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Toys Technology

Feral Robot Dogs 136

stinkypig sent in a blurb about Feral Robot Dogs, assorted modifications of the commercial AIBO dogs to be "more useful". For various definitions of useful. See also a discussion on
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Feral Robot Dogs

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  • Yes! (Score:2, Funny)

    by Spazholio ( 314843 )
    My dreams of one day owning a real-live (sorta) Dyno-Mutt are closer to fruition!
  • useful? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zenintrude ( 462825 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @08:35AM (#5743040)
    still not usefulful enough to warrent the $1400 price tags...
    • Not only that, if you do anything really useful, Sony sues your ass because you reverse-engineered their dog's bios. Been on /. before.
    • Re:useful? (Score:3, Insightful)

      till not usefulful enough to warrent the $1400 price tags.

      I'll have to disagree with you there. $1400 isn't much at all if this tecnology works the way they would like it to. I think you should reserve your griping about cost when the project is over with. That price seems highly conservative IMO. That is much less than what it takes to train and support a Real dog. However, replacing real dogs is not something I see happening anytime soon.

    • Re:useful? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by beaverfever ( 584714 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @12:39PM (#5744466) Homepage
      I agree about the price - my first thought when reading this was 'who would pay for this?'

      My second thought was 'why use robot dogs to check for pollutants? Why not just have a person walk around with sensors on a stick? If someone thought the area was really toxic, so toxic that a person couldn't safely be in the area (but for some reason a school was going to be built there), then why not just use a radio controlled car and save $1350 per unit?

      I do believe that nerds have a tendency to let the 'gee-whiz' get in the way of common sense sometimes.

      Oh, but wait - I forgot this point - this idea is to "create a local mediagenic event" and "enable and change typical lay-expert communication patterns, by raising the standards of evidence, or at least changing who produces this evidence". So, if I'm Mr. Burns and I find these things crawling around on the land around my powerplant, what's stopping me from sending Smithers out to pick them up and throw them in the lake?

      • Re:useful? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by po8 ( 187055 )

        So, if I'm Mr. Burns and I find these things crawling around on the land around my powerplant, what's stopping me from sending Smithers out to pick them up and throw them in the lake?

        Heh. When my doctoral advisor was at Stanford, Shakey the Robot [] was there, and always had a crowd of graduate students following it around. My advisor got tired of this, and told the folks running Shakey: "If Shakey wanders into my office, it's not coming out."

        The operators put foil tape in front of my advisor's office d

    • I've spent more than that on a cat who contracted cancer.

      What scares me more than the technology is the thought of people forming the same kinds of emotional bonds with machines as we already do with living pets. ...and now I'm not so sure I shouldn't already be scared by the idea of forming emotional bonds with non-humans even if they *are* living beings.

      But the cool part is at least it made me think about stuff that hadn't occurred to me before.
  • by will_die ( 586523 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @08:39AM (#5743055) Homepage
    Based on this article [] it would seem that Sony does not people modding thier robot dog. So is that article the latest word or has Sony wisened up?
    • I've heard rumors of a course at my school using the AIBO to teach digital logic-- by letting the (or gorup of)students modify and load there own code into it. Not being able to see the source article right now to go with the start of this thread, I assume they aren't looking at doing anything indepth as make the dog feral, maybe walk in a circle or something... I really don't know as this is all rumor.

      Mind you my school is outside the USA, thus outside the range of the DCMA-- which makes this more possibl
    • Based on this article [] [] it would seem that Sony does not people modding thier robot dog. So is that article the latest word or has Sony wisened up?

      I can't think of any corporation that has applied the same rules to Govt. Agencies/Police Depts. as they do the general public. That would be down right foolish.
    • Based on this article [] it would seem that Sony does not people modding thier robot dog.
      First:You need a verb between not and people.
      Second: The correct link is here [].
      Third: You've also spelled 'their' wrong.

      Grammar Nazi: +1
      Everyone Else: -1 (Troll)
    • Check out Tekkotsu [] -- it's an open-source library for the AIBO, being developed by a bunch of folks at CMU. The "Fearless Leader and Principal Scientist" of the project is Dave Touretzky, whom Slashdotters may remember as the man behind the Gallery of CSS Descramblers [] and his testimony [] in the NY DVD trial.

