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In brief: If there’s one thing Boston Dynamics’ robots can do well, it is dancing. The company has released another video showing off the talents of its machines, with seven of the Spot quadrupeds taking center stage in an act of choreography that would put many professionals to shame.
The video is a celebration of Boston Dynamics’ acquisition by automaker Hyundai, which closed a $880 million deal with SoftBank earlier this week to take an 80-percent controlling stake in the Massachusetts-based robotics company.
Dancing to IONIQ: I'm On It by K-pop megagroup BTS, the Spots display amazing timing, agility, and teamwork. Boston Dynamics puts this down to “painstaking positioning and programming,” rather than their obstacle avoidance feature.
“There were a lot of challenges around getting the vision of our choreographer, who’s used to dealing with human dancers, into our software,” said Eric Whitman, a Boston Dynamics roboticist who had a lead role in the “Spot’s On It” video. “Everything had to be worked out in advance and scripted precisely. Robots have the advantage over humans in that they’re very repeatable: Once you get it right, it stays right. But they have the disadvantage that you have to tell them every little detail. They don’t improvise at all.”
Boston Dynamics robots are no stranger to the world of dance. The $74,500 Spot was joined by two Atlas models and the box-stacking Handle for an end-of-year jig to Do You Love Me by The Contours, and Spot showed off its solo skills to the tune of Uptown Funk in 2018.