Google wants you to kick this robot puppy

Google's robot dog gets kicked around
Google's robot dog gets kicked around

Google has created a robotic dog, and it wants you to kick it.

"Spot" is a four-legged robot designed by Boston Dynamics, a military robotics company that Google (GOOGL) bought in 2013. Boston Dynamics says that Spot is a 160 lbs, battery-powered robot designed to be used both indoors and outdoors. It can scale stairs and navigate rough terrain.

But Spot's defining feature is that it is remarkably difficult to knock over.

In a YouTube video, several Boston Dynamics employees can be seen giving the robotic puppy swift kicks to the side -- gleefully smiling while the robot catches its balance.

Other than the bunch of spinning sensors on its head to help it navigate around, Spot is remarkably dog-like. That's probably why the video is so difficult to watch, especially if you're a dog lover.

Related: Elon Musk gives $10 million to fight killer robots

People on Reddit declared that the Google video was "rude."

"I know it's not sentient, but I'd have a twinge of guilt after kicking it," said Reddit user euratowel.

Even PETA weighed in, noting that there's something unsettling about the video.

"PETA deals with actual animal abuse every day, so we won't lose sleep over this incident," the group said. "But while it's far better to kick a four-legged robot than a real dog, most reasonable people find even the idea of such violence inappropriate, as the comments show."

The video also shows Spot easily walking up and down rocky hills and stairs. The robot engineers even dressed one "Spot" as a reindeer.

Boston Dynamics has built a strong reputation for its heavy-duty robots that can run faster than Usain Bolt, climb walls like a gecko and jump as high as 30 feet. It works with the U.S. military to develop advanced robots and has close ties with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

Google didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on what Spot will be used for -- or whether kicking a robotic puppy is "inhumane."

Personal Finance

CNNMoney Sponsors