This robot dog in a Jolteon costume is adorably terrifying

Life-sized robotic Jolteon
(Image credit: Dave Niewinski)

A robotic engineer has 3D-printed a highly realistic Jolteon Pokemon costume for a robot dog, and the results are, well, shocking. 

Dave Niewinski shared the robot Jolteon costume progress and final product on Twitter and YouTube, and it's fascinating. It reminds me of the actual dog that was turned into Arcanine, except, ya know, this dog is made of metal. The Jolteon costume, which looks so real from the front I thought it was CGI, is the result of over 200 hours of 3D printing, spray foaming, and painting.

Niewinski explains that there aren't a ton of robots that are similar to other Pokemon, as they often have wheels or are just robot arms - except for the quadruped "dog" Pokemon. Choosing Jolteon was simple: Niewinski went through the original 150 Pokemon, weeding out the ones that don't walk on four legs, or ones that do but whose legs are stumpy or vastly different than the shape of robot dog Max's legs. That left Niewinksi with six options: Vulpix, Growlithe, Eevee, Vaporeon, Flareon, and Jolteon. "Since we're a robotics channel, electricity is kind of a big thing for us," Niewinski explains. "Jolteon was also one of my favorite Pokemon growing up, so it seems like a solid fit."

From there, Jolteon was scaled to fit the Unitree robot dog and a mount was built to support the head, which was divided into 10 pieces to aid the 3D-printing process. Niewinski then super-glued the head pieces together. For the body, the Unitree was wrapped in Saran wrap "kind of like a robot condom" to protect it from the spray foam, which they used to carve out the shape of Jolteon's legs and body.

The results are fascinating and also a wee bit terrifying when you consider the use case for these robots. The dog-like robot was made popular by robotics company Boston Dynamics, and has since been the subject of controversy as police departments across the US have attempted to use them in local policing. The NYPD tried to use it last year but was met with widespread backlash, as members of the community questioned the NYPD's use of resources and the optics of a department frequently mired by accusations of civil right violations using a robotic dog to police its citizens. Jolteon's cute, but I don't want to see him anywhere near a protest, thanks.

Don't expect to see the Pokemon Scarlet and Violet starter evolutions before launch.

Alyssa Mercante

Alyssa Mercante is an editor and features writer at GamesRadar based out of Brooklyn, NY. Prior to entering the industry, she got her Masters's degree in Modern and Contemporary Literature at Newcastle University with a dissertation focusing on contemporary indie games. She spends most of her time playing competitive shooters and in-depth RPGs and was recently on a PAX Panel about the best bars in video games. In her spare time Alyssa rescues cats, practices her Italian, and plays soccer.