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Xiaomi today unveiled its CyberDog, an open-source quadruped robot that developers can “build upon” in order to create their own applications for the Robo canine — let’s just hope no one aims to make Skynet a reality.

As a report by Engadget points out, the robot is run using a version of NVIDIA’s Jetson Xavier NX, known as the world’s smallest AI supercomputer.

The robot dog comes with 11 sensors, including touch and ultrasonic sensors, allowing it to “interact with its environment.” Cameras on the robot also allow it to follow an assigned person and navigate obstacles in its immediate surroundings. It can even pick out an individual from a crowd and — rather worryingly — tag that person to follow them.

CyberDog is yet another example of a robot that looks uncannily like Boston Dynamics’ Spot robot. Another recent example is Chinese firm Weilan’s AlphaDog. All of these utilize the latest state-of-the-art robotics technology to create a nimble machine that’s capable of traversing rough terrains.

Harnessing the ‘passion of an open-source robotics community’

In the case of Xiaomi’s CyberDog, the company says it will start by delivering 1,000 of the machines to “Xiaomi fans, engineers and robotics enthusiasts to jointly explore the immense possibility of CyberDog.” The idea is to harness the passion of an open-source robotics community, hosted by Xiaomi, to think up innovative applications for the machine.

The RoboDog features 11 sensors that allow it to “interact with its environment.” Source: Xiaomi

Of course, Xiaomi won’t be giving these machines out for free. Anyone wanting to get involved with the initiative will have to pay 9,999 yuan (approximately $1,540) to get their hands on one of the machines and get started plotting their crazy schemes.

This will be a fascinating experiment to witness, as unplanned applications could go viral via videos showcasing what the robot can do. Boston Dynamics, for example, has suffered a few unwanted PR incidents since Spot the robot became commercially available, ranging from a YouTuber teaching the machine to pee beer and the French army utilizing it for combat training. When the greatest limit to the machine’s applications is a user’s imagination, the possibilities are endless.

This was a developing story and was updated as new information emerged.

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