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Buff Bezos and robot dog kick off MARS fest

Jeff Bezos and robot dog
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos takes a stroll with a SpotMini robot dog. (Jeff Bezos via Twitter)

Amazon’s invitation-only conference on machine learning, automation, robotics and space exploration, also known as MARS, has become an annual tradition marked by billionaire CEO Jeff Bezos’ high-tech high jinks.

Last year, Bezos kicked off the Palm Springs meet-up by taking the controls of a giant robot. Today, he showed up as “Buff Bezos,” accompanied by Boston Dynamics’ four-legged, anxiety-inducing SpotMini robot.

Our invitation must have gotten lost in the mail, but based on the tweetstream, the highlights so far include an Intel indoor drone formation fly-in, emceed by Intel CEO Brian Krzanich … a ping-pong-playing robot … a show-and-tell by Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck, featuring his company’s 3-D-printed Rutherford rocket engine and Humanity Star disco-ball satellite … a sound-converting vest … and an inspirational talk by actor Michael J. Fox.

Check out the gallery on GeekWire.

By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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