Boston Dynamics’ Robot Dogs Just Danced to BTS and We’re Obsessed

A seven-member group of Spot robots is taking on BTS with a short dance performance of the K-pop supergroup’s 2020 song, “IONIQ: I’m On It.”

Behind the video: The dance routine, cleverly titled “Spot’s On It,” celebrates Hyundai’s controlling acquisition of engineering and robotics design company Boston Dynamics, which was completed on June 21 at a value of $1.1 billion.

  • Founded in 1992 as a spin-off from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Boston Dynamics has become a pioneer in robotics.
  • In June 2020, the company launched Spot, an agile mobile robot that “navigates terrain with unprecedented mobility,” allowing users to “automate routine inspection tasks and data capture safely, accurately and frequently.”
  • Hyundai has partnered with BTS on several projects, including its 2019 SUV Palisade, which became so in-demand that customers reportedly had to wait for up to 10 months for it to arrive.
  • In addition to “Spot’s On It,” Hyundai has released a welcome video of BTS meeting Spot and Atlas, the latter allegedly the “world’s most advanced humanoid robot,” according to Boston Dynamics. 

Programmed to precision: Behind the 77-second performance were “hours of choreography and engineering effort,” Boston Dynamics said.

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  • Despite their sophisticated sensors, the Spots had no clue that music was playing. Instead, they were listening to their “synchronized inner clocks,” and their ability to avoid each other’s toes was the result of “painstaking positioning and programming” and not an obstacle avoidance feature.
  • Monica Thomas, a professional choreographer and former dancer who has taken the lead for Boston Dynamics’ previous dance videos, was in charge of the choreography for “Spot’s On It.” She delivered the dance steps to Jakob Welner, a robotic movement consultant in Denmark who animated the robots using Autodesk Maya.
  • The Spot team then programmed the robots’ moves through Choreographer, a Boston Dynamics software module created for Spot dance routines. The result is a seamless performance that may even be shocking to some viewers.
  • “For some reason my brain refuses to believe that these are real robots dancing and thinks it’s CGI,” one YouTube user commented. “Like, I know Boston Dynamics can do this, but my brain and eyes keep rebooting.”

Featured Image via Boston Dynamics (left), Hyundai (right)

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