Sci-Bono Discovery Centre pleased missing RoboDog returned

The robotic canine's loss was discovered on Friday morning when it could not be found at the 4IR exhibition of the Sci-Bono centre or anywhere else.

RoboDog disappeared from the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre on Thursday when the Discovery Centre in Newtown, Johannesburg closed for business. Picture: Supplied

JOHANNESBURG - The Sci-Bono Discovery Centre has expressed its relief after its missing RoboDog was found.

RoboDog was found just outside the front door of the centre when staffers arrived at the centre around 7.45am on Monday.

The robotic canine's loss was discovered on Friday morning when it could not be found at the 4IR exhibition of the Sci-Bono centre or anywhere else.

“He was just placed there,” one of the centre’s security guards said. “We were called by a Sci-Bono employee and could not believe our eyes: there RoboDog was, safe and sound. It’s such a relief.”

Sci-Bono Discovery Centre chief executive Dr More Chakane was relieved to have the mechanical dog back.

“We really thought we’d never see him again,” said Dr More Chakane, Sci-Bono Discovery Centre chief executive.

“Our 4IR [Fourth Industrial Revolution] exhibition, which is a wonderland of futuristic technology for youngsters and adults alike, was incomplete without RoboDog. The dog and our other humanoid robots, Pepper and the two Sanbot Maxes, are important and much-beloved members of the Sci-Bono family. When RoboDog disappeared, it was like losing a friend – a very dear, clever and hugely valuable friend. Thank goodness he’s come home.

“He certainly seemed happy to be back. If he had a tail, I’m sure he’d be wagging it, Chakane said. “All that matters is that he’s back home, safe and sound,” he said.

The Sci-Bono Centre is now working to discover what happened to RoboDog and where he went.

It said that leads from the public were being followed up, and Dr Chakane thanked the many people who got in touch to express concern or give information on where RoboDog could be.

RoboDog is back on duty at the 4IR exhibition of Sci-Bono with its three humanoid robot friends, Pepper and the two Sanbot Maxes where they delight and enthral visitors, dance a little dance of joy, answer questions and open doors of understanding about the future of Fourth Industrial Revolution technology.

“When people come to meet and engage with the robotic family, the interest in science is sharpened. Youngsters contemplate careers in the sciences and adults gain deeper appreciation of the many ways that the sciences enable economic development and lifestyle improvements,” said Dr Chakane.