Just two days before Christmas, those rascally elves at Boston Dynamics have provided a dubious gift for us all - a video of creepy quadruped robots filling in for Santa's reindeer in an image we can now, collectively, never un-see.
The just-posted YouTube video features three of the company's Spot bots, the four-legged canine robots most recently seen getting kicked around in the name of hydraulic actuator technology.
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The robot reindeer are pulling some kind of land sleigh - it looks to have bicycle wheels - past the same company headquarters building that's been featured in previous, equally disturbing videos. Thanks to our current, nationwide spate of worryingly warm weather, there's also a conspicuous lack of wintry wonder in the clip.
The leaden sky and office park ambiance complete the menacing tableau. Actually, now that I look more closely, it doesn't appear that the robots are hooked up to the sleigh at all. There are no reins. Everything about this clip is weirding me out.
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Boston Dynamics specializes in advanced robotics technology that it shares with partners including the U.S. Army and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The Spot model featured in the Christmas video is a smaller version of the company's Big Dog robot.
Other robots in the company's corral: the speedy Cheetah bot, the leaping SandFlea bot, the hulking humanoid Atlas bot, and the wall-crawling RiSE bot - complete with "micro claws." Very merry, all around. If anyone needs me, I'll be hiding under the Christmas tree.