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Who can control this paintball gun-equipped robot dog?

Answer: Anyone, for two minutes at a time.

by / February 23, 2021
Shutterstock/Siobhan Landman

When Boston Dynamics’ robot dog Spot went up for sale last year, Brooklyn-based MSCHF, an “ideas factory” decided to use it for a virtual art installation. Called “Spot’s Rampage,” the work will go live for a few hours at 1 p.m. Eastern/10 a.m. Pacific on Wednesday, Feb. 24. Anyone with an Internet connection will be able to enter a virtual queue, from which someone will be randomly chosen every two minutes to take control of a Spot unit.

This Spot robot will have a paintball gun mounted on top of it, and for two minutes the participant will be able to virtually control its movements. MSCHF, which has created projects in the past like dog collars that turn barks into swear words, says this will be its first-ever livestream project. It hopes that the installation will serve to start a conversation about what kinds of things these robot dogs might be used for.

Boston Dynamics, for its part, is not involved in the project, but it did release a statement saying that it does not support the image of a gun mounted to its product, even if that gun is only one that shoots paintballs. The company says that it “condemn[s] the portrayal of our technology in any way that promotes violence, harm or intimidation. Our mission is to create and deliver surprisingly capable robots that inspire, delight and positively impact society.”

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