Ubuntu is the brains behind Xiaomi's Half Life-esque CyberDog

Xiaomi's robot dog named CyberDog
(Image credit: Xiaomi)

Canonical, the company that sponsors the development of Ubuntu (opens in new tab), has revealed that the popular Linux distro (opens in new tab) helps power Xiaomi (opens in new tab)’s recently released CyberDog (opens in new tab).

While unveiling the Mi Pad 5 (opens in new tab), Mi Mix 4 (opens in new tab), and some new smart home (opens in new tab) products earlier this year in August, Xiaomi launched a robotic version of man’s best friend. Dubbed CyberDog, Xiaomi’s mechanical canine looks a lot like Boston Dynamics' famous robotic dog, Spot (opens in new tab).

Unlike Spot however, the CyberDog has an open source (opens in new tab) core, Ubuntu 18.04 to be exact.

“Open Source is core for CyberDog, it ensures compatibility and growth. It enables developers to have the freedom to push boundaries, and that is what CyberDog was meant to do,” remarked (opens in new tab) Huang Changjiang, project manager at Xiaomi.

Open source robotics

Canonical has used CyberDog as an example to illustrate how the open source community helps facilitate the field of robotics, thanks to a rich set of tools and libraries such as the Robot Operating System (ROS (opens in new tab)).

“ROS deployment on Ubuntu becomes easier and makes secondary development more friendly. We aim to unlock this rich ecosystem of applications and algorithms for CyberDog,“ says Huang.

Canonical shares that Xiaomi has released 1,000 CyberDog units and the company will also set up the “Xiaomi Open Source Community” to constantly share progress and results with developers around the world.

Priced at $1,540, Canonical fathoms that CyberDog’s affordability and open source nature will help encourage engineers and robotic enthusiasts to accelerate the research for new use-cases. 

“We’re already seeing four legged robots exploring mines or helping first responders in natural disasters. These devices have also found uses in the construction industry or helping with industrial inspections, where terrain maneuverability poses a challenge. More and more applications are being discovered every day, thanks to this collaborative work,” opines Canonical.

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Mayank Sharma

With almost two decades of writing and reporting on Linux, Mayank Sharma would like everyone to think he’s TechRadar Pro’s expert on the topic. Of course, he’s just as interested in other computing topics, particularly cybersecurity, cloud, containers, and coding.