Xiaomi today unveiled its CyberDog, an open-source quadruped robot that developers can "build upon" in order to create their own applications for the robo-canine. As a blog post by Xiaomi points out, the robot is run using a version of NVIDIA's Jetson Xavier NX, known as the world's smallest AI supercomputer.
The powerful AI module allows for a whole host of applications, including having the robot recognize and follow its master — let's just hope it doesn't start questioning the role of master and servant lest we find ourselves living in a cyber doggo dystopia.
The rise of the cyber pooch
CyberDog comes with 11 sensors, including touch and ultrasonic sensors, allowing it to "interact with its environment." Cameras on the robot also allow it to follow an assigned person and navigate obstacles in its immediate surroundings. It can even pick out an individual from a crowd and — rather worryingly — tag that person to follow them. "Coupled with human posture and face recognition tracking, CyberDog is capable of following its owner and darting around obstructions," Xiaomi explained in its release.
CyberDog is yet another example of a robot that looks uncannily like Boston Dynamics' Spot robot. Another recent example came from Chinese firm Weilan's AlphaDog, a robot that looks strikingly like Spot but is sqaurely aimed at the commercial market.
All of these robots utilize the latest state-of-the-art robotics technology to create a nimble machine that's capable of traversing a variety of terrains, meaning that they can be utilized for disaster response and a number of other applications aimed at preventing humans from putting themselves in harm's way.
Harnessing the 'passion of an open-source robotics community'
In the case of Xiaomi's CyberDog, the company says it will start by delivering 1,000 of the machines to "Xiaomi fans, engineers and robotics enthusiasts to jointly explore the immense possibility of CyberDog." The idea is to harness the passion of an open-source robotics community, hosted by Xiaomi, to think up innovative applications for the machine.
Of course, Xiaomi won’t be giving these machines out for free. Anyone wanting to get involved with the initiative will have to pay 9,999 yuan (approximately $1,540) to get their hands on one of the machines and get started plotting their crazy schemes.
This will be a fascinating experiment to witness, as unplanned applications could go viral via videos showcasing what the robot can do. Boston Dynamics, for example, has suffered a few unwanted PR incidents since Spot the robot became commercially available, ranging from a YouTuber teaching the machine to pee beer and the French army utilizing it for combat training. When the greatest limit to the machine's applications is a user's imagination, the possibilities are endless.
This was a developing story and was updated as new information emerged.