Robot Dog University of Johannesburg

Photo: UJ Media / Twitter

Watch: University of Johannesburg shows off its terrifying ‘robot dog’

The future is here… and it’s weird. A new ‘robot dog’ has been unveiled by the University of Johannesburg, sparking a mixed reaction from the public.

Robot Dog University of Johannesburg

Photo: UJ Media / Twitter

Fairly sure we’ve already seen this episode of Black Mirror, but alright… a team at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) is now in possession of a super-advanced robot dog, which has the ability to move around on its own and respond to prompts. The mechanical mutt itself is as awe-inspiring as it is terrifying.

Robot dog at the University of Johannesburg

The robotics team at UJ has been trying to acquire the Boston Dynamics-inspired creation for some time. They finally welcomed ‘SPOT’ to their campus this week, and haven’t been shy when it comes to showing him off.

Weighing 35kg and equipped with four high-tech cameras, the machine is able to traverse unfamiliar terrain and can stay on its feet when pushed from side to side. It is hoped that the robot dog will also be used to carry out ‘routine inspections’ and ‘data collection tasks’ – but little research has been done on whether it likes a tummy rub…

Watch: UJ’s robot dog unveiled

What will SPOT be used for?

This robot dog gives us a glimpse into the future of tech development. The drive for more automation and Artificial Intelligence is accelerating these ambitious projects, but for some, there’s an uncomfortability about what this means in terms of job opportunities and personal freedoms. UJ, however, only see the positives:

“We are going to see these robots become part of our academic agenda. Robotics is the future, this is a visual depiction of what our students learn. Unlike other AI robots, this one can actually ‘walk’ up and down the stairs.”

“SPOT is a mobile robot that navigates terrain with unprecedented mobility, allowing automated routine inspection tasks and data capture to take place safely, accurately, and frequently.”