back to article Singapore releases the robot hounds to enforce social distancing in parks

Singapore is trialing robot dogs to enforce social distancing in its parks, to assist the national coronavirus-control effort. As outlined by GovTech Singapore, the nation’s digital advancement agency, the beast is a Boston Dynamics Spot device that’s been programmed to roam a 3km stretch in the River Plains section of Bishan- …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But will it inject lethal chemicals into anybody caught reading books?

    1. b0llchit Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      It'll just shoot

      The example scenario has already been designed and simulated in a Black Mirror of Metalhead horror.

      1. BebopWeBop

        Re: It'll just shoot

        I think that Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451got there sometime before with his mechanical hound - which I assume was being referred to in the original post.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It'll just shoot

          I assumed that anybody reading this article will also have read Bradbury. I think perhaps I'm getting old.

          1. BebopWeBop

            Re: It'll just shoot

            One might, but clearly not. We live in unenlightened times.....

      2. macjules

        Re: It'll just shoot

        Which was based upon Brooker seeing BD's "Big Dog"

    2. AndrueC Silver badge

      Good grief that is so creepy. I'm almost beginning to wish we could return to the 1980s.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        In the 1980s we thought this would be cool :)

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Chemicals? No. You need to watch out for the shotgun concealed in the legs and the trackerbot-enabled shrapnel guns though.

  2. Spicer

    I think I've read stories that start like this, and they never end well:

    First they came for the covidiots, and I did not speak out because I was not a covidiot...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Just wear the mask

      Berkerley University modelled it, wearing the mask and some basic distancing and you've cured it. Just like Asia has.

      These robots things are marketing, I saw one in a hotel in Singapore, a hotel room delivery robot, and they said its only for show. It will only deliver around the lobby. You're supposed to be impressed with Singapore's Hi-Tech'ness but its a bit of show. They have lots of cheap labor and use that, not the robots.

      They'll have Malaysia workers slapping people silly if they refuse to wear masks.


      Hawaii has zero new cases a day now. I expect the Republican Supreme Court, to try to force Hawaii's borders to be opened to infected Republican States and try to undermine their quarantine. Republicans look desperate to keep the plague going till election time.

      People would be better than robots here, if you see someone without a mask, saying "you're sheep it only kills 1% of the population", slap them silly, that 1% could be one of your loved family members, and its likely 2% not 1.

      If bad actors* like Hannity or a Laura Ingrahams, or Kavanaugh or Betsy Devos, or Trump or Ron DeSantis, or Brian Kemp, weren't undermining quarantine, you'd expect a rapid fall off of cases over May. Instead they're managing to sustain it at 25k a day, i.e. they're killing about 500 people a day unnecessarily by undermining quarantine with their lying partisan shit.

      So 31*500/2 = 7750, so they're shit is responsible for about ~8k deaths in May, and about 15-16k deaths each month they manage to sustain it after that.

      * Fox News pundits are bad faith actors.

      Here's Tucker Carlson admitting it:

      It's an act. If you see them trying to undermine quarantine protocols, someone has scripted that opinion piece for them. If you're a Fox New viewer realize you're being played.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Introduce DRIVE THRU Ballot drops

        Also can I make a simple suggestion here. Dems need to introduce mail-in ballot drop points at voting stations, so that people can "mail" their mail-in ballot and get it stamped at the polling station.

        In effect they're per-completing their ballots at home, same as a normal mail-in ballot, and not on the machines, and the drop off at the post office is replaced with a drop off at a voting station.

        They may as well introduce drive-thru drop off too. Drive in, Drop the mail-in ballot off, its stamped and put into the ballot box in front of them, drive on.


        1. Well Trump has spiked the mail-in ballot option. He's put a puppet into the USPS, the head is not a postmaster, he's a partisan Trump donor:

        2. The Republican Supreme Court has ruled in the Wisconsin case that ballots that the post office received, but failed to stamp with the date (due to lack of staff due to Covid19), could not be counted. The Republican Supreme Court, literally just wiped thousands of votes off the ballot, forcing more in-place voting and likely more deaths.

