Robotic animals have a variety of different uses, from firefighting to warfare via the help of a back-mounted rifle. Additionally, many believe that robotics such as a robot dog can be used to help us get closer to nature than ever before. However, as it turns out, some animals aren't keen on the technology.
Sydney Zoo introduces robot dog
Shown in a viral video, Sydney Zoo in Australia introduced a robotic quadruped to a number of its animals. Named Sparky, the Unitree robodog is part of a new initiative to spend more time with enclosed animals.
In its first trial, zookeeper wanted to see how different animals would react to the robot. Starting with other quadrupeds, Sparky was introduced to lions and cheetahs on its first day at work. If it felt emotions, it probably would've bricked itself.
Sydney Zoo introduced the robot animal to a group of lions with a fence between them. The lions reacted to the robotic device with a hint of curiosity, sniffing and pawing at the robot’s direction. However, the device received different looks from cheetahs.
In the video, Sparky is allowed to interact with cheetahs inside their enclosure. While the animals don't outright attack the robodog, they are certainly not fans of the device. The cheetahs reacted negatively, backing away and sizing the fake animal up, but no robot violence was enacted.
At this point in time, it doesn't seem likely that large animals will become friendly with robots. However, while animals may not be fond of the tech, they may learn to accept a robot dog encroaching upon its territory.
The many uses of robotic animals
While humanoid robots like the in-development Tesla Bot are typically deemed as more useful, animal robotics are practical devices for humans. For example, in the past year alone, devices such as robot birds and robotic fish have been used to get closer to and manipulate nature.
In general, robot dogs have been seen as the most useful form of robotics due to the difficulty of creating humanoid versions. Additionally, robotic dogs have proven to be useful in difficult environments, leading them to be controversially backed by organisations such as border control.
As robotics continues to get more complex, it's intriguing to see what uses