back to article Robotics mastermind admits: I pushed over my 1-year-old daughter to understand balance

Marc Raiberts, chief executive of Boston Dynamics, has admitted tipping a toddler in his quest to probe how humans balance. Raiberts told the BBC: "I have video of pushing on my daughter when she was one year old, knocking her over, getting some grief. She was teetering and tottering and learning to balance and I just wanted …

  1. JohnFen Silver badge

    The automated pushover

    She's no fun, she fell right over.

    1. Charlie van Becelaere
      Pint

      Re: The automated pushover

      Thumbs up and a beer on me for the Firesign Theatre reference~

    2. DCFusor Silver badge

      Re: The automated pushover

      We'll call her Nancy!

      Lookit 'em spin now!

  2. Chris G Silver badge

    At least he didn't steal his daughter's lollipop or hasn't admitted to it yet.

    Spot the dog will have a lot less trouble with meatsacks and doors when it has fore and aft mini guns mounted, is it just me or is that thing really creepy?

    1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      I don't find it creepy at all - I think it is great, and I'm astonished every time I see a video of it. I'm only half convinced it isn't CGIed...

  3. Persona Bronze badge

    Robot dogs that can open doors are almost as scary as Daleks climbing stairs.

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      For stair climbing Daleks you need to install the patented Acme Dalek detecting self straightening stairway.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That vid says less about the company than it does about their expectations for the general population.

  5. mahasamatman

    You're holding it(her) wrong

    He acknowledged that he *had* a daughter ... +1 over Steve J.

  6. 2Nick3

    "Animal" cruelty! ?

    Dude pulled the poor "dog" by it's tail - you don't do that to a "dog"!!

    Or...um...ah... OK, this is confusing now...

  7. BrownishMonstr Bronze badge

    Maybe they should sell it to pornhub. I'm sure they can invest in some Android porn.

    Isn't porn always the driver behind tech?

  8. ma1010 Silver badge
    Holmes

    There are a lot of considerations, but...

    I'd think a properly-equipped "Spot" would be great for police or firefighters. Then again, maybe the cost is too high or there are limitations to the robots I don't know about that would prevent such use.

    Still, for cops who sometimes have to check a building for a possible gun-toting nut or firefighters who must check a burning buildings for possible victims trapped inside, I'd think a robot scout would be invaluable.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: There are a lot of considerations, but...

      But why legs? Why not just send in a cheap camera drone? Even if it gets burned, shot, or knocked down, it wouldn't strain the budget that much. Plus it can go places groundbound bots can't.

      1. John Robson Silver badge

        Re: There are a lot of considerations, but...

        For finding a gunman I’ll agree - fires tend to cause all sorts of problems for flying machines - the convection currents are pretty wild.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: There are a lot of considerations, but...

          "fires tend to cause all sorts of problems for flying machines - the convection currents are pretty wild."

          Why not just say fires tend to cause all sorts of problems for machines, period? If it isn't the convection currents, it's the uncertain footing (no matter the conveyance: leg, wheel, or track) combined with the distinct risk of stuff collapsing on it.

    2. phuzz Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: There are a lot of considerations, but...

      Just don't give it any weapons, otherwise US police will use it to kill people. In fact, they're probably try even if it doesn't have weapons.

      Like that time when Dallas police used a bomb disposal robot to deliver explosives, to kill a suspect.

  9. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Coat

    May be in time, Ms Raibert will take over the research...

    "Ok Dad, let's see what happens when I kick your Zimmer frame out of the way"

    1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      I like that, even though I shouldn't!

      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
        Happy

        I can say that; you shouldn't possibly comment

  10. Jan 0

    I'd like to hear how he said: "I have video of pushing on my daughter when she was one year old". Was there a pause or verbal stumble around the word on? Was he about to say what he "pushed on" his daughter, but thought better of it? "...pushing <redacted> on my daughter" is how I read it. Am I just being too picky about his grammar?

  11. FuzzyWuzzys
    Facepalm

    Not entirely surpised

    The more I've learned about Boston Dynamics over the years the more I realise they will invent the Terminators and kick off Skynet! Now we learn more about the sort of people they employ, they really should be "nuked from orbit" just to be sure!

  12. Benson's Cycle

    BigDog

    IIRC the mistake they made was to power it with a small but noisy two stroke engine, and the Marines decided that something that gave its position away worse than an M1A1 tank was probably not the best means of transport for covert ops.

    It helps to understand the military mind. There is a story that a demonstration of the first proximity fuse caused the device to light a lamp and visiting brass were totally unimpressed. Someone with a clue then modified the demo so the device set off an explosive charge, whereupon said brass got very interested indeed. If BD had gone to the expense of, say, a Stirling engine, they might have had more success.

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: BigDog

      The first BigDog versions needed very high levels of energy over a duration that could simply not be reached by battery at the time (or currently). A sterling engine might come closer, but is problematic in it's own right. It could certainly have been more quiet even with an IC engine.

  13. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

    It's valid research

    There's a section in his Baby Meets World where Nicholas Day talks to some people who study toddler kinematics, mostly at a lab they've created for that purpose. They set up obstacle courses for toddlers over foam pits and observe the techniques the kids use to get through them. From Day's description it sounds like good fun for all, and it's apparently produced substantial research into how children learn to walk and balance.

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