        So all Trump has to do to spike the mail-in vote, is to get his buddy in USPS to close post offices near elections in Democrat districts at the last minute wiping out a lot of mail-in ballots in those districts. The ballots won't be stamped, and so won't be counted. They already know which target districts to block, they had that for 'Red Map' Gerrymandering.

        Hence you need to take some steps:

        a. Spread voting dates and allocate age ranges to each dates. So that over 65s vote on a different day to under 30s. Keeping infected groups away from vulnerable group during voting. Give them more time to vote, more days, split the voting groups by age.

        b. Allow mail-in ballot drops at voting stations. People should be made aware of Republican plans here, so they know that Trump can undermine the USPS. If they are not sure if their mail-in ballot will arrive, they can do the drop off.

        c. This also undermine the Republican lie that mail-in is all fraud and all fraud against Republicans. Since someone dropping off 100 ballots in one go, is suspicious, and if those ballots turned out to be fraudulent it would be traceable back to them.

        d. You need to realize that this is not enough. Republican States like Florida and Ohio will intentionally run risky elections intended to cause deaths as a means to suppressing those election. Do not be surprised when this happens. Do not be surprised when the Republican Supreme Court backs them regardless of the death toll they cause, see point 2.

        Trump has a meeting, they plot their bad deeds, and he gets a boner telling you the crime they're about to do, by pre-emptively accusing his opponents of it. Trump just said "Dems are trying to steal the election". He's telling you what he's about to do. Look for his boner statements.

        1. Trilkhai

          Re: Introduce DRIVE THRU Ballot drops

          I don't know about other areas, but I've been volunteering at the polls in California for the last 18 years, and we've accepted completed absentee ballots for at least that long. In recent years, we've gotten more dropped-off 'mail in' ballots than in-person voters, and we're bound to get a *lot* more of them in November since the state decided everyone will get a mail-in ballot.

          As a side note, everyone healthy who can spare the time and can safely do so should volunteer at the polls if they can. Normally most of our volunteers are senior citizens, but many of them are staying home due to the virus, so as many people as possible are needed to fill in for them. Besides that, it's an amazing education in how the voting system works behind-the-scenes.

        2. Reg Reader 1

          Re: Introduce DRIVE THRU Ballot drops

          That's just about enough to wonder if mail in ballots are another reason he wants to kill the USPO. Could the GOP then make it too expensive, claim there is not enough security or other?

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Just wear the mask

        "They have lots of cheap labor and use that, not the robots."

        Yes, this. There's almost if not actually no situations where a fully mobile robot is cheaper or safer than just using a meat-sack. Those specialised situations where a "robot" is useful, it's rarely ever actually a robot. It's a remote controlled device with little to no autonomy.

        In the instance in the article, the cost of that one remote controlled toy could probably employ a small army of real people with PPE.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        To the downvoters

        Every one of those 15000 a month deaths is totally unnecessary. You can stop this virus dead in its track simply by not spreading it.

        Each new case is a failed quarantine interaction. Someone without mask, someone spreading virus on a surface because they didn't wash their hands.

        You can have no new cases today if you enforced the quarantine.


        But you have a Republican Supreme Court passing orders designed to spread the virus.

        You have Fox New commentators claiming quarantine is caging to spread the virus.

        You have Trump & Pence and their anti-face mask photo-ops spreading the virus.

        You have armed militias sponsored by Republican groups trying to spread the virus.

        You have Republican states opening up with increasing cases, intentionally spreading the virus.

        You have Florida suppressing the official death toll numbers, and substituting a State approved lower number to help spread the virus.

        Republican after Republican after Republican trying to spread the virus.


        Meanwhile, the rest of the world did the quarantine and the virus is gone. Even Hawaii did it.


        It's murder by Republicans to suppress the elections.

        It sounds like hyperbole now, but come November as their plot becomes clear, it will be prophetic.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Russia Russia Russia

          Two things:

          1. Trump is planning for a second wave:

          "Trump's aides plan to hold several events to try to persuade the public that they're ready for a likely second wave of the virus this fall"

          That's the consequence of letting Republicans undermine quarantine and then open too early. You'll have a spike in Covid timed for the elections.

