WATCH | Meet UJ’s slick yellow robot dog turning heads on campus

09 September 2021 - 21:07 By Deepa Kesa

The University of Johannesburg has a track record of driving the Fourth Industrial Revolution and artificial intelligence innovations, and has now introduced an Al four-legged, animal-mimicking robot “dog” to the mix.

The 35kg remote-controlled dog was manufactured by Boston Dynamics in the US and was named “Spot”. The robot will be used at the university for a number of tasks that include navigation, research and inspection. 

Prof Prof Paul Babu, director at UJ’s IIS, said: “Our researchers and engineers intend to put Spot in use to aid in the development and testing of sophisticated AI algorithms and 4IR-driven solutions for various application areas such as healthcare, disaster management, construction, mining, and industrial inspection and maintenance.”

Devakshan Naicker, a masters student in Al tech and robotics at UJ, showed TimesLIVE how the robot operates and said that the best part about the robot canine for him is that mere fact that something of its kind has already been developed, “just imagine how Spot would look in 2030?” Naicker went on to say. 

The robot will develop robotics and advance academic training at the university. It will assist in automating routine inspection tasks and capture data safely, accurately and frequently.

The yellow invention is able to walk, run, climb stairs, hop, catch its balance and dodge objects.