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Xiaomi’s latest robot dog does backflips off skateboards, costs $3,000

Xiaomi’s latest robot dog does backflips off skateboards, costs ,000

Image Credits: Brian Heater

When it was first unveiled in the summer of 2021, Xiaomi’s CyberDog designed was best described as a more nightmarish version of Boston Dynamics’ Spot. I had to comb through dozens of versions of the same Black Mirror joke on my timeline that day.

Announced this past summer, CyberDog 2 looks a bit more friendly than its predecessor. “A bit” is doing a lot of heavy lifting here. The robot dog is still no Sony Aibo. It does, however, trade the first CyberDog’s flat, Spot-like head for something more dog like. This did not, however, stop the guy standing next to me in Xiaomi’s MWC booth from repeatedly referring to the robot as “gato” in a voice that sounded like he was addressing a newborn kitten.

Image Credits: Brian Heater

I would describe the head as resembling a Dobermann’s, with the cropped, pointy ears. I’ve met plenty of nice Dobermanns in my life, though I understand that the breed is one many wouldn’t consider particularly friendly.

This week at MWC was my first opportunity to see the new CyberDog up close. Demos were limited at Xiaomi’s booth, exclusively showcasing the little dog’s dressage shuffle. Watching it do its little dance really did remind me of a scaled down version of Boston Dynamics’ familiar robot.

YouTube Poster

The robot can also flip, as seen in some of the promotional video. It opted not to perform that specific task this morning, though I don’t doubt it can. As one CSAIL professor working with the school’s Mini-Cheetah robot once told me, “flipping is much easier than walking” when it comes to these machines. It’s an important reminder of how robot design is fundamentally different than ours.

CyberDog 2 can currently be purchased online for $3,000 – that’s nearly double the $1,600 price point of its predecessor. Of course, that version didn’t have a video where it does a sick backflip off a moving skateboard.

Xiaomi is positioning the system as a kind of home robot – albeit a prohibitively expensive one.  The above video also suggests that the robot dog might one day replace the real thing, owing to its ability to speak back. It’s got a bunch of dogs looking sad that their owners have abandoned them for something that looks like a dystopian version of Dr. Who’s K9 (thanks Natasha L for that reference).

Until it becomes a bit cuddlier, however, good luck with that.

Read more about MWC 2024 on TechCrunch

The article was first published here

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