We saw her dance (opens in new tab)do in parkour and sometimes fail (opens in new tab), and everyone feared for our future because of them, but now the robots at Boston Dynamics are doing something new. To be perfectly honest, it doesn’t scare me any less.
The official Pompeii website explained (opens in new tab) Boston Dynamics’ fearsome canine robots are currently helping to protect the ancient city. Often known as Spot, the dogs are designed to help monitor the city for signs of erosion, damage, and even potential thieves. They do this with the help of drones flying overhead to provide information, and of course human archaeologists and security teams.
Despite my fear of robots in positions of power, the juxtaposition of futuristic canine robots patrolling the infamous volcano-ravaged city of Pompeii is a real aesthetic. It’s as if the vibes of Fallout and Assassin’s Creed have been mixed together in a slightly menacing and way too real way.
Pompeii is a fairly well-preserved ancient city, largely because it shot Vesuvius point-blank in the face in AD 79. The sudden eruption is believed to have buried the city before any major damage could be done. Efforts have since been made to preserve this amazing piece of history and if the dogs are good at helping, I think that’s fine.
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When Spot roams Pompeii, we have a complex robot that can traverse many surfaces and monitor the ruins. It has cameras and scanners and can be equipped with other tools to get the job done. This is all part of the Pompeii Archaeological Park’s Smart Archaeological Park initiative to integrate technology to care for the site.
These abilities even extend to tracking grave robbers by the tracks they leave behind in their activities. Most of these robberies in Pompeii happen inside small caves that people sneak through. They are dangerous, dark, and not easy to maneuver, especially for humans. For a robot dog, these tunnels should be a walk in the Parthenon. Given that these spots cost around $75,000, they could become the new destination for people looking to make a quick buck from the ruins of Pompeii.
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