Roll over, SpotMini — here comes the ALMA robo-dog

Roll over, SpotMini — there’s a new robo-dog in the ‘hood and it’s snapping at your heels.

Created by Swiss-based Robotic Systems Lab, ALMA, which stands for articulated locomotion and manipulation, is a quadrupedal robot just like Boston Dynamics’ SpotMini. And, offering another SpotMini parallel, ALMA comes with a mechanical arm capable of performing a range of “manipulation tasks,” Cnet reports.

A recently posted video shows autonomous ALMA opening a door with relative ease, a vital maneuver if the bots are ever going to rise up and cause havoc for us humans. Watch as ALMA’s slightly scary-looking extendable appendage, complete with its three-pronged “hand,” reaches up to the door handle, grips it, turns to open it, and walks on through.

The video also shows ALMA holding a glass of water without spilling it, and helping a human to lift a box.

The skill with which it handles these different tasks points to a number of possible applications. For example, placing ALMA at airport customs — together with a latex glove dangling from its middle prong and a sign saying “this won’t take a moment” — would surely be enough to discourage even the most determined of smugglers from bringing illegal items into the country.

Joking aside, it seems the team behind ALMA is keen to give it a friendly face, perhaps to encourage more people to take an interest in its four-legged robot. This is demonstrated in particular by the video clip showing ALMA helping to clear trash from around some small bushes. Hardly the harbinger of doom for those fearing the robot takeover, eh.

We see ALMA identifying a plastic bottle, picking it up with its robotic hand, and dropping it into a nearby trash can. With more development, the team hopes its creation can be used in disaster areas, surveying difficult-to-access areas, and carrying vital supplies to those in need. It could also be used in work settings to perform routine tasks, freeing up time for humans to focus on more important duties.

Boston Dynamics also has plans to commercialize its own very impressive SpotMini robo-dog, with the first ones set to go on sale in 2019. The cost, however, is yet to be revealed.

Fancy finding out more about robo-dogs? Then check out this awesome piece tracing the evolution of Boston Dynamcs’ four-legged robotic creations.

Music

Apple Music vs. Spotify: Which service is the streaming king?

Apple Music is giving Spotify a run for its money, but which service is best for you? In our Apple Music vs. Spotify showdown, we compare and contrast all we know about the two streaming music services.
Gaming

It's dangerous to go alone! Have fun with friends in our favorite co-op games

Video games don't always have to be so brutal, dog-eat-dog experiences! Here are some of our all-time favorite co-op games across a range of platforms, genres, and difficulties.
Emerging Tech

Feast your eyes on the wildest, most elaborate Rube Goldberg machines ever built

Want to see something totally mesmerizing? Check out several of the best Rube Goldberg machines from across the internet, including one that serves cake and other that do ... nothing particularly useful.
Emerging Tech

The 20 best tech toys for kids will make you wish you were 10 again

Looking for the perfect toy or gadget for your child? Thankfully, we've rounded up some of our personal favorite tech toys, including microscopes, computer kits, and a spherical droid from a galaxy far, far away.
Emerging Tech

Scoot your commute! Here are the 9 best electric scooters on the market

Electric scooters are an affordable, convenient way to minimize your carbon footprint and zip around town. Check out 8 of our current favorites, whether you're working with a budget or have some cash to spare.
Emerging Tech

Sick of walking everywhere? Here are the best electric skateboards you can buy

Thanks for Kickstarter and Indiegogo, electric skateboards are carving a bigger niche than you might think. Whether you're into speed, mileage, or something a bit more stylish, here are the best electric skateboards on the market.
Features

Has Columbus, Ohio raised its IQ yet? A progress report from the mayor

Two years ago, the city of Columbus in Ohio received $40 million to pursue smart city initiatives. So, what’s happened since then? We spoke with its mayor, Andrew Ginther, to discuss progress and what’s ahead.
Emerging Tech

Hear the sounds of wind on Mars from InSight’s latest audio recording

NASA's InSight craft has captured the sound of the wind blowing on the surface of Mars. The audio file was picked up by the air pressure sensor and the seismometer which detected vibrations from the 10 to 15 mph winds in the area.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Folding canoes and ultra-fast water filters

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

New experiment casts doubt on claims to have identified dark matter

A South Korean experiment called COSINE-100 has attempted to replicate the claims of dark matter observed by the Italian DAMA/LIBRA experiment, but has failed to replicate the observations.
Emerging Tech

White dwarf star unexpectedly emitting bright ‘supersoft’ X-rays

NASA's Chandra Observatory has discovered a white dwarf star which is emitting supersoft X-rays, calling into question the conventional wisdom about how X-rays are produced by dying stars.
Business

Amazon scouted airport locations for its cashier-free Amazon Go stores

Representatives of Amazon Go checkout-free retail stores connected with officials at Los Angeles and San Jose airports in June to discuss the possibility of cashier-free grab-and-go locations in busy terminals.
Emerging Tech

Full-fledged drone delivery service set to land in remote Canadian community

Some drone delivery operations seem rather crude in their execution, but Drone Delivery Canada is building a comprehensive platform that's aiming to take drone delivery to the next level.
Emerging Tech

It’s no flying car, but the e-scooter had a huge impact on city streets in 2018

Within just a year, electric scooters have fundamentally changed how we navigate cities. From San Francisco to Paris, commuters have a new option that’s more fun than mass transit, easier than a bike, and definitely not a car.