May 20, 2024


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press

Heinrich Hottarek and Robodog Faby
Heinrich Hottarek and Faby the Robodog © Achim Frank Schmidt

Is it still woof? Or are you completely crazy? When Heinrich Hottarek (53) takes his Faby for a walk around Neuhausen, all eyes are on him. His four-legged friends are not retrievers or rottweilers, but robots.

A trained software developer guides a gray robotic dog with a classic leash. Faby obediently trots behind him, crossing the sidewalk with her stiff little legs. Probably unique in Munich! Hottarek: “Actually, I’m the most colorful dog in town.” According to the Munich native, all the reactions so far have been positive: “People are very interested and I’ve never been laughed at.” there is no.”

The question we’re probably all asking ourselves is, why is he walking around with such a robot dog? Hottarek: “I mainly take them for walks to get them moving again. I’m not a very athletic person.”

Robovelo costs 5000 euros

He bought the robot about two weeks ago from the Chinese company Unitree. The price is approximately 5,000 euros. Hottarek loves technology and currently works at his open workshop FabLab Munich on Donnersberger Bridge. “People can do woodworking and metalwork there, and I also teach kids how to solder and how electrical circuits work. Soon he wants to show Faby there, too.”

Robot dog at Rotkreuzplatz in Munich
Robot dog in Munich’s Rotkreuzplatz © Achim Frank Schmidt

And he really could put on a good show for the kids. A four-legged friend, Faby can, on his command, put out his paws, make a little noise, jump and, of course, bark. Hottarek now wants to teach his robot male dog to heel. “In theory, with the small transmitter I carry around, he should be able to follow me without a leash. The built-in radar also allows him to avoid obstacles and people on his own. But it’s not really working yet.

In Japan, many elderly people walk their dogs like this.

Although his appearance may seem very funny to many people, it is almost normal in other regions, Hotarek said. “In Japan, there are many elderly people who own dogs like this. Many people will no longer be able to properly care for a real animal and will not be able to go for a walk three or four times. “What would you do if your senior was sick?” After that, the robot was turned off and recovered. ” You can also save time walking your dog. Machines don’t sniff or pee on every tree. Also, the owner doesn’t have to pick up anything.

Faby is Hotarek’s first dog. “Actually, I love cats,” he laughs. He has two at home. How do they get along with dogs? “They seem to see dogs as living creatures, not tools.” That’s true of real dogs, too. “It looks a little weird at first when they walk past Faby. But no one has barked yet. Once the battery is charged, Hotarek can walk the dog for up to eight hours, but… That is not possible in any case.” “I usually go to Rotkreuz Square only from my apartment on Vintilstrasse. I am often stopped by passersby.”



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