That Robot Dog from Boston Dynamics has a new job on the Massachusetts State Police Bomb Squad

I know a guy who works at Boston Dynamics. He spends all day fussing over how to get a robot leg to bend the right way. It's kind of boring, but he likes tinkering with things. And hey, it's a job. When he sees people freaking out about whatever new robot they've unleashed unto the world, he just laughs, because he knows how much time he's spent futzing with those stupid joints.

For the most part, he's got a point; we like to freak out about our Terminator future, but mostly it's pretty lame, like that dumb-looking Knightscope mall security guard. The surveillance components are creepy; but the thing itself is hardly threatening.

Except now, Boston Dynamic's trusty robot dog Spot is now actually being used by law enforcement to…well, that part's not clear. From WBUR:

The state’s bomb squad had Spot on loan from the Waltham-based Boston Dynamics for three months starting in August until November, according to records obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts and reviewed by WBUR.

The documents do not reveal a lot of details on the robot dog’s exact use, but a state police spokesman said Spot, like the department’s other robots, was used as a “mobile remote observation device” to provide troopers with images of suspicious devices or potentially hazardous locations, like where an armed suspect might be hiding.

On one hand, this makes sense; cops have been using robots to take point in potentially dangerous scenarios for years. On the other hand, it's still kind of creepy, and not just because I personally skeptical of Staties in my home Commonwealth. Read the rest

Japanese robot dog sniffs your feet and faints if they're smelly

In case you're the type who doesn't notice your own bad foot odor, help has come in the form of a cute robot dog named Hana-chan (Hana means "nose" in English). Hana, who has a sensor in its nose, is trained to sniff your feet. If your feet smell fresh and dandy, Hana will wag its tail in delight. If your foot is bordering on stinky, it will sound a warning bark. If, however, your feet kick up a stench, Hana will fall over.

The above video is a prototype from 2015, when Hana used to be called Shun-Taro, and according to Oddity Central, Hana's company, Next Technology, "is ready to launch a commercial version of the feet-smelling robot." But don't whip out your checkbook just yet – first take a look at the faint-inducing price tag: ¥100,000 ($9,280). In Japan, where shoes are taken off before entering buildings and foot odor is highly offensive, the price might seem reasonable to some folks. But elsewhere? Not sure, but I think I'll pass! Read the rest