Black Mirror took its influence from real-life for the Metalhead episode. The death dogs were based on Boston Dynamics' robots like the BigDog. However, technology has come a long way since then and now we're looking at a smaller and more versatile version of the robot from MIT called the Mini Cheetah and it's freaking people out on social media. These new robots are able to run, jump, and even play soccer, as evidenced by recent viral videos.
MIT's Biomimetics lab has released new video of their Mini Cheetah enjoying the nice fall weather and doing things that a real animal would do, like playing around in some leaves and playing soccer. While the technological advancement is very impressive, it's also kind of creepy how life-like these little robots are and how much they remind people of the Black Mirror Metalhead dogs. One can easily see one of these guys becoming sentient and taking down their human overlords in the blink of an eye.
The Mini Cheetah has been in development for a number of years. In comparison, the BigDog from Boston Dynamics started gaining notoriety around 2008. However, the Mini is able to pull off some impressive feats, including the backflip, which was shown on video earlier this year. They can run up to 6 MPH and they have been engineered to withstand jumps with constant tinkering to make sure their lightweight bodies can withstand the pressure of its own weight when jumping or attempting a backflip. The MIT Biomimetics lab now has nine of the little bots and they look like they enjoy playing with each other.
The new Mini Cheetahs are being used to "test various problems that require a bit of ruggedness and flexibility." As for their use in the real-world, they will ultimately be used for hard to reach surveying areas, like on remote oil rigs. They will later take on jobs in delivering packages and even security positions. This is all starting to get a little too close to the Metalhead episode of Black Mirror. Regardless, the tech has come a long way since the first days of the BigDog and one can only see them getting better and better by the day.
While the MIT Mini Cheetah is quite impressive, Boston Dynamics has a leg up on the competition with their own Cheetah, which a lot bigger, stronger, and faster. So enjoy these MIT little bots because they will more than likely remain to be harmless. Instead, we'll worry about Boston Dynamics which could very well go on to become the real-life Skynet. All kidding aside, it's amazing how life-like the Mini Cheetahs are in terms of their movement and ease of use when controlling. The videos of the MIT lab in action were provided to us by the MIT Biomimetics YouTube channel.