Robot Dogs!

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Photo: urban don.

Landlord says no pets? End-run the rulebook with a robot. Isn't this fellow, hacked out of a child's toy by the awe-inspiring Don Pezzano, just adorable? But perhaps mutant Furbies are not to your taste. There are, of course, alternatives.


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Think "robot dog," think Aibo, Sony's much-loved computerized canine. Discontinued in 2006, the various models could see, walk, recognize commands and even learn from their environment and other Aibos. Sony fought a copyright war with Aibo owners to prevent them hacking the machines using third-party software, but eventually relented and released their internal programmer's kit to the public. Your best bet nowadays is Ebay. Photo: Alden Chadwick.

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Extra Ketchup's reincarnation of Doctor Who companion K-9 has advantages over the TV prop original: "my K-9 is a real, programmable, electronic robot ... made of metal, powered by a 12 volt lawn tractor battery, (with) an Intel Celeron processor for a brain."

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Lark Toys, a toy museum in Kellogg, MN, has this Meccanno-style pup in its gift shop. Photo: Eda Cherry

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WowWee Robotics' Robopet is based on designs by Mark Tilden, according to Wikipedia. It has 5 gearboxes, a 16 bit RISC processor, and the source code is 12k of assembly language created by mark in the 1980s. Photo: Sean Dreillinger.

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Look familiar? This one is at Miraikan, Japan's museum of the future. Photo: Motoyen.

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This pup lives at the Sonoma County Human Society. Photo: Dogzen.

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Most dogs come when called. This one plays go. (And he also goes to dinner) Photo: Torisan3500.

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Photo: Robin Zebrowski's colorful robo-pup has a similarly cheerful master.




Genibo, one of the various successors left after Sony put Aibo out to pasture, searches for its master in this video posted by Aaron Nanto.

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Gnesix took this shot for a college assignment; the lighting is provided by portable LEDs.

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The title Phillip Torrone gave to this shot says it all: small, medium, meat.




Boston Dynamics' Big Dog (what robot dog show could do without her?) isn't available for purchase just yet. Here she is on the beach. Look out for her on a busy battlefield near you.

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