Hyundai officially completed the purchase of Boston Dynamics, the robotics company that has been showing the world what its creations can do: from lifting packages to dancing Do you love me far better than some humans. And to show their potential, now they moved their “hips” again, to the rhythm of BTS, one of the most popular K-Pop bands of the moment.
His best known creations are called Spot and Atlas and they are all the rage on the web and social networks. The new video shows them dancing to the rhythm of “IONIQ: I’m On It”, One of BTS’s songs.
Dancing, which may seem like a mere viral strategy, is by no means minor in technological development: “An athletic performance like dance emphasizes the mechanical design of the robot, and also emphasizes the algorithms in the software”Explained Marc Raibert, founder and president of Boston Dynamics. That is the reason why the company makes these types of videos.
In addition, of course, they are incredibly popular and a very “organic” advertising factor: the steps of the robots are very striking. So much so that the company’s latest dance video has more than 32 million videos on YouTube.
Furthermore, BTS is one of the most popular bands on the planet with an extremely active fan base. And since Boston Dynamics is actually trying to get companies to buy Spot robots, for a sum of $ 74,500 each one, the company is focused on promoting them.
Hyundai showed behind the scenes: is the band worried about being replaced by robots? Of course not: there they are seen relaxed and interacting with the members:
In the video, which is part of a behind-the-scenes blog, the company details how it achieved the longest and most coordinated dance routine, which involved incredibly precise programming (rather than using the robot’s built-in sensors or the obstacle avoidance algorithms that Spot usually used to move and perform tasks).
“Everything had to be worked out beforehand and written precisely,” explains Eric Whitman, a robotics specialist at Boston Dynamics. The company also reworked with Monica Thomas, the professional choreographer with which he worked on his previous videos of dancing robots, to plan Spot’s dance moves.
The dance videos also help show the fun and playful side of Spot robots, consolidating them as “nice”, instead of the more controversial uses of the real world in which the robots have been deployed. That includes things like Spot robot tests conducted since then by the New York Police Department, or the recent use of Spot robots in simulated military exercises in France for reconnaissance work.
Raibert also said that dance routines force the company to create new tools to program the robots, such as “Choreographer” software. In fact, that show was publicly released and is already being used by other Boston Dynamics Spot owners for entertainment purposes.
The acquisition of Hyundai
The South Korean car company bought the robotics company in November last year for an astronomical $ 1.1 billion.
With the operation, Hyundai controlled 80 percent of the shares of Boston Dynamics, while its previous owner, Softbank, will maintain a 20 percent stake in the company.
The South Korean manufacturer had labeled the purchase as a “strategic transformation” step aimed at becoming a supplier of smart mobility solutions.
The robotics company Boston Dynamics emerged in the 1990s as a result of a spin-off from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and in 2013 it was bought by Google and later sold in 2017 to SoftBank, which bet on the sale of its devices.
Each robot is sold in $ 74,500.