Xiaomi’s Newest Robo-Pooch Perform Parkour Tricks and Carries a Price Tag of $3,000

When it was first unveiled in the summer of 2021, Xiaomi’s CyberDog designed was best described as a more nightmarish version of Boston Dynamics’ Spot. Announced this past summer, CyberDog 2 looks a bit more friendly than its predecessor. The robot dog is still no Sony Aibo. Watching it do its little dance really did remind me of a scaled down version of Boston Dynamics’ familiar robot. The above video also suggests that the robot dog might one day replace the real thing, owing to its ability to speak back.

In the summer of 2021, Xiaomi unleashed their latest invention, CyberDog. It was quickly compared to Boston Dynamics’ infamous robot, Spot, but with a nightmarish twist. Naturally, social media was flooded with the same Black Mirror joke about the terrifying design.

But now, a new and seemingly friendlier version has been announced – CyberDog 2. Although “friendlier” may be a bit of a stretch. The robot still falls short of the beloved Sony Aibo in terms of cuteness. However, it has traded its flat, Spot-like head for a more dog-like appearance. This small improvement did not stop one man at Xiaomi’s MWC booth from repeatedly calling it “gato”, as if it were a newborn kitten.

The new head resembles that of a Dobermann – pointed, cropped ears and all. While I’ve personally met many kind Dobermanns, it’s a breed that many people don’t consider to be particularly friendly.

This week at MWC, I had the chance to get up close and personal with CyberDog 2. Unfortunately, demos were limited at Xiaomi’s booth, so I only got to see the dog’s dressage shuffle. Watching it perform this simple dance reminded me of a scaled-down version of Boston Dynamics’ famous creations.

In some of the promotional videos, CyberDog 2 can be seen doing backflips. However, it chose not to demonstrate this particular skill during my visit. But I have no doubt that it’s capable, as a professor from CSAIL once told me that “flipping is much easier than walking” for these types of robots. It’s a reminder of how fundamentally different robot design is from our own.

If you’re interested in owning one of these advanced robots, you can currently purchase CyberDog 2 for a hefty $3,000 – almost double the price of its predecessor. But let’s be honest, the first version didn’t have a video of it doing a sick backflip off a moving skateboard.

Xiaomi markets CyberDog 2 as a potential home robot, although the high price point makes it more of a luxury item. The promotional video even hints at the possibility of it replacing real dogs in the future, with its ability to communicate back to its owner. But for now, it still resembles a dystopian version of Dr. Who’s K9 (thanks for the reference, Natasha L).

Until it becomes a bit more cuddly, good luck with that.

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Zara Khan

Zara Khan is a seasoned investigative journalist with a focus on social justice issues. She has won numerous awards for her groundbreaking reporting and has a reputation for fearlessly exposing wrongdoing.

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