Spot, Handle and Atlas robots dance during a year-end video by the robotics company Boston Dynamics. Reuters
We are all tying ourselves up in knots over the coronavirus. We pose countless posers: when will it go away? Will our lives be ever back to normal? When will we ever get rid of the masks? Will 2021 be much better than 2020, and spell hope?
Well, there seems to be one solution: dance away the blues. That is, if you follow the recent inventive initiative by Boston Dynamics, the American engineering and robotics design company.
The firm has released a video of their robots dancing to the song Do You Love Me by The Contours, one of the early African-American soul singing groups.
The dance welcomes the New Year with a lot of cheer and goodwill.
The delightful video shows Atlas, Spot, and Handle – Boston Dynamics’ humanoid, canine, and logistics robots respectively – moving in a coordinated routine to the beat of the music.
The machines step, jump, spin, and run with impressive accuracy, performing moves like the “mashed potato” and the twist in time to the lyrics of the song, according to The Independent.
This is not the first time that Boston Dynamics has demonstrated the dance prowess of its machines. In 2018, it uploaded “UpTown Spot," a video where its mechanical dog achieved a brief performance ofUptown Funk by Mark Ronson.
Spot, which recently became commercially available for $74,500 (approximately £60,000), has apparently been purchased 260 times.
During the coronavirus pandemic, it has been used in Singapore to patrol parks and encourage local people to continue social distancing.
In New Zealand it has become a sheepdog, able to be controlled remotely and round up the animals across a mountainside.
Among its other robots are Pick, an item-grabbing machine, and the company says it is working on a new version of its Handle robot – a small, bird-like machine which can move items into shipping containers or trucks easier than other robots.
Boston Dynamics was recently purchased by Hyundai, although it is unclear exactly what service the robotics company would provide.
CEO Robert Playter has hypothesised that the company could develop machines in the logistics industry.
“We have big plans in logistics,” Playter said. “We’re going to have some exciting new logistics products coming out in the next two years. We have customers now doing proof of concept tests.”
Boston Dynamics was originally spun out of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, before it was purchased by Google in 2013 and again by Softbank in 2017.
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