Hallowe’en transformation: From Unitree GO 1 to Pokémon character Jolteon

Hallowe’en transformation: From Unitree GO 1 to Pokémon character Jolteon

By Scott Simmie


What could possibly be better than dressing up for Hallowe’en?

For Dave Niewinski, the answer was clear: Dress up a robot for Hallowe’en. Specifically, transform a quadruped robot into a Pokémon character.

“This was definitely a different project than what I normally do – usually they’re more technical,” explains Niewinski. “I just wanted to try something different.”

And it doesn’t get more different than this:

Pokemon Dave's Armoury

A little background


Dave Niewinski is an engineer, one who has long had a passion for robotics. He does contract and consulting work for a number of major robotics companies (including InDro) and others interested in learning more about robotic solutions. That’s what pays the bills.

But Niewinski also wears another hat: Builder of fantastical creations that wind up on his Dave’s Armoury website and YouTube channel. You’ll find a ton of amazing videos on that channel – everything from a robotic arm lighting up fireworks for Canada Day through to a custom setup for pouring beer from a tap. (The “arm” in “Dave’s Armoury” comes from his frequent work with robotic arms.)

The YouTube channel provides Niewinski with an outlet for his creative side, a place where he builds devices with wild new capabilities, while also entertaining and educating his audience along the way.

“I end up making YouTube videos to (A): Have fun. But also partly for just educating people,” he says. “Usually when I write code I put the code up online. I also like showing that robots aren’t some scary unattainable thing.”

As it turns out, InDro Robotics had loaned Niewinski a Unitree GO 1 robot to play around with. The quadruped already looks a bit like an animal, and that got him thinking: What if dressed this up for Hallowe’en?

And so he did, choosing to transform the GO 1 into Jolteon. This wasn’t a simple task, and at one point in the transformation GO 1 looked more than a bit like an unfortunate lamb:


Pokemon Dave's Armoury

With a little help from his neighbour – and some 200 hours of 3D printing – Jolteon took shape.

Unlike most of Niewinski’s projects, there wasn’t any coding involved with this project. It was simple (and not-so-simple) cosmetics.

Check out the full video showcasing how GO 1 became Jolteon: We guarantee you it’s totally worth your time. (And if you like it, subscribe to his amazing channel.)

The reaction


Niewinski took Jolteon for a walk around the neighborhood – and people were amazed by his creation.

“For a lot of people my age (he’s 33), our childhood was Pokémon. So to actually see it walking around in reality was unattainable until now. People loved it,” he says.

His kids loved it, too. Maddy (five) and Ollie (three) are used to seeing robots around the house. So much so, that they give them nicknames. The GO 1 is affectionately known as ‘Max’ and the AgileX Bunker Pro is known as ‘Frank the Tank.’

Speaking of the Frank: “He pulls all the kids around town. I’ve got a La-Z-Boy on top of him at the moment.”

Below: Jolteon’s 3D-printed head…

Jolteon Dave's Armoury

Robots keep getting better


Just a few short years ago, an affordable quadruped like the Unitree GO 1 would have been unthinkable. But with the increase in computing power (EDGE computing), better and cheaper sensors, plus advances in robot hardware – robots just keeping getting better at a near-exponential pace. Niewinski refers to the sensors, hardware and raw computing power as the three essential forces driving this change.

“All three of those are advancing so quickly, and they all rely on each other,” he says.

“You could have the best dog hardware, but if you don’t have great cameras or great processing power, it doesn’t really matter. Those three pillars of robotics are all advancing, (and) we’re going to continue seeing ridiculous leaps in robotics.”

Jolteon Dave's Armoury

InDro’s take


It’s always a pleasure both working with Dave Niewinski on the serious stuff – and seeing the amazing projects he creates on his own. It’s terrific to see what passion, combined with technical talent, can produce.

We also agree with him about those three pillars of robotics. Whether drones or ground robots, we’ve seen phenomenal leaps in technology in recent years. Better sensors, better robot hardware, better EDGE computing – all working synergically.

Those leaps mean more powerful, more affordable solutions for data acquisition, asset monitoring and much more. It also keeps our engineering staff on their toes to see how InDro can further improve that technology for even more ambitious use-cases.

Sometimes, though, it’s nice to take a break and just have fun. And Niewinski’s creation certainly gave us – and, hopefully, you – a smile.

Unitree’s “dog” robots versatile, affordable

Unitree’s “dog” robots versatile, affordable

You’ve probably seen “Spot” by now.

That’s the yellow Boston Dynamics quadruped robot. Its structure and locomotion remind a lot of people of a dog, hence the name Spot. But it’s not the only dog in town.

Chinese manufacturer Unitree Robotics has multiple quadrupeds on the market. They are similar in design – and to a large extent, functionality – as the famous Boston Dynamics robot. They are also more affordable, capable of carrying out remote inspections, surveillance and more.

Don’t get us wrong. Spot is a phenomenal piece of engineering and we applaud the team behind it. But so too is the 12-kilogram Unitree Go1, which recently became part of the InDro Robotics stable of robots. We’ve been deploying it at our Area X.O facility on missions, and doing some R&D work of our own to make Go1 even easier and more secure to use.

First, let’s take a look, as Go1 checks out some of his new pals.

Area X.O Unitree Go1

More about Unitree Robotics


Though the name may be new to you, this isn’t some brand new startup. Back in 2013, current CEO Xingxing Wang was doing postgraduate studies and developing his first quadruped robot, called XDog. He also took his skills to Shenzhen drone giant DJI during that period.

By 2016, videos of XDog had caused quite a stir. Xingxing Wang connected with an Angel investor, left DJI to become an entrepreneur – and Unitree Robotics was born. Now, six years later, the company has multiple quadruped robots designed for specific applications. There are models for educational and R&D purposes, heavy payload capacity, LiDAR applications and more.

These include:

Go1 EDU: Perfect for educational and research entities interested in testing and building out autonomous capabilities. Its low cost reduces barriers to entry, and the hardware on this robot (well, all of them) is top-notch.

Aliengo: With a battery life of up to 4.5 hours and capabilities on rough terrain, this machine is suitable for a wide variety of applications – including Search & Rescue, inspection or surveillance and more.

B1: This unit is best suited in harsh environments that require computationally intensive autonomous functionality. With an Ingress Protection rating of IP68 and three NVIDIA Jetson NXs, the B1 dominates (any and all) dusty, wet or complex applications. It can also carry a payload of 40 kilograms.

Unitree Model Comparison



In case you’re wondering, the company makes its own excellent hardware – including even some of the sensors. So Unitree Robotics is, at its core, a Research and Development company focused on building and selling four-legged robots.

Remember how we mentioned Unitree’s CEO built that XRobot in the early days? You can check out the Unitree robot evolution in the image below, which comes from this page on the company website.

Unitree robot history

InDro Robotics & Unitree


We were quite intrigued by the Unitree line, and placed an early order for the Go1. We wanted to put it through its paces and see if there might be some synergy with our other ground and aerial robots. We were quite impressed with the build quality, along with the speed of this robot. It can trot along at some 17 km/hr, which is faster than the other popular quadrupeds on the market.

Plus, it can just do a lot. It wasn’t long before we realised there was a real synergy with other InDro Robotics offerings.

“It’s such a great fit for our product line,” explains Head of Robotic Solutions Peter King. “It’s perfect for R&D clients and is a great match for our industrial clients in critical infrastructure inspection, public safety, and construction and mapping. Plus, it’s incredibly affordable.”

InDro is now a distributor of Unitree Robotics products. We’re also working on some added-value solutions that will make these robots even easier to use.

Unitree Go1

InDro’s Take


Unitree Robotics produces well-built, affordable products. We’re pleased to have established a partnership with the company, and look forward to distributing its products. The Unitree Robotics products are perfect for a wide variety of tasks, ranging from pure Research & Development through to infrastructure inspection, security – and even First Responder applications.

We’ve also been hard at work on integrating Go1 and other members of the Unitree family into a back-end that will allow for simple and secure operations of these machines from even distant locations and with minimal training – all with secure, real-time data.

Much more on that, coming soon! In the meantime, if you’d like more information about Unitree’s robots, you can get in touch with account executive Luke Corbeth here