We’ve all seen Spot, the intimidating, potentially humanity-ending robot dog from Boston Dynamics. It’s a fully-intelligent machine that looks less like an actual pet and more like a functional wartime weapon on legs.
On the opposite end of the robot dog spectrum is the Aibo by Sony, which is adorable and resembles the man’s best friend we all know and love. Xiao Mi’s first robot dog, aptly named Cyberdog, has been compared to both not long after its grand unveiling.
If you’ve seen the adverts for Xiao Mi’s grand foray into the world of robotic pets, you’d think they were building the most formidable, intimidating robot in the history of mankind. In the photo above, the CyberDog is shown standing on what looks like a body of water, its head almost reaching the ceiling where a hole is carved out to let light in what could be a room bathed in darkness.
Xiao Mi is no stranger to building some of the most innovative gadgets and technology. So when they previewed a robotic dog, expectations were high — especially when that robot dog looks like this.
But if you were expecting a military-grade research project from the Chinese powerhouse, think again. The Xiao Mi CyberDog is actually closer to a real dog than the post-apocalyptic machine of our nightmares.
In fact, for its intimidating appearance, all of its best tricks were quite cute. At Xiao Mi’s tech launch, where the dog was unveiled alongside the brand’s latest gadgets, CyberDog was able to sit up on its hind legs and clap, perform a backflip, and simply turn around and look at the audience in a most puppy-like manner.
Whether it’s a relief or mildly anticlimactic is still undecided: the robotic dog has garnered both fans and critics in the short amount of time since its launch.
The robotic dog contains servomotors that allow it to move at up to 7 mph, multiple sensors and cameras for navigation, and uniquely programmable AI. This gives the robot a life (and personality) of its own and lets it form a special bond with its owners.
It’s always tough to gauge how effective new technology like this will be, and sometimes you’ll never know until you actually buy it. Priced at $1,500, it seems like this one is a steal compared to more puppylike robot dogs at around the same price, and just a fraction of its lookalike Spot’s whopping $75,000.
Whether it’ll be a success is still to be seen, but advanced tech like this reminds us that a future where robotic assistants that will go on runs with us or fetch us a drink at home might not be too far off.