August 11, 2021 report
Xiaomi unveils CyberDog: A personable quadruped robot
Chinese electronics company Xiaomi has unveiled CyberDog, a quadruped robot that the company describes as more personable than others in its class. The company made its announcement on its Twitter feed, calling it a "true beast."
CyberDog is very similar in appearance to Boston Dynamics' Spot, although it is sleeker and smaller. In its announcement, Xiaomi appears to be promoting its robot dog as both a human friendly robot that can behave playfully and as a dog that might be intimidating when used by law enforcement or the military. More directly, the company appears to have created CyberDog as a research investment—they have kept the price very low, at just under $1,600 (Spot costs $74,500) and are offering to sell 1,000 of them to anyone that wants one, though the offer appears to be mainly directed at engineers who would be willing to add features and capabilities to the robot.
CyberDog weighs approximately 3 kg and can run at just over three meters per second. It also has six microphones and multiple cameras placed strategically over its body surface along with imaging sensors and has 128GB of onboard storage. It moves using servo-motors that the company developed in-house, which give the robot 32nm maximum torque. Inside, the robot sports a specialized version of NVIDIA's Jetson Xavier NX—which Xiaomi describes as the smallest AI computer in the world—suggesting the robot dog is capable of learning new tricks.
The native technology can be seen in videos the company has released. CyberDog is capable of following a person around like a puppy. It can also pick its owner's face out of a crowd and can respond to facial and postural cues. To demonstrate its physical prowess, Cyberdog is shown completing a backflip. Perhaps most importantly, CyberDog has been taught to look into the eyes of the person interacting with it and to respond in ways similar to a real puppy, giving it the personable traits the company is claiming.
Xiaomi has set up space for the project in its Xiaomi Open-Source Community, hoping perhaps that robotics enthusiasts will begin writing code for CyberDog, giving it more exposure and helping Xiaomi to gain a reputation as a major player in the robotics field.
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