          2. Your ventilators went to Russia. When Jared was refusing to let US States have the ventilators in April, they had already been promised to Putin back in April. Those ventilator order FEMA grabbed form the states went into the stockpile and then onto Russia. Your ventilators, the ones you'll need for this seconds spike, they went to Russia. Quid-pro-quo.

          Can you breath? Then you're in Moscow not Palm Beach.

          If you don't like what I'm saying about Trump here, realize that its the unpleasant truth. Look at the Trump boner statements "Russia Russia Russia". When he accuses others of being focused on Russia, he's telling you he's focused on Russia.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: To the downvoters

          Do you have ANY idea how many people die from influenza, sepsis, cancer, strokes, heart attacks, car accidents? Are they a GOP plot too?

          Seems that you have spent too long in isolation and getting para.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Local wildlife

    In the UK, would it survive an encounter with a common red shirtless park thug?

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: Local wildlife

      I am sure Sid could dismantle Spot but as Robomutt is remote controlled there should by quality video of who is responsible for the criminal damage.

      1. BebopWeBop

        Re: Local wildlife

        Can Pixar reuse the footage?

    2. Chris G

      Re: Local wildlife

      In the UK, it would be a challenge to chavs in hoodies to find a way to nick Spot, tracking them down via their Faecbook video posts wouldn't be too hard though.

      Possibly fitting Spot with an energised exterior as an anti molestation strategy could be amusing.

      Edited to suggest mounting a BRRZZZTT! cattle prod for self defence would also be amusing.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Chavs in Hoodies

        of which there are many roaming the streets at the moment... not observing social distancing at least in this locality. If they saw one of these mechanical pooches I'm sure that they'd disable it with one of their hoodies. Even if they didn't do that they'd be fair game to the local Chav's.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          Re: Chavs in Hoodies

          You don't know what a hoodie or a CHAV are, do you?

      2. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Local wildlife

        I thought the Starship robots that roam round Milton Keynes delivering stuff would fall victim to vandals and thieves but it seems their alarms and video cameras are sufficient deterrent.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Local wildlife

          I talked to a Starlink tech who'd just fished one out of a river, but he said that was pretty rare. He'd been to a few houses with the police with proof on his phone to show the bot calling from inside.

          There's a lot of gps and phone-home tech there and not much of it useful for resale once you're ripped it out. All you can do is steal the pizza inside and then set it loose - and you're already on camera.

      3. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: Local wildlife

        anti mole station strategy

        Seems a complicated way just to stop moles commuting.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Local wildlife

      "I might be armed only with this loudspeaker.

      Or I might have a Taser

      Or I might have a rubber bullet gun.

      Or I might have a 0.44 Magnum.

      You've got to ask yourself one question. "Do I feel lucky?""

    4. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Local wildlife

      Forgot park thugs, can it survive a scurry of squirrels?

    5. clp

      Re: Local wildlife

      No, it's legs would be stolen, leaving the body propped up on bricks :)

    6. mike.dee

      Re: Local wildlife

      I think for the UK market a different form factor robot (and easer to buld) will work better.

      Don't forgert the ring modulator on the audio signal.

      1. Dr_N

        Re: Local wildlife

        Why's that Dalek speaking R2D2 ?

      2. Teiwaz

        Re: Local wildlife

        Perfect solution to the social distancing problem....

        ...Mark II travel machines.

        Fits the Next phase of the Covid campaign focus change "Stay Alert - Exterminate"

  4. Peter X
  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The important questions...

    Will it bark incessently and chase cats, sniff peoples' arses, and leave little piles of chips (roboshit) everywhere? Because if so then will there be robo dog catchers to handle the little playful plastic pals that are fun to be with?

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: The important questions...

      Having watched the video, it does seem to be taking a dump on at least one occasion but no actual shit.

    2. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: The important questions...

      Will its owner say "it's just being friendly" when it knocks a toddler flying?

      Will the owner look suprised when you kick the "friendly" dog 10ft across the park to protect your kids from the "friendly" dog?

      1. TrumpSlurp the Troll

        Re: The important questions...

