A robot walking behind two women wearing masks

The Straits Times/YouTube

Spot the robot dog is patrolling a park, reminding people to socially distance

'One of the creepiest and most dystopian things I've seen since the pandemic began.'

May 9, 2020, 1:29 pm*

Tech

Mikael Thalen 

Mikael Thalen

Boston Dynamics’ dog robot Spot is being used to remind the public to continue social distancing during the pandemic.

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The four-legged machine has been deployed by the government of Singapore to a popular park in order to help limit the spread of the contagious disease.

Footage of the endeavor shows the robot walking through the Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park while broadcasting a message about keeping a safe distance from other individuals.

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The robot’s efforts are part of a two-week-long trial in which local parks, gardens, and nature reserves will be patrolled.

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Spot, which is operated by a human controller, has been outfitted with numerous cameras designed to estimate how many people are in a certain location.

The Singapore government has stressed that the cameras are not designed to recognize or collect personal data on the individuals it encounters.

As reported by the Straits Times, 30 drones will also be deployed by the government “to detect visitorship at selected parks and nature areas.”

Singapore hopes the project will help enforce social distancing guidelines without putting human workers in danger of catching COVID-19.

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Spot is also being used by Singapore at the Changi Exhibition Centre community isolation facility to deliver items such as medicine to patients with mild coronavirus symptoms.

Robots have undoubtedly seen increased use since the global pandemic began. Employees at a Best Buy in the U.S. even attached a basket to a robot to allow for human-less curbside pickup.

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H/T The Straits Times

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*First Published: May 9, 2020, 1:28 pm