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Joy as 'RoboDog' returns home after unexplained disappearance

30 November 2021 - 07:00
RoboDog is back at the SciBono science centre after going on a walkabout.
RoboDog is back at the SciBono science centre after going on a walkabout.
Image: Supplied

"RoboDog", the beloved robotic dog at the Sci-Bono Discovery centre in Newtown, Johannesburg, has been returned to the science centre.

He was found just outside the front door of the centre when early-bird staffers arrived around 7.45am to get a head start on the week.

“He was just placed there,” one of the centre’s security guards said. “We were called by a Sci-Bono employee and could not believe our eyes: there RoboDog was, safe and sound. It’s such a relief.”

RoboDog went missing some time on Thursday night, to the great distress of everybody at Sci-Bono.

“We really thought we’d never see him again. If he had a tail, I’m sure he’d be wagging it,” said Dr More Chakane, Sci-Bono Discovery Centre chief executive.

“Our 4IR [Fourth Industrial Revolution] exhibition, which is a wonderland of futuristic technology for youngsters and adults alike, was incomplete without RoboDog. The dog and our other humanoid robots, Pepper and the two Sanbot Maxes, are important and much-beloved members of the Sci-Bono family.

“When RoboDog disappeared, it was like losing a friend – a very dear, clever and hugely valuable friend. Thank goodness he’s come home. He certainly seemed happy to be back."

Sci-Bono is working to discover what happened to RoboDog and where he went. Leads from the public are being followed up.

“When people come to meet and engage with the robotic family, the interest in science is sharpened. Youngsters contemplate careers in the sciences and adults gain deeper appreciation of the many ways that the sciences enable economic development and lifestyle improvements,” Chakane added.

RoboDog is back on duty in the 4IR flagship exhibition of Sci-Bono with his three humanoid friends.

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