Robo-reindeer bring holiday cheer and fear

Image: Robot reindeer
Boston Dynamics’ Spot robots star in a hilariously terrifying Christmas video clip.

Santa Claus is coming to town, pulled by robot reindeer. But is that a promise, or a threat?

To celebrate the holidays, Boston Dynamics put out a video that brings a Futurama nightmare to life. The 28-second clip shows the company’s four-legged Spot bots fronting a sleigh as it trundles over a snow-free lawn. But instead of a death-dealing Robot Santa Claus, a smiling Ms. Claus is holding the reins.

“Happy holidays, from Boston Dynamics!” she says with a wave.

There’s a deliciously dark side to this slice of holiday cheer: First of all, Boston Dynamics (which was purchased by Google a couple of years ago) is working on Spot and other bio-inspired robots for use on future battlefields.

Then there’s the fact that seeing robots that move like dogs, or cheetahs, or humansis eerie at best … and Terminator-level scary at worst. Putting antlers on the darn things definitely does not help.

Get the full story and video on GeekWire.

By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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