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Robots: Xiaomi launches a $1,540 CyberDog as a cheaper rival to Boston Dynamics’ $74,500 Spot

They say every dog has its day, but for Spot, the oft-dancing robot canine from Boston Dynamics, that time may soon be up, thanks to a new rival joining the scene.

Developed by the Chinese tech firm Xiaomi, ‘CyberDog’ boasts an economical price tag of just $1,540 (£1,115), compared to Spot’s whopping $74,500 (£53,774). 

The four-legged robot is also slightly smaller and much lighter, standing at just 15.7 inches and weighing only 31 lbs, compared to Spot’s 24 inch stature and 72 lb heft.

This, combined with powerful servo motors, gives CyberDog a top speed of 7.2 mph — around twice that of Spot’s 3.5 mph — and even the ability to perform backflips.

With both remote and voice control, the cyber canine can follow its owner, navigate around obstacles and perform other tricks including begging and shaking a paw.

Furthermore, its open source nature will allow developers to build on the design and customise it — and even add hardware — to suit a variety of different applications.

CyberDog is the not the only cheaper robotic rival to move in on Spot’s market — last year, Chinese tech firm Unitree released the tiny ‘Go1’, while sells for $2,700 (£1,948). 

Spot robots have found various applications, from surveying dangerous explosives and explore active crime scenes to reminding people to social distance.

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They say every dog has its day — but for Spot, the famous robot canine from Boston Dynamics, that time may soon be up, thanks to a new rival (CyberDog, pictured) joining the scene

Developed by the Chinese tech firm Xiaomi, 'CyberDog' (pictured) boasts an economical price tag of just $1,540 (£1,115), compared to Spot's whopping $74,500

Developed by the Chinese tech firm Xiaomi, ‘CyberDog’ (pictured) boasts an economical price tag of just $1,540 (£1,115), compared to Spot’s whopping $74,500

The four-legged robot is also slightly smaller and much lighter that Spot — standing at just 15.7 inches and weighing only 31 lbs, compared to Spot's 24 inch stature and 72 lb heft

The four-legged robot is also slightly smaller and much lighter that Spot — standing at just 15.7 inches and weighing only 31 lbs, compared to Spot’s 24 inch stature and 72 lb heft

CyberDog is the not the only cheaper robotic rival to move in on Spot's market — last year, Chinese tech firm Unitree released the tiny 'Go1', while sells for $2,700. Pictured: Spot

CyberDog is the not the only cheaper robotic rival to move in on Spot’s market — last year, Chinese tech firm Unitree released the tiny ‘Go1’, while sells for $2,700. Pictured: Spot

XIAOMI’S CYBERDOG VS BOSTON DYNAMICS’ SPOT 

 

Cost

Length

Width

Height

Weight

Max. load

Speed

Released 

Cameras 

Battery life

Full charge

CyberDog 

$1,540

30.4″ 

14.0″

15.7″ 

31 lbs

6.6 lbs

7.2 mph

2021

Three

60 mins

160 mins

Spot 

$74,500

43.3″

19.7″

24.0″

72 lbs 

31 lbs

3.5 mph

2020 

Five

90 mins

120 mins 

‘CyberDog is Xiaomi’s first foray into quadruped robotics for the open source community and developers worldwide,’ the firm said in a press release.

‘Robotics enthusiasts interested in CyberDog can compete or co-create with other like-minded Xiaomi Fans, together propelling the development and potential of quadruped robots.’ 

To this end, they explained, they are establishing a ‘Xiaomi Open Source Community’ through which developers around the world can share upgrades to CyberDog.

The Beijing-based firm has also promised to establish a robotics laboratory, aiming to provide ‘a platform for engineers to continue the pursuit of future innovations.’ 

According to Xiaomi, the initial release of CyberDog will see the sale of only 1,000 units of the robot, with a target market of engineers, roboticists and Xiaomi fans.

In order to navigate and interact with varied environments like a real-life animal, CyberDog is equipped with 11 high-precision sensors of various types, including GPS modules, ultrasonic transducers, touch sensors and multiple cameras.

‘Built upon this vision sensor system are autonomous object tracking, simultaneous localization and mapping and centimetre-scale obstacle avoidance and navigation,’ a Xiaomi spokesperson explained.

‘This means that CyberDog can analyse its surroundings in real-time, create navigational maps, plot its destination, and avoid obstacles.

