Happy Holidays From Boston Dynamics - A New Branch Of The Uncanny Valley
Written by Harry Fairhead   
Wednesday, 23 December 2015

This year there is just one holiday video you have to see, but be warned, once seen it cannot be unseen. Boston Dynamics seems to have found a new part of the uncanny valley involving robot reindeers.  

Boston Dynamics, owned by Google, has some amazing robots. It, for example, is responsible for the Atlas humanoid robot that featured in the DARPA robot challenge.

Perhaps its most innovative line of robots is the the quadrupeds - from Spot all the way up to BigDog:

 

spotbigdog

Spot next to BigDog

 

There is something a tiny bit unnerving about watching any of these quadrupeds walking or trotting. The reason for the discomfort seems to be that they move like animals we know and yet they are clearly not animals. This seems to be a part of the uncanny valley that we haven't explored fully as yet. 

However to take us right into its depths, I give you the Boston Dynamics video xmas card:

 

 

I think the robots in question are versions of Spot, but notice that only the final Spot is actually pulling the sleigh - the other three seem to be simply following one another. That's quite a lot of pull for such a small robot. Also don't take any notice of the strange new sensor on top of their "heads" - I think they are mock antlers, either that or they are some sort of UHF array. 

 

bostonxmas1

 

It isn't clear where the event took place, but most likely outside of the Boston Dynamics offices which must be a very strange place to work if this is the sort of thing that goes on on a regular basis. 

Try not to have nightmares.

bostonxmas2

More Information

Boston Dynamics

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 23 December 2015 )