Tech

A YouTuber taught Boston Dynamics' robo-dog how to pee beer into a cup

Michael Reeves made Boston Dynamics' Spot into a literal party animal.

Training your dog to pee in the house is usually not a great idea. Then again, “your dog” is usually not a $75,000 artificially intelligent robot that “pees” beer, and before you even ask — yes, that’s now a thing.

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In a new video, YouTuber Michael Reeves manages to transform Boston Dynamics’ doglike robot, Spot, into a party animal capable of autonomously identifying plastic cups, accurately squatting over them, and then, well, doing its “business.”

By business, in this case, we mean, of course, dispensing beer from a modified tubing system (effectively its, ahem, dog parts) that is connected to a keg mounted on top.

Like Reeves’ previous modding adventures, the new and improved Spot ends up being an amalgamation of commercially available technology, including a rigged-together security camera, a flashlight, and a Raspberry Pi computer as well as some specially designed coding from Reeves.

In fact, making a beer-peeing Spot requires some really clever problem solving on Reeves’ part. For instance, he circumvents computing shortfalls with the Raspberry Pi by instructing his vision software to register only the brightest pixels captured from Spot’s security camera. This shortcut ensures image capturing works smoothly in real-time.

The results of Reeve’s endeavors are pretty much as ridiculous as they sound. Watching Spot try to identify and pee into a cup is equal parts advanced robotics and slapstick. Sometimes, the setup even kind of works!

35%

Reeve's says his contraptions works about 35 percent of the time.

Boston Dynamics is notably defensive about how Spot is presented in public, for instance, this installation from MSCHF marketing in which online gallery attendants remotely controlled a paintball hooked to Spot’s back drew some negative feedback from the company. And as you might expect, they weren’t exactly on board with Reeve’s pet project either.

So, naturally, Reeves decided to drive all the way from his home base in Los Angeles to Waltham, Massachusetts where Boston Dynamics is headquartered, just to show them what his modded Spot can do.

Whatever you think of Reeves’ beer-peeing robot, considering the pantheon of niche uses for Spot, this mod is pretty benign (if you drink responsibly), so we recommend watching and having a good laugh...

While you still can.

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