Stay updated with the latest in Tech, Science, Culture, Entertainment, and more by following our Telegram channel here.
Let’s say, just hypothetically, that a surveillance robot styled after a dog was giving you a hard time. In this situation, you’d want to shut the thing down, and quickly.
Thankfully, when it comes to Boston Dynamic’s Spot robot, there are several ways to do just that.
The robots, marketed for industrial use and used for viral hijinks, evoke a robot dystopia in the public imagination — a fact compounded by an April viral video of the NYPD trotting out its very own customized Spot.
The first reported instance of police using Spot was in November of 2019, when the Massachusetts State Police leased at least one of the robots for a three-month trial period. The NYPD, it seems, wasn’t too far behind.
When the police state shows off its new high-tech toy, it’s not unreleasable to wonder how long until it’s used on you — which brings us back to shutting the things down.
Don’t try this at home
When it comes to quickly powering down Spot, Boston Dynamics helpfully lays out an emergency stop procedure. Notably, the four-part process requires access to Spot’s remote control (yes, the robot has a remote control).
This would be handy, say, if you were professionally tasked with using the robot to surveil peaceful protesters. Instead of doing that, you could use the below emergency stop procedure and then quit your job.
1. Press both controller trigger buttons and the B button simultaneously.
2. To immediately power off all motors, select the red STOP button in the controller’s top right corner.
3. Select Confirm.
4. Spot will collapse to the ground.
But what if you needed to stop Spot without access to the remote? Here’s where things get tricky.
Spot’s manual is full of warnings about getting near the robot while it’s in motion. In fact, the document cautions against untrained people being near the thing at all while it’s in use.
The instructions go so far as to explicitly call out “approaching and/or staying close to Spot during operation to observe the robot” as “misuse.” Attempting to touch the robot while it’s in use is also flagged as dangerous.
“Spot’s joints can pinch fingers and other body parts and entangle loose clothing, long hair, and jewelry,” cautions the instruction manual.
That being said, if a person was curious about ways to theoretically disable Spot while it’s in use, the instructions do provide some hints.
According to the Boston Dynamics instruction manual and various documentation available online, there are several possible ways to temporarily pause Spot’s activities. We are not recommending anyone actually do any of these things.
We reached out to Boston Dynamics to inquire what would happen — both to Spot, and to the people or person involved — if someone attempted to disable Spot in any of the below described manners. We received no immediate response.
The robots run on removable lithium ion batteries, and Boston Dynamics tells operators that “in best practice, the battery should be removed when Spot is not in use.”
But what about in non-best practice? A diagram found in the instruction manual depicts an operator inserting the battery, but not one removing it.
A handle, seemingly similar to the one depicted in the diagram, can be seen on the underside of an SpotMini in the below photo taken in 2018.
Could one pull the battery out while Spot was in use? We asked Boston Dynamics this, as well as what would happen both to Spot and to the person doing the pulling, but received no immediate response.
An official Boston Dynamics support video shows the process of removing the battery from a powered-down Spot.
In addition to the removable battery, there are two buttons located on the “back” of the robot that may be of (again) theoretical interest: the power button and motor lockout button.
Both part of the documented and approved shutdown procedure, Boston Dynamics instructs operators to (after they have used the remote control to power off motors) “Engage the lockout button” and “Power off the robot by pressing and holding the blue button at Spot’s rear for two seconds.”
Might it be possible to simply press and hold the motor lockout button or the blue power button to immobilize Spot? We’re not sure, as Boston Dynamics did not immediately respond to our questions.
Either way, you should not try any of these things. Instead, if seeing robots like Spot in the hands of the police upsets you, reach out your elected officials and demand an end to police militarization. In doing so, you might have a hand in not theoretically shutting down all Spots in the possession of law enforcement at once.
ที่มา : Mashable