In July 2022, there was a video of a robot dog carrying a submachine gun on its back that went viral because it scared people. There is a hacker going by the handles KF@d0tslash and MAVProxyUser on GitHub and Twitter has found that the robot dog has a kill switch that can be accessed using a tiny handheld hacking tool.
“Good news!” d0tslash said on Twitter. “Remember that robot dog you saw with a gun!? It was made by @UnitreeRobotic. Seems all you need to dump it in the dirt is @flipper_zero. The PDB has a 433mhz backdoor.”
In the video, the robot was being connected to a power source by d0tslash. A hand enters the frame clutching a Flipper Zero, a multitool hacking device akin to a Tamagotchi that can communicate wirelessly across RFID, Bluetooth, NFC, and other bands.
Motherboard, according to Vice, contacted d0tslash to understand the backend. In response, he explained that the large grey box seen in the video is an external power source. D0tslash stated, “[it is] literally a 24-volt external power supply, so I’m not constantly charging the battery while doing dev,”
Every dog comes with a remote cut-off switch tethered to its power distribution board, or the part of a machine that routes power from the battery to its various systems.
The kill switch scans the 433 MHz band for a specific signal. When it receives this signal, it shuts the robot off in quick order. Even the wireless remote that instantaneously turns off some Unitree robot dogs is included in the box.