MSCHF mounted a remote-control paintball gun to Spot – TechCrunch

I spot Many ways in different settings. I had a chance to control robotics for the first time at our robotics event several years ago, and fired one around an obstacle course at Boston Dynamics headquarters. Recently, I navigated it through a web browser as a test of the robot’s new remote interface.

But a recent test drive was different. For one thing, it was not officially approved by Boston Dynamics. Of course, the highly sophisticated quadrangular robot has been out in the world for some time, and some enterprising souls have begun to provide the experience of wandering remote spots through the streets of San Francisco.

The latest project form MSCHF is not that. This should not be surprising. The Brooklyn-based company is never straightforward. This is the same organization that gave us the “Pirate Radio” streaming service All the Stream and FM and that wild Amazon Echo Ultrasonic Jammer. More than anything, their events are commentary – a kind of dystopian foreboding of what robotics can become, on privacy, on consumerism or in this case.

Like the rest of the world, the company was fascinated when Boston Dynamics put the spot-up for sale – but unlike most of us, MSCHF actually managed to put together $ 75,000 to buy one.

And then he put a paintball gun on his back.

Image Credit: Mschf

From Wednesday, users will be able to do a pilot Spot Unit via MSCHF’s Site, And fire with a paintball gun in a closed setting. The company calls it “spot rampage”.

“The stream will begin at 1 pm EST on Wednesday afternoon,” MSCHF’s Daniel Greenberg told TechCrunch. “We will have a four-camera livestream and by the time you are on site on your phone, you will have an equal chance of being able to control the spot, and the driver will change every two minutes. It should go for a few hours. “

Prior to the launch of Spot’s web portal, the company created an API with remote control to place Spot’s SDK and paintball gun on the robot’s back. It’s a setup Boston Dynamics isn’t particularly thrilled about. There is so much understanding. For a company that has been dealing with the onslaught of vigilante science fiction for a long time black Mirror, Third-party optics that mount guns – even those that shoot paint – are less than ideal.

Boston Dynamics tells TechCrunch that he was interested in working with the company early.

“They came to us with the idea that they were going to do a creative project with Spot,” TechCrunch quoted a representative as saying. “They are a creative group of people who have created a group of creative things. In our conversation, we said that if you want to cooperate with us, we want to make it clear that robots will not be used in any way that would harm people. “

Boston Dynamics bald when the paintball gun entered the conversation. On Friday, he released the following statement via Twitter:

Today we came to know that an art group is planning a spectacle to draw attention to our industrial robot, a provocative use of Spot. To be clear, we condemn our portrayal of technology in any way that promotes violence, harm or intimidation. Our mission is to create and deliver amazingly capable robots that inspire, delight and positively impact society. We take great care to ensure that our customers intend to use our robots for legal use. We cross-check every purchase request against the US government’s list of denied individuals and entities before authorizing the sale.

In addition, all buyers must agree to our Terms and Conditions of Sale, which states that our products must be used in compliance with the law, and cannot be used to harm or intimidate people or animals. . Any violation of our terms of sale will automatically void the product warranty and prevent the robot from being updated, serviced, repaired or replaced. Provocative art can help advance useful dialogue about the role of technology in our daily lives. This art, however, fundamentally misrepresents the spot and how it is being used to benefit our daily lives.

The statement is consistent with the language in Spot’s contract, which uses robots to do anything illegal or to intimidate or harm people. The company says it does additional “due diligence” with potential customers, including background checks.

Image Credit: Mschf

The application is something of a gray area where Boston Dynamics is concerned. MSCHF approached the robotics company with its idea and Boston Dynamics, believing that it was not in line with the stated mission for the quadruple robot. Official site’s rampage site note:

We talked with Boston Dynamics and they hated [emphasis theirs] this idea. They said that if we snatch the gun, they will give us one and two spots. That just makes us want to do even more and if our spot stops working, they know they have a backdoor override in each of these little robots.

Boston Dynamics says the company’s “understanding of participation” is “wrong”.

“We approach marketing opportunities all the time to create a great and compelling experience,” the company said. “Selling a robot is not interesting. Creating an amazing interactive experience is truly compelling to us. One of the things he told us about was interactive ideas. It is an expensive robot and they wanted to create an interactive experience where anyone can control the robot. We thought it was super cool and compelling. “

Boston Dynamics says it pitched the idea of ​​using the spot Robot arm To paint the physical space with a brush, instead of using a paintball gun. The company offered to send technicians to the site to help maintain the robot during the stream, as well as backup some models.

MSCHF’s inclusion in the paintball gun is, after all, about more than painting the canvas. The image of a robot with a gun – even one that only shoots paint – is menacing. And this kind of thing.

“It’s easy to see these robots dancing and cavorting and seeing them as cute semi-sensitive little dudes,” says Greenberg. “They endure when they mess up and fall down.” We have adopted that scenario by creating a ‘bull-in-a-china-shop’ scenario. Still, larger versions of Spot are worth remembering. [Big Dog] There were clearly military mules, and their public deployment is done by city agencies and law enforcement. At the end of the day, the spot is a terrestrial UAV – when you drive this robot and experience the thrill of pulling your adrenaline spikes to the trigger – but, we hope, you’ll feel a different chill a few minutes later. Anyone in their right mind knows that these small cuttings will kill people sooner or later. “

Although the early Boston Dynamics robots were funded by DARPA for use as transportation vehicles, the company is quick to distance itself from remote signs of ominous imagination. Boston dynamics ACLU caught fire A TechCrunch robotics event rehearsed outside the stage after footage of the spot being used at the Massachusetts State Police.

Image Credit: Mschf

The company told TechCrunch at the time:

Right now we are on a scale where we can pick and choose partners with whom we engage and ensure that they have a uniform deployment and how robots are used. For example, not using robots in a way that would physically harm or scare people. But it is also a realistic expectation for what a robot can and cannot do.

As MSCHF prepares to launch its event, the company is echoing those sentiments.

“I turned down a client that wanted to use Spot for a haunted house,” Boston Dynamics tells TechCrunch. “Even applying it in the context of using our technology to scare people was not within our terms of use and not how we envisioned the product to be beneficial to people, and that’s why we Rejected initial sale. This concept was brought to us if we were in early sales discussions, we might have said, ‘Arduino has quadrupled that you can easily put this activation together. Go do that. It is not representative of how we use our technology. ‘”

Image Credit: Mschf

But the question is whether the company can put the toothpaste back into the tube. In cases of breach of the Terms of Service, the company may choose not to renew the license, which effectively disables it the next time a firmware update occurs. Other cases may essentially void the warranty, meaning the company will not service it.

A paintball gun fired at a closed location is probably not subject to harm, threat or illegal activity. So it is not entirely clear whether Boston Dynamics has a direct course of action in this case.

“This is something we’re evaluating right now, around this particular use case,” Boston Dynamics says. “We have other terms of service there, about the modification of the robot in a way that makes it unsafe. We are trying to understand what the implications are. “

Boston Dynamics (whose Hyundai sales are expected to close in June) Have recently devoted a good deal of time to complex dance moves performed in viral videos, from routine inspection at dangerous sites to showing various actions a robot can perform. MSCHF’s primary – and, in fact, only – use is an interactive art piece.

“To be honest, we don’t have any plans ahead [for the robot], Greenberg says. “I know we won’t make another fall with it because we don’t repeat so we’ll just have to get really creative. Maybe a waking cup holder.”