidal quadrupeds

    There was one brief segment where two of the robots were pictured walking together in step. Suddenly I had a vision of about a thousand of these critters emerging over a hilltop at dawn armed with dual 50 caliber Gatling guns and RPGs. I mean, "Can't we all just get along?"

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