A trio of disturbing robotic reindeer pull Santa’s sleigh in Boston Dynamics vid, which was supposed to bring some holiday cheer to its customers and partners. The video was posted by the Google-owned robotics company Tuesday with and accompanying message wishing everyone a happy holiday season.
The video lasts only 28 seconds but the images cannot be unseen. Three headless, but athletic robo-dogs posing as reindeer pull a female Santa’s sleigh on grass with a massive glass-and-concrete building in the background. But the robotic reindeer being wrapped in tinsel should help us sleep at night.
Marc Raibert, the founder of the robotics company, however, doesn’t seem to grasp the creepy part of the whole picture. ‘Tis the season to be jolly!,’ he recently said in an e-mail.
The robots however are not reindeer. They are the prototype of a robotic dog named Spot, which took the Internet by storm earlier this year when the company released a video of a human violently kicking it and the robot acting in a disturbingly dog-like manner.
Boston Dynamics, which was acquired by Google a couple of years ago, is very secretive about its ongoing projects. The company unveils its creations only when they are ready through YouTube short clips. And so far, most creations stirred unease about the future on most of its viewers.
Other creations of the company are a robo-flea, an android called Atlas, and a fleet of four-legged robotic things that can charge, transport heavy stuff across the desert and many more.
Spot ‘The Reindeer’ is a smaller replica of the company’s BigDog, a canine-shaped robot designed for military purposes on DARPA funds. BigDog doesn’t have a head (luckily) but it can transport loads of up to 340 pounds, climb extremely steep slopes, and uses concrete blocks as favorite fetch props.
Spot, on the other hand, is smaller and more agile than the BigDog as videos had shown. It also can move and climb the same way as its predecessor, but it seemingly has a better balance. Additionally, the 160-pound robots are functioning on hydraulic power and are powered by electrical batteries.
Although it may provide a troubling glimpse into the future, the good news is that a human Santa still pulls the reigns. It could have been Atlas or another humanoid robot.
Image Source: Flicker