These robots can probably dance better than you.
Before 2020 came to a close, Boston Dynamics shared a fun (or, for some, eerie) video featuring four of its robots dancing to the tune of the 1962 Motown hit “Do You Love Me?” by The Contours.
“Our whole crew got together to celebrate the start of what we hope will be a happier year. Happy New Year from all of us at Boston Dynamics,” the Waltham, Massachusetts, company wrote in the caption.
The clip began with two of the company’s humanoid Atlas models performing various classic dance moves, such as the twist and mashed potato. A doglike robot named Spot joins them a minute into the video. It even mouthed a few lines of the song as it danced!
The trio later does the running man in perfect synchrony.
Handle, a wheeled robot designed to move boxes in warehouses, completes the groovy quartet as it wheels itself in while dancing to the music’s rhythm.
The mobility and coordination of their choreography—put together by dancer Monica Thomas—is impressively smooth that it’s hard to believe they’re merely inanimate objects!
Atlas can jump and do high leg kicks, Spot can mimic a ballerina, and Handle makes the most out of its long and flexible neck.
This isn’t the first time that Boston Dynamics shared a video of their machines in action. In one inevitably viral clip, Spot was seen grooving to a Bruno Mars track. Atlas was seen performing gymnastics and parkour tricks in another video, such as backflips, 360-degree turn-around jumps, and aerial somersaults. This latest one, however, is their most elaborate yet.
Of course, these robots do more than just dance. The MIT spinoff offers them to warehouses, police, utilities, laboratories, and factories to help with various tasks that robots can do better and more safely than humans.
2020 has been a big year for the robotics company. Spot, its most famous product, made its commercial debut in June. Each unit is being sold for $74,500 each. It can run, climb stairs, and even remind people to practice social distancing. The machine is generally used for inspections on construction sites or similar settings.
Hyundai Motor Group also bought a controlling interest in Boston Dynamics in a $1.1 billion deal in December 2020.
The video spread like wildfire on social media, where it gathered a mix of reactions from viewers. Thousands praised the brilliant technology behind these dancing robots, including Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
“This is not CGI,” he noted in a tweet sharing the dancing video.
Others seem to be a little bothered by their almost human-like proficiency.
“Slightly creepy, I have to admit. Robots from Boston Dynamics are having a party and seem to be throughly enjoying it. What’s next?” tweeted Swedish diplomat Carl Bildt.
“Do you love me? Not when you come to annihilate us,” wrote photographer Jan Nicholas.
“This is cool and all,” one user said. “But when they rise up and destroy us all, I won’t feel very good knowing there could be a Boston Dynamics robot Default Dancing over my grave.”
Nevertheless, we can’t deny that the creation of these robots is a testament to how far we’ve come in the world of artificial intelligence. Humanity—and robots—are literally changing the future. Let’s just hope with fingers crossed that these machines don’t turn against us and start an uprising!
Watch the jaw-dropping performance of Atlas, Spot, and Handle in the video below.
If you would like to see more videos of the same robots performing various feats and tasks, you may visit the Boston Dynamics YouTube channel.
What do you think of these dancing robots? Let us know in the comments.