I've been a fan of Boston Dynamics' remarkable creations since they came onto our radar just a few years ago, and I've been waiting with bated breath for its newest creation, Spot, to make its debut at this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
We got our first look at Spot in October of last year, when the same research team made a video of a dog walking across the floor. Spot is more than a striking vision of a robotic dog: Spot is a wave-powered walking robot that can actually get you far, and long.
"You can just chase after Spot for a long distance," the company said in a video of the video posted Friday. "You can run after it. You can waddle behind it.
And if you run into Spot, you can give it a well-deserved punishment as he pushes off in the air. Woe betide you if you let him touch your arm with that metal prong sticking up between his legs!
If that doesn't scare you, nothing will.
And to the viewers who've been following Spot's progress with the SpotMini, the smallest-yet version of Spot itself, you can't help but be at least a little bit skeptical over the efficiency of his abilities.
"Unless you're pushed to the limits, you're not going to do quite as well as it can do," CNET editor Jessica Dolcourt, who manages our video coverage unit, said of Spot's capabilities after SpotMini's release in April. "Our expectations are that it's not going to do quite as well as the SpotMini.
That was predictable. New technology usually takes time to gain traction -- especially in the fledgling robotics industry, where big-ticket moves always face limited adoption because of public skepticism of new ideas.
But as SpotMini made its video debut in Vegas this week, he had already completely outgrown the Promethean pedestal he was standing on during the intro video.
The interaction of two human feet on a wheelchair-accessible SpotMini that was too heavy to lift off the ground didn't give me a bad feeling when he was deployed to track this hot news scoop. But you don't know what Boston Dynamics has been hiding until you see one.
Spot can come after you with a good bit of intensity if he doesn't know where you're going. The video starts out with a close-up on Spot's head. He's not letting go, and stares up at you. A long close-up of his feet start to follow, until we see his arms rise. He extends his arms up, and your mind is racing: What is he doing? Is he moving slowly because he doesn't want to bother me, or is he just laying in wait for me in case I get out of hand?
As Spot approaches, he opens his arms wider, showing a remarkable amount of range of motion, while suddenly his head closes in upon you. Then he reaches out, and my heart makes a sharp turn as my soul makes an abrupt U-turn. He brings his arms down upon me and stretches his wrists long and far. He rolls in a wrestling move, grabbing at my arms with his arms at the same time, because I have no place to go.
This is all set to the strains of Serge Gainsbourg's "Stray Cat Strut." It's going to be a wild ride.
Here's how Spot handled it.
Spot has more to offer. He's fully autonomous and fully customizable, with an expected range of about 50 meters.
But his final power-run doesn't bode well: If he hounds you for two hours and then accepts a leap in your direction, you're on your own. Trust me, it's not fair to you. At least you don't have to do it by yourself.
Update, Friday at 3:30 p.m. PT: Adds reaction from Jessica Dolcourt.
The Smartest Stuff: Innovators are thinking up new ways to make you, and the things around you, smarter.
Everything you need to know about the Galaxy S20: Samsung's new flagship phone is here.