In the video above, a new robot called the Minitaur looks at first like a cute, gamboling puppy. Then it climbs a fence. And opens a door. By itself.
The Minitaur is the brainchild of Ghost Robotics, founded by several engineers from the University of Pennsylvania. It was built to show off a mode of locomotion called direct drive, where there is no gearbox between the motors, the legs and the ground. Its bounce can be altered by software, rather than in the mechanics of the robot itself. Sounds complicated—and just a little creepy.