‘Coupled with human posture and face recognition tracking, CyberDog is capable of following its owner and darting around obstructions.’ 

The robotic hound’s hardware is driven by the so-called NVIDIA® Jetson Xavier™ NX platform, which Xiaomi describe as being an ‘AI Supercomputer for Embedded and Edge Systems.’ It runs a version of the Ubuntu operating system. 

With powerful servo motors, CyberDog has a top speed of 7 .2 mph — around twice that of Spot's 3.5 mph — and even the ability to perform backflips

With powerful servo motors, CyberDog has a top speed of 7 .2 mph — around twice that of Spot’s 3.5 mph — and even the ability to perform backflips

With both remote and voice control, the cyber canine can follow its owner, navigate around obstacles and perform other tricks including begging and shaking a paw

With both remote and voice control, the cyber canine can follow its owner, navigate around obstacles and perform other tricks including begging and shaking a paw 

In order to navigate and interact with varied environments like a real-life animal, CyberDog is equipped with with 11 high-precision sensors of various types, including GPS modules, ultrasonic transducers, touch sensors and multiple cameras

In order to navigate and interact with varied environments like a real-life animal, CyberDog is equipped with with 11 high-precision sensors of various types, including GPS modules, ultrasonic transducers, touch sensors and multiple cameras

CyberDog sports both three USB-C and one HDMI ports by which developers can tweak its onboard software and also link up additional hardware — such as, for example, panoramic or motion cameras, lidar sensors or search lights.

The robot will be controllable via an accompanying remote and a specially designed smartphone app.

However, the firm said, a built-in voice assistant also allows owners to give their robot commands just as if it were a real life pet pooch.

‘CyberDog can be called on for the most unique tasks, and the ways in which it can be interacted with holds unforetold possibilities,’ Xiaomi concluded.

CyberDog sports both three USB-C and one HDMI ports by which developers can tweak its onboard software and also link up additional hardware — such as, for example, panoramic or motion cameras, lidar sensors or search lights

CyberDog sports both three USB-C and one HDMI ports by which developers can tweak its onboard software and also link up additional hardware — such as, for example, panoramic or motion cameras, lidar sensors or search lights

The robot will be controllable via an accompanying remote and a specially designed smartphone app — however, the firm said, a built-in voice assistant also allows owners to give their robot commands just as if it were a real life pet pooch

The robot will be controllable via an accompanying remote and a specially designed smartphone app — however, the firm said, a built-in voice assistant also allows owners to give their robot commands just as if it were a real life pet pooch

'CyberDog can be called on for the most unique tasks, and the ways in which it can be interacted with holds unforetold possibilities,' Xiaomi concluded. Pictured: Walkies?

‘CyberDog can be called on for the most unique tasks, and the ways in which it can be interacted with holds unforetold possibilities,’ Xiaomi concluded. Pictured: Walkies?

BOSTON DYNAMICS’ SPOT

Boston Dynamics first showed off SpotMini, the most advanced robot dog ever created, in a video posted in November 2017.

The firm, best known for Atlas, its 5 foot 9 (1.7 metre) humanoid robot, has revealed a new ‘lightweight’ version of its robot Spot Mini.

The robotic canine was shown trotting around a yard, with the promise that more information from the notoriously secretive firm is ‘coming soon’.

‘SpotMini is a small four-legged robot that comfortably fits in an office or home’ the firm says on its website.

It weighs 25 kg (55 lb), or 30 kg (66 lb) when you include the robotic arm.

SpotMini is all-electric and can go for about 90 minutes on a charge, depending on what it is doing, the firm says, boasting ‘SpotMini is the quietest robot we have built.’ 

SpotMini was first unveiled in 2016, and a previous version of the mini version of spot with a strange extendable neck has been shown off helping around the house. 

In the firm’s previous video, the robot is shown walking out of the firm’s HQ and into what appears to be a home.

There, it helps load a dishwasher and carries a can to the trash.

It also at one point encounters a dropped banana skin and falls dramatically – but uses its extendable neck to push itself back up. 

‘SpotMini is one of the quietest robots we have ever built, the firm says, due to its electric motors.

‘It has a variety of sensors, including depth cameras, a solid state gyro (IMU) and proprioception sensors in the limbs. 

‘These sensors help with navigation and mobile manipulation. 

‘SpotMini performs some tasks autonomously, but often uses a human for high-level guidance.’ 

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