A new robot dog at Telus Spark that leads children to science and technology

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A new robot dog at Telus Spark that leads children to science and technology

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It may not be furry, cute or cuddly, but Flint the robot dog is still inspiring the kind of interest and attention from kids that one would expect from any young pup.

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Story Highlights

  • ‘All day, every day, it’s roaming around the science centre. Basically wherever you are in the building, the robot can go’

  • Brodie Thomas The TELUS Spark Science Centre has adopted a new ambassador of digital literacy, technology and coding. Flint is a robot dog made by Boston Dynamics which will be used to help students learn coding. Brendan Miller/Postmedia Article content

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“Whenever I’m in the building, anytime I see a crowd from my office, I can usually identify exactly where the robot is,” said Brian Murray, production manager at the Telus Spark science centre.

Flint is a “Spot Explorer” model robot built by Boston Dynamics, the Massachusetts-based company famous for making robots in both human and dog form. Murray said the purchase of Flint was made possible by an anonymous donation from a Calgary benefactor who “cares deeply about the possibilities in technology” and who wants to get underprivileged kids involved in coding and digital literacy.

Flint cost US$56,650 and arrived in Calgary this August. After some time behind the scenes, it is now making regular appearances around the Telus Spark building every day, which is currently open Wednesday through Sunday. Advertisement

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“All day, every day, it’s roaming around the science centre,” said Murray. “Basically wherever you are in the building, the robot can go.” Flint can be controlled via remote control by its handlers, but it also has five onboard cameras and is capable of self-navigating to waypoints. It can walk up stairs or across uneven terrain.

Brian Murray poses with Flint the robot dog made by Boston Dynamics. Flint is a quadruped robot that can walk up stairs and across uneven surfaces. Brendan Miller/Postmedia Murray said they’ve built a small home and fenced-in yard where Flint lives. It often takes a break at lunch, but is otherwise walking throughout the building most days.