The creator of some of the world’s most advanced dynamic robots, Boston Dynamics was challenged to program them to dance to the beat, combining smooth, explosive and expressive human-like movements. The founder of the company, Mark Reibert, told the Associated Press for details of how robots were taught to dance.
It took almost a year and a half of choreography, modeling, programming, and updates to teach robots to dance almost like humans – smoothly but energetically and to the beat. The now legendary clip showing robots dancing to the 1962 hit “Do You Love Me?” The Contours were filmed in just two days. The video, less than 3 minutes in length, became an instant hit on social media. In one week, the clip has collected over 23 million views.
In the video, two humanoid robot explorers Atlas from Boston Dynamics are dancing, joined by Spot, a robot dog, and Handle, a robot on wheels designed to lift and move crates in a warehouse or truck.
The founder of Boston Dynamics, Mark Reibert, said the experience of teaching dance robots was very valuable.
The daunting task of teaching robