This is it, ladies and gentlemen; you’re witnessing the exact moment the sentient robots will cite some day in the future when they’ve conquered the human race and enslaved us all. OK fine, so maybe we’re being a big dramatic. Maybe we can do whatever we want with robots. Maybe we can make them vacuum our floors and wash our windows without any cause for concern. And maybe the scientists at Boston Dynamics can go ahead and abuse their terrifyingly creepy robot dogs all they want without any real ramifications. After all, experts agree that there won’t be any real risk of a robot uprising anytime soon.
Maybe that’s all fine… but do you really want to risk it?
Last week, Boston Dynamics released a video that showed one of its SpotMini robot dogs helping out another SpotMini by opening a door so it could walk into the next room. The video was insanely fascinating and incredibly horrifying, so it immediately went viral. Let’s rewatch it now, shall we?
Well, the good folks at Boston Dynamics decided that little demo wasn’t bad enough, and there might be a few of us left out here who were still able to sleep soundly at night. So, naturally, the only solution was to release a new video of its SpotMini robots that’s even scarier.
In the new SpotMini robot dog video posted on YouTube by Boston Dynamics this week, we learn what happens when a SpotMini encounters resistance while it’s trying to complete a task. In this case, the task is opening and walking through the same door it walked through in the company’s first video. And the resistance is a Boston Dynamics researcher conjuring the spirit of an annoying teenage older brother.
The robot begins by being given the same task it had last time. It approaches the closed door and then extents its creepy robot-arm head to grab the handle. That’s when the Boston Dynamics scientist smacks the arm with a hockey stick, causing the SpotMini to miss its mark as it attempts to grasp the door handle. Then, when the robot does finally grab the handle, the researcher smacks it again so it loses its grip.
After grabbing the handle again and fighting through some more resistance while the researcher tries to hold the door closed, the SpotMini robot finally begins to walk through. That is, until the researcher grabs a ribbon tied around its robot waist and forcibly drags it back into the room. We won’t spoil the entire video, but we will warn you that it gets a little gruesome and the SpotMini actually ends up losing one of its robot body parts at one point.
“A test of SpotMini’s ability to adjust to disturbances as it opens and walks through a door. A person (not shown) drives the robot up to the door, points the hand at the door handle, then gives the ‘GO’ command, both at the beginning of the video and again at 42 seconds,” Boston Dynamics explains in the description of the video. “The robot proceeds autonomously from these points on, without help from a person. A camera in the hand finds the door handle, cameras on the body determine if the door is open or closed and navigate through the doorway. Software provides locomotion, balance and adjusts behavior when progress gets off track. The ability to tolerate and respond automatically to disturbances like these improves successful operation of the robot.”
The description then concludes with a disclaimer: “Note: This testing does not irritate or harm the robot.” Sure, Boston Dynamics, keep telling yourself that.
Watch the horror unfold in the video below.