Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Skynet’s New Origin? Robot Dog to Monitor Social Distancing in Singapore

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Some please check to see if May 8th, is the new date in the “Terminator” continuity for when Skynet had its origin. That turns out to be the day that Singapore has taken a chance in testing out mans best friend’s… mechanical cousin in the form of Spot, a robotic dog. Contrary to popular belief, this is NOT a Black Mirror Episode.

The autonomous robot dog will monitor Singapore’s Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park. What’s the best way in enforcing social distancing and not get the ones enforcing it infected? It seems a good time to bring in an early-grade cylon to do the job.

The video below shows Spot in action while on patrol through the park.

This metallic doggo delivers a pre-recorded message reminding visitors to keep a safe distance from each other. Like any proper futuristic enforcer of the law, Spot is fitted with cameras and video analytic software to calculate and estimate visitor numbers to a given park and to monitor their density. We all know how Skynet started, so the founding American based company Boston Dynamics is making sure each one is not only accompanied by a human handler, but also a fleet of drones. Along with these precautions, Spot’s camera-based monitoring system is reported not to be tied to any facial recognition software.

One irony in seeing the robot in action is that one can’t help but think about the new War of the World’s mini-series from France (which is available for streaming via Amazon Prime) in which the aliens are actually based on the Boston Robotics dog units.

Spot the robot dog has fitted sensors so it doesn’t inadvertently crash into people but that also allows it to navigate diverse terrains and to manage obstacles with relative ease.

All joking aside, this seems to be a forward, creative, and possibly successful way to make sure citizens keep their hands to themselves while battling the coronavirus..

It is the first trial of a new initiative to help manage and enforce social distancing in the Singapore’s parks, gardens and nature reserves, all managed by the National Parks Board.

Spot is also on trial at the Changi Exhibition Centre community isolation facility, which houses coronavirus patients exhibiting mild symptoms, where it helps deliver food and medicine while minimizing human-to-human contact.

The parks board is also deploying a fleet of 30 drones to monitor visitor numbers in certain parks and shared green spaces, and potentially to work in tandem with a pack of robot dogs, should the trial prove successful. And if not, then it’s time to cue the Terminator music.

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