Spot, the doggish robot somewhere between Dynomutt and Black Mirror's "Metalhead," is one of the latest incredible creations from Boston Dynamics. It excels at hanging out in places that are hard for humans to survive — like hospitals treating COVID-19, "inside nuclear reactors," "disaster sites," and "oil rigs or in mines,” as Michael Perry, vice president of business development at Boston Dynamics, told SYFY WIRE on Monday. Now Spot can add a more traditionally human-friendly place to its workload: the local park.
Park-goers in Bishan, Singapore, can now See Spot Run ... to remind them to social distance. The yellow-and-black quadrupedal robot is now patrolling Bishan-Ang Mo Kio park, broadcasting a public health message: "For your own safety and for those around you, please stand at least one meter apart. Thank you." What a friendly little bot!
Take a look:
reports that this is a test, running today through May 22, by Singapore’s GovTech agency to use Spot to figure out how many people are in public parks like Bishan-Ang Mo Kio. Apparently Spot is coming with an additional warning in the form of flyers:
Spot's already been doing its part in the fight to curb the pandemic, utilizing a "mobile telemedicine platform" to help triage patients at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, in order to limit human health worker exposure to coronavirus. Indeed, robots can be a safe way to get close and communicate with patients — even if it feels a bit out of Black Mirror.
“Mobile robots play a vital role in removing people from dangerous environments,” Perry told SYFY WIRE. “Many wheeled and tracked robots have already been deployed inside hospitals to deliver meals or carry around a tablet and be used as a remote telemedicine platform."
In fact, Spot will be joined by a fleet of drones in Singapore, according to Gizmodo, to help monitor outdoor population density from a higher vantage.
So despite dystopian warnings, robots are currently helping human stay alive ... but that always seems to be the case right before Skynet decides it's better off without us.
This story presents some humorous responses to coronavirus, but COVID-19 is very real! Please exercise caution out there: Wash those hands, stay at home, and practice social distancing. For extensive information on how to keep you and your loved ones safe, check out the CDC’s coronavirus website.