Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Boston Dynamics’ Spot robot dog has been taught to pee beer

Since its unveiling in 2017, Boston Dynamics has taught its four-legged robot dog Spot to do a lot of things. It can open doors, clean the house, assist the bomb squad, pull a rickshaw, etc. Besides, the French army is training the Boston Dynamics robot dog for military purposes. Now a programming YouTuber Michael Reeves decided to give Spot another purpose. He taught this robot quadruped to “piss beer” into plastic cups on command.

Reeves has managed to get his hands on a unit before using his tech expertise and a dirty mind to turn Spot into the ultimate drinking buddy. As expected, it was not easy to teach the futuristic mascot how to pee in a cup, and the process involved a lot of improvisation and programming.

With a few lines of code and a few feet of tubing, the heavily modified Spot can identify cups on the floor, position itself over them, and release a stream of beer into the cups. The changes Reeves had to apply didn’t just require attaching a mini keg to Spot’s back and reprogramming it. He also designed a nose gimbal for the precise aiming of the flow. The mechanism uses servos and a solenoid powered by a Raspberry-Pi “vision system” to ensure the robot doesn’t miss the cup. After creating an automated hose, the YouTuber used a security camera with Wi-Fi to create an environment mapping system for Spot.

Despite the effort, the idea did not work since the robot did not take care of the “aim” during the tests shown in the video. With that, the beer ended up on the floor, and Spot slipped in the liquid, making the environment extremely messy. Rightly renamed “Pissbot 9000”, the robot is working with 35% efficiency. It’s still better (well, certainly more fun!) than giving the robot a weapon and teaching it how to shoot people.

Spot robot dog is one of Boston Dynamics’ most popular projects and can now be purchased directly from the company for the price starting at $75,000.