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Is the new Xiaomi Cyber Dog actually a copycat?

Xiaomi has unveiled a curious new robot helper on four legs, but it does bear a striking similarity to a recently-released product from Boston Dynamics.

There are few things people like more than dogs and technology – so Xiaomi could be onto a real winner with the release of its ‘CyberDog’, which the brand stiffly describes as a “bio-inspired quadruped robot”.

However, the peculiar pooch isn’t one of a kind; it seems to follow in the pawprints of a product from Boston Dynamics.

The Xiaomi CyberDog boasts impressive specs, including centimetre-scale obstacle avoidance and navigation enhanced by Intel, an on-board 128GB SSD and an “AI supercomputer” for handling its tasks. The pup can reach speeds of 3.2m/s, with maximum torque of 32Nm, and a payload of 3kg.

Boston Dynamics’ “Spot”, released in June of this year, is a real working dog and boasts a maximum payload of 14kg. This computerised canine has already been put to work in various fields, such as in construction, oil and gas, utilities, mining, manufacturing, or public safety. Often used for inspection purposes (it wields five cameras for the task), the machine is highly manoeuvrable – even being able to ascend stairs – and can fit into smaller or more dangerous areas, without risking the safety of employees.

While it is mostly set to work in these industrial contexts, Boston Dynamics does note that it has some potential to be a show dog as well: “Program dynamic movements and expressive poses through the API or drive the robot in real-time as part of a performance.”

While Xiaomi’s CyberDog is certainly similar in terms of design and function, it’s unclear whether it is really capable of being a beast of burden like Boston Dynamics’ creation due to the difference in specs. The two have vastly different price points too, at least at this initial stage; Spot costs $74,500 (~£54,000) while the first 1,000 units of the CyberDog will go on sale for around $1,500 (~£1000).





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