Astro, the AI-Controlled Robo-Dog
You’ve likely seen clips of Boston Dynamics’ advanced quadrupeds. These use backwards-facing legs for locomotion, and are capable of traversing rough terrain, and even withstanding blows from human handlers. However, you’ve probably seen one quite like Astro from Florida Atlantic University.
The most obvious difference between this and similar “dogs” is that it has an actual 3D-printed head built onto it, designed to look like a Doberman pinscher, along with a yellow cowling over the rest of its body with a cute little tail. Aesthetics aside, what’s really interest here is that, like a real dog, it contains a “brain,” an NVIDIA Jetson TX2. This gives it around four teraflops of computing power, allowing it to respond to voice commands and learn to perform tasks in the same way an actual canine or (or human) would via a deep neural network.
Over a dozen sensors are planned for this “good boy,” such as optical, sound, gas and radar, and as it learns, its functionality could include assisting police and security personnel, guide dog duties, or even search and rescue operations.
You can see it trotting around and responding to commands in the video below, and you may even notice expressive eyes that look very similar to this Adafruit project .
Incidentally, with its puppy eyes and dog-head, perhaps humans will treat Astro more nicely than others of its kind have been in the past!