        Having been seriously traumatised at a very early age by a black Labrador which was "only trying to play", have an upvote.

        Cattle prods are too gentle for such dogs, but more especially for the ignorant owners.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. teknopaul Silver badge

        Re: The important questions...

        Your really pushing the "think of the children" angle there. This thing travels at a snails pace.

        Worry about joggers.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Coming next: ED209.

    1. MiguelC Silver badge

      Approaches lone jogger

      "You must stand 6 ft apart."

      "You have 20 seconds to comply."

      "You have 10 seconds to comply."


  7. RobThBay


    All it needs is a big Tom Baker style scarf.

  8. Uncle Slacky


    Shouldn't this be listed under Rise of the Machines (if El Reg still has that category)?

  9. IGotOut Silver badge

    How high is it?

    The kids would be interested in riding it, given the fact all the park equipment is unusable.

  10. TheProf

    Who thinks these things up?

    Well that certainly won't fill the park with curious people trying to see the funny robot.

    I'd set loose some of the psychopathic gulls that go for your chips. Cheaper and they don't need recharging every 90 minutes.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    robot hounds to protect sheeple

    otherwsie BIG BAD CORONAWOLF is gonna get you.

    fforward the virus is gone, last-page news from Singapore, hey, it'd be great to keep them hounds in the park, cause here's a handy chart showing how the crime's fallen (and we saved so much money too, win-win!). Oh, by the way, parks are good, but streets... streets are beeeeeterrrrrrrr, no?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: robot hounds to protect sheeple

      Do androids dream of herding organic sheeple?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Do androids dream of herding organic sheeple?

        if "dreaming" improves "herding", yes.

  12. Muscleguy

    To this biologist

    The movement does not look dog or mammalian like. It looks arthropodic. Think 4 legged spider or a crab. It’s the lack of flexibility mammalian legs have and that the hip action is just WRONG.

    Can you tell as a scientist I’ve described a number of mutant/knockout mice with muscle/movement problems? It moves worse than a Meox2 knockout mouse which is missing muscles around the shoulders and a lot of the others have pulled out of their tendons.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: To this biologist

      Careful. If the ones who paid for this planet find out, you're due for the treatment they proposed for Arthur Dent.

  13. ovation1357

    Stranger Things

    Jeez I really wouldn't want to encounter one of these in a dark alley - they're seriously freaky!

    There's more than an uncanny resemblance to the "dema dogs" in Stranger Things 2.

    Horrible! :-O

  14. chololennon
    Big Brother


    Another signal that a dystopian future is near (well... this pandemic is actually a dystopia)

  15. M7S

    Prior guard robots with dog names...


    Be seeing you.

  16. Kez

    "Spot the robot dog"

    There he is!

    ... Mine's the one with the "Silicon Crunch" robot dog biscuits in the pocket

    1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      Re: "Spot the robot dog"

      see Spot run!

  17. disgruntled yank Silver badge

    As Lady Macbeth said,

    Out, out, damned Spot!

  18. dervheid

    As seen (well, sort of)

    in the recent "War of The Worlds" series...

  19. teknopaul Silver badge

    Can it avoid real dog shit? If not its no good as a parkie where I live.

    These things are still a solution looking for a problem.

    Parkie would be better served by a drone.

  20. TeeCee Gold badge

    Picture discrepancies.

    So it grows a snake's head if it needs to open a door?

    What other fiendish devices are hidden inside it, to be deployed as required?

    1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      Re: Picture discrepancies.

      That snakes head looked absolutly horrifying , doubly so when it turns out to be retractable.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It failed in that video.

    Somebody gets scared into running off the path and almost collides with another person, never mind comes within 2m of them.

  22. ibmalone

    Oh, I get it...'s like Day of the Triffids, where the meteor shower that blinds most of the humanity is an unrelated preamble to the menace that was already waiting to consume us.

  23. quartzie

    Nice Specs: 2 modular (weapon) bays...., -25 to +45°C in Singapore?!?

    Now there's a properly creepy critter. 2 modular (read weapon) bays tickle my fancy, but only operates up to 45°C - I guess Boston Dynamics reps have not been to Singapore yet?

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