We’ve seen them dance (opens in new tab), do and sometimes fail at parkour (opens in new tab), and generally feared for our futures due to them, but now the Boston Dynamics’ robots are doing something new. To be totally honest, it doesn’t scare me any less.
The official Pompeii website explains (opens in new tab) the terrifying dog robots from Boston Dynamics are currently helping protect the ancient city. The dogs, often known as Spot, are set to help monitor the city for signs of erosion, damage, and even potential thieves. They’ll do this with the help of drones flying above them to provide information, as well as human archaeologists and security teams, of course.
Despite my fear of robots in positions of power, the juxtaposition of futuristic dog robots patrolling the infamous volcano ravaged city of Pompeii is a real aesthetic. It’s like the vibes from Fallout and Assassin’s Creed got mashed together in a slightly threatening and far too real way.
Pompeii is a fairly well preserved ancient city, especially for taking a Mount Vesuvius point blank to the face way back in 79 CE. It’s thought that the sudden eruption buried the city, before extensive damage could be caused. Since then efforts have been undertaken to preserve this amazing piece of history, and if the dogs can help well I guess that’s ok.
Having Spot roam Pompeii means we have a complex robot that can traverse many surfaces able to monitor the ruins. It has cameras and scanners and can be equipped with other tools to help do the job. This is all part of the Archealogical Park of Pompeii’s Smart Archaeological Park initiative to integrate technology to care for the site.
These skills even extend to being able to track tomb raiders based on traces they leave in their activities. Most such robberies in Pompeii happen in small caves that people sneak through. They’re dangerous, dark, and not easy to manoeuvre in, especially for humans. For a robotic dog these tunnels should be a walk in the Parthenon. Though given these Spots cost about $75,000 USD, they could just become the new target for people looking to make a quick buck from the ruins of Pompeii.