Scientists kick a robot that’s so much like a dog you want them to stop


When Boston Dynamics engineers kick a robot, you feel like they’re kicking man’s best friend.

It’s all in the name of technology. But their new creation Spot moves so much like a dog that you may be anthropomorphizing before the video below is halfway over.

Leave. Spot. Alone.

“Spot is smaller than our previous robots,” spokeswoman Maria Silvaggi told the Los Angeles Times, “making it easier to handle and more agile.”


This robot is a lighter and lighter-on-its-feet version of Boston Dynamics’ BigDog, a robot that may give you nightmares. BigDog was designed by the company for the U.S. military.

The company also created LS3, a hefty rough-terrain robot designed to carry 400 pounds of gear; the extra speedy Cheetah, faster than Usain Bolt; and WildCat, which is like Cheetah but is untethered -- meaning that, like Spot, LS3 and WildCat, it can lope around outside with no strings attached.

The difference between Spot and earlier robots is that it runs on batteries, not an internal combusion engine, “which made them noisy and prevented their use inside buildings,” Silvaggi said.

Take a look at BigDog, which at one point had four legs and no head, much like Spot. When the bigger robot was kicked -- particularly when standing on an icy patch -- he did not recover nearly as quickly or gracefully as Spot. Spot is simply a friskier robot.

Then a third arm was added to BigDog -- where its head would be if it were actually a big dog. That arm can heave a cinder block while all four of the robot’s legs are on the march. Awesome but definitely not frisky.

Watch the video above of Spot and see if you can look away.

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