Officially Hyundai has completed its acquisition of Boston Dynamic. It is the creator of the internet’s favorite Atlas robots and dancing Spot. And to celebrate the company’s collaboration with K-pop sensation BTS on a new video that shows seven Spot robots grooving to the band’s 2020 song IONIQ: I’m On It.
K-pops fans might be worried by the Spot’s smooth dance moves thinking that K-pop boy-bands might be the next industry that Boston Dynamics is targeting for its robots to replace human workers. BTS isn’t too worried about the competition. A 2nd video shows off alongside a Spot robot, the band celebrating the Hyundai acquisition. Both bot and boy band together for a brief dance-off.
In the behind-the-scenes blog posts, details are mentioned by the company on how it pulled off the more extended, coordinated dance routine, which involved exact programming. According to Eric Whitman, a Boston Dynamics roboticist, “Everything had to be worked out in advance and scripted precisely.” The company also worked with Monica Thomas to plan out Spot’s dance moves. She has previously worked with the company on its previous dancing robot videos.
According to Marc Raibert, founder and chairman of Boston Dynamics, “An athletic performance like dance stresses the mechanical design of the robot, and it also stresses the algorithms in the software,” in an explanation as to why the company keeps making these videos. He also shared that the dance routines force the company to create new tools to program the robots. Choreographer software used here that’s since been publicly released and is already being used by other Boston Dynamics Spot owners for entertainment purposes.
That hits the 2nd reason for the videos, which Raibert doesn’t touch on: they’re trendy online. The company’s last videos have over 32 million views on YouTube and collaboration with BTS. It is one of the most popular brands with an active fan base. Boston Dynamics wants companies to buy Spot robots to the tune of $74,500 each, and it is easy to see why it’d like to get the word out. The dancing videos also show the off playful and fun side of the Spot robots and creating an impression in the public mind as cute dancing machines.