      It once cost a substantial amount of money to buy an AIBO devkit from Sony; I now think they're wising up by opening up the SDK [] and allowing GPLd libraries like Tekkotsu to exist.

    • > Sony does not people modding thier robot dog.

      Uh, toss me a verb. "does not mind people modding their robot dog?" "does not want people modding their robot dog?" "does not kill people modding their robot dog?"
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Here on Slashdot, you can have it your way!

        "Sony does not _____ people modding their robot dog."
        • order pizza for
        • correct the grammar of
        • brutally murder
        • send flowers to
        • spam
        • metamoderate
        • silently ignore
        • other _______

        Pick whatever you like!
    • They back [] tracked []
    • " Based on this article, it would seem that Sony does not [like] people modding their robot dog"

      Do we care? The ones that have been bought aren't Sony's dogs anymore, are they?

    • Based on this article [] it would seem that Sony does not people modding their robot dog. So is that article [] the latest word or has Sony wizened up?

      At any rate does this mean a whole new propagation of "____ ate my balls websites?"

      My Feral AIBO Ate My Balls

      BTW - Everyone here has figured out that Tweekie from Buck Rogers is the cheaper and less functional version of a sex droid (just as TOMY's "Poochie" is a cheaper and less functional version of Sony's "AIBO").
  • NEW WORDS (Score:2, Informative)


    6 entries found for Feral @

    feral ( P ) Pronunciation Key (fîrl, fr-)

    Existing in a wild or untamed state.
    Having returned to an untamed state from domestication.
    Of or suggestive of a wild animal; savage: a feral grin.

  • free nanobots (Score:4, Insightful)

    by effer ( 155937 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @08:44AM (#5743084)
    Since I first heard of nanotechnology, a logical use seemed to be using it to create landfill miners.
    Small robotic devices sent into most landfills could harvest bost the useful and the harmful substances from them.
    This "robodog" mod is an excellent first step towards this. Well intentioned, but likely doomed to
    the humour or "wierd news" fold.
    I look forward to following it.
    • Re:free nanobots (Score:2, Informative)

      by bluGill ( 862 )

      Have you payed attendtion to recyceling costs? Most curbside recyceling programs are lossing money because resources are not worth the effort to collect. In theory we can mine landfills, and I expect in the future we will. Today Almost nothing is worth the cost extract it.

    • You wouldn't need nanobots to do this. Macro-bots could do just as well. This would be especially interesting if the macro-bots knew what pieces they themselves were made from, and could collect those pieces and replicate themselves.
  • Well yeah (Score:5, Funny)

    by TheFr00n ( 643304 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @08:44AM (#5743092)

    ... It's about time someone did something useful with these things.

    A local newsagent is selling a series of these horrid mags with a bit of a robot on the cover, collect them all and build it, sort of a thing. I can just imagine how proud I'd be to watch my lad's robot savage the postie ...

  • by NETHED ( 258016 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @08:47AM (#5743102) Homepage
    eating-steaks-that-grow-on-trees dept?? Comon Micheal, We know its early but this title is ++ungood.

    • A Snow Crash reference, methinks.
    • by FreeUser ( 11483 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @09:08AM (#5743174)
      eating-steaks-that-grow-on-trees dept?? Comon Micheal, We know its early but this title is ++ungood.

      It is a sci-fi reference to a cybernetically enhanced attack dog. Snowcrash (?) I think. One of those cyberpunkesque novels, where the dog lived much of his life in a virtual state, eating steaks that grew on trees. Rather clever, though clearly an insider reference.
      • From []:


        "They'll catch up," NG says. "On a straightaway, they can run at seven hundred miles per hour."
        "Is it true they have nuke stuff inside of them?"
        "Radiothermal isotopes."
        "What happens if one gets busted open? Everyone gets all mutated?"
        "If you ever find yourself in the presence of a destructive force powerful enough to decapsulate those isotopes," Ng says, "radiation sickness will be the least of your worries."

        The conversati

    • We know its early but this title is ++ungood.

      Even in jest, using newspeak is bad mojo. Offtopic I know, but it gives me a frowny face to think that anyone would willingly use it.
  • Now we need some feral NanoDogs!

    Of course, the waste may be hazardous... or at least nanosmelly. I definitely want a pack of NanoDobermans protecting me from the other nanobots.

    hmmm, I feel a rock band coming on...
  • by maharg ( 182366 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @09:08AM (#5743173) Homepage Journal
    I'm just wondering the about the legal issues surrounding the release of a 'feral' robot..

    When you release your feral robot to freely wander about, would you have any legal right of ownership over it, if, say, someone else took it into their own possession ?

    On the converse, could you be held responsible for it's actions ?

    Are there any legal precendents around for any of this stuff ?
    • Hmm...Good point. That idea could get even hairier (if and) when Honda's ASIMO gets genitalia and unfriendly prime directives: 1. Kill. 2. Rape. 3. Dismember. 4. Repeat. 5. ??? 6. Profit!! I smell a movie deal...
    • Let's bought a robot. You now own it. You let it wander about...the fact that you may or may not have reprogrammed it is irrelevant because you're still responsible for it. You would be completely responsible for any damage it causes.

      How is that any different than putting a crowbar in my John Deere's steering wheel and letting it loose on my neighbor's lawn? Or putting a brick on the gas pedal of my car and letting it roam around the neighborhood?

      Don't let the gee-whiz-brave-new-world-buzz o
      • Let's bought a car. You now own it. You drive it responsibly...the fact that you may or may not have maintained the brakes and tyres is relevant because you're responsible for it. The fact that there are design faults in the brakes and tyres is also relevant. In this scenario you could well be completely absolved of any responsibility for any damage it causes due to the design faults.

        See the problem ?

        If a fault was unintentionally, or even malicously coded into the robot's software, could yo
    • "I'm just wondering the about the legal issues surrounding the release of a 'feral' robot.."

      Chilling effects alive and well I see. Stories of cool hacks greeted with "oooohhh. [sucking of breath]... wouldn't that be... somehow illegal?"

      The hacker ethic [] is dead in maharg. Abandon his soul to the matrix.

  • by bunyip ( 17018 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @09:09AM (#5743176)
    How about frigging feral robot dogs with frigging laser beams on their heads?

    Yeah baby!

  • by Bvardi ( 620485 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @09:23AM (#5743237)
    Under poop and scoop laws would you have to follow around one of these with an anti-static baggie?

    On a more serious note - it's always interesting to see explorations of behaviour in robotics (since future robots used for autonomous exploration of planetary surfaces and such will likely need different programming than the traditional robot (many of which would actually be closer to teleoperated machines than robots as they rely on human instruction for just about everything.

    It reminds me to some degree of some sci-fi stories exploring AI and von neumann type machines interacting in such a way to create robotic "evolution". Which makes you further wonder - one day could obsolete robots be considered endangered species? (Look over there... it's one of the last VIC-20's left in the wild!)
  • Get a real dog (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Cheaper, fuzzier and more affecionate: Humane Society []
  • So... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cjpez ( 148000 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @09:27AM (#5743271) Homepage Journal
    ... will we be seeing some Stephenson [] rat things [] wandering around anytime soon, then?
  • Give me a Back massage with 3-D solid mapping?

    since that other site "contains 'artsy' stuff, and doesn't include technical tidbits."

    I wanna know if I can make it give me back rubs...

    and no I don't want to talk about the implications or the websites and spam that would be sent out!

    "Hot Young Aibo Bestiality Sensual Massage Pics In Your E-mail Everyday!"

    Hmmm maybe theres a Niche Market there somewhere

  • by pemerson ( 179241 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @09:37AM (#5743337)
    It's a 600MHz Celeron with 60MB RAM. I was surprised I didn't see any smoke when I went to reboot it.
    I just throttled back MaxClients in httpd.conf. You'll be able to get in a little bit easier now, for a little while at least.

    And no, I have no control over the content or the hardware.
  • Federal? (Score:1, Funny)

    by redfenix ( 456698 )
    Anyone else read that as "Federal Robot Dogs?"

    Seriously, I was starting to wonder about the airports.
  • Sam Waterston [] and I tried to warn you all, but you wouldn't listen!
  • Angry Fish (Score:5, Funny)

    by TheSync ( 5291 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @09:50AM (#5743417) Journal
    In a related vein, I'm working on Angry Fish []. In addition to the first fish that cries out in pain, I am working on a school of seven Linux-controlled fish, which will soon be decrying their position in life.
  • In other news, firemen have started using these "robotic dogs" for their own application.

    According to Captain Beatty, "We must all be alike. Not everyone born free and equal, as the constitution says, but everyone made equal...A book is a loaded gun in the house next door. Burn it."

  • Yipes! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anixamander ( 448308 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @10:21AM (#5743598) Journal
    Maybe I should stop reading slashdot. Just when I finally stopped worrying about fake monkey automotans [] now I have to stress over feral robot dogs.

    Will the madness never end?
  • What next? (Score:4, Funny)

    by trailerparkcassanova ( 469342 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @10:31AM (#5743658)
    Programming it to hump the legs of attractive women?
  • I read Federal Robot Dogs at first and immediately a picture of Janet Reno [] popped into my head.


  • by Odinson ( 4523 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @10:52AM (#5743809) Homepage Journal
    Bad Dog web server.

    "We have an order to shut down that grotesque web server. Where is it!"

    "In the killer robot... over there. I forgot the password, you'll have to shut him down manually."


    "Nice doggie..."

  • from

    An emblematic feature of the adapted dogs is placement of the webcams in the non-barking end of the dogs

  • by magarity ( 164372 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @11:42AM (#5744098)
    1. Wild dogs evolve
    2. Humans domesticate wild dogs.
    3. Humans create domesticated robotic dogs
    4. Robotic dogs go wild
    5. Wild robotic dogs tame humans???
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @11:51AM (#5744154)
    Whats it gonna do? Lick its electric nuts?

    -Y.T., Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson
  • Obligatory (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    AIBO ate my Baby!
  • by mistermund ( 605799 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @12:09PM (#5744269)
    This project made its debut at the 2003 Florida Film Festival here in Orlando about a month or so ago. I worked on the dogs for a day, helping assemble some of the first prototypes. The dog platform they used was initially a cheap toy (Mega-Byte) that they purchased for about $10. Then, they added particulate sensors which were sensitive to Co2 and other things like gasoline, etc. A new stepper motor assembly replaced the front legs, and a single tail wheel carried the rear. This is the bot you see at the top of the "Smart Mobs" link. The system basically got a variable voltage reading off the particulate sensors, then fed that to a PIC which did a linear variable speed control to the drive motors in the front. Ex: gasoline vapor on the left of the bot would drive the bot forward and to the left.

    Modding a single dog took about 2-3hrs per dog, if you count in the soldering and layout of the PCB and the modification of the dog shell.

    The purpose of the exhibit was to create a mediagenic event around coordinated releases of the dogs. There's a development here in Orlando called Baldwin Park, which has a bit of notoriety around it for being build on the site of an old Army base. They wanted to draw attention to the repurposing of these dogs and the fact that they could be used to make a statement, rather than trying to expose specific polluters, etc

    It was kind of fun working on the dogs, and to see them run. We sent a team out into the field to videotape the dogs in action - supposedly they took it to a Burger King and it just ran into a corner. On a construction work site, one dog caught a whiff of a truck and went rolling after it. ;^)

    We had fun working on the dogs, but weren't able to spend much time discussion the potential for this kind of renegade modding - in that sense I was a bit disappointed. But the whole sense of modding these dogs is what Slashdot is all about! Unfortunately, they don't run Linux yet...
  • Feral Robot Dog? I had a girlfriend like that once...
  • "My AIBO can kill and consume for materials your AIBO."
  • Link to any of the pages....lower left probably don't want to see this.
  • so, can we hype these little bastards up and have robot dogfights?

    battlebots meets the dogpit...."hello, UPN..."
  • Pasting content from floating atoll []:

    Take an army of the recently-described feral hunting robots []. To each robot, add a GPS chip [] and wireless mesh networking [].

    Give the people and dogs smart name tags [], and have your dogs exchange your "business card" with the other smart name tags. Publish the FOAF url in it, so you can immediately check for compatibility and give the new information to the dogs.

    Study the discovered FOAF files [], each describing individual traits ("attributes") [].

    Instruct the f

Never buy from a rich salesman. -- Goldenstern