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Russia Unveils Its First Robot Dog Prototype

The walking robot’s creators say they hope the development will usher in a new era of robotics in Russia. Kirill Zykov / Moskva News Agency

Russian engineers have developed the country’s first walking robot dog prototype, the Moscow State University (MSU) has announced.

The team said it took two years to build the dog-like robot “from scratch.”

A short video posted on the MSU engineering project Voltbro’s YouTube page showcased some of the machine’s capabilities, like walking at different speeds and going in circles.

And though it has yet to learn all the functions of its Boston Dynamics big brother BigDog — it drunkenly tumbled while attempting to get up from a crouched position — the walking robot’s creators hope to usher in a new era of robotics in Russia.

“There aren’t many labs in the world that deal with walking robotics and the appearance of these prototypes in Russia creates scientific and engineering potential in Russia,” said MSU’s chief engineer Anton Rogachev.

“We believe that this MSU development will give serious impetus to the advancement of four-legged robots in our country,” Rogachev said on Oct. 20.

The machine, which does not yet have a name, weighs in at 15 kilograms (33 pounds) and is made of 3D-printed plastic and aluminum.

Voltbro says it independently developed most of the robot’s parts and software that controls its limbs with 12 engines. 

In an interview with the independent Dozhd broadcaster, Rogachev said “the most important thing is we know how it works.”

“Nobody knows how China’s or Boston Dynamics’ dogs work,” he said in between demonstrating his robot dog’s capabilities. “Our knowledge tells us that we have the technology.”

“There’s a lot of work ahead to finalize the software and debug the robot, but it can already be used as a research platform for universities and scientific institutions,” MSU and Voltbro said in joint statements.

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