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It Predictably Happened: Spot, the Robo-Dog, Just Trained with the Marines

What went through your mind when you first saw Spot, the robotic dog created by Boston Dynamics, in action? Thoughts about Terminators, Sky Net and the end of the world as we know it came rushing in, most probably.
Spot in action with the Marines 8 photos
Spot training with the US MarinesSpot training with the US MarinesSpot training with the US MarinesSpot training with the US MarinesSpot training with the US MarinesSpot training with the US MarinesSpot training with the US Marines
Imagine how an important figure inside the US Army must have felt. Yes, like a kid in a candy store. Or like an important figure in the US Army at a military technology fair. Take your pick.

In just a few seconds, his mind probably went through the multitude of applications a platform like this could have and memorized the name of its creators, the very non-military company called Boston Dynamics. Which happens to be owned by Google, but that’s another matter.

We’ve seen Spot walking around on multiple types of terrains, being kicked and pushed and recovering each time with eerily realistic movements. It does have two extra legs it can count on, but even so, it makes ASIMO’s stumble up the stairs seem that more clumsy.

There’s no question that choosing Boston Dynamics, the US Marines went to the best in the field of robotics at this moment. The troops wanted to test the robot in all sorts of scenarios, including hills, woodlands, but also an urban backdrop.

The most obvious roles Spot could play in the near future are scouting or carrying military equipment. The 160-pound electrically powered robotic dog proved very useful when sent ahead to scout a building, peaking around corners and scanning the surroundings for possible enemies and other threats. This way, Spot - and its brothers - could be saving countless lives in the future.

Spot can be controlled from up to 500 meters away (roughly 1,500 feet) using nothing more than a laptop and a games controller. It's so easy - at least for anyone who's played video games - that even a four-year-old can do it. We hope that won't change the age threshold for people joining the army, though.

Nobody’s talking about actually equipping Spot with any type of weapon systems, but even if they were, we wouldn’t hear anything about it. So they might actually be doing just that as we speak...

But even if not used as a weapon-equipped platform, Spot would still make for a very intimidating presence on the battlefield. After all, we’re not the only ones who saw Terminator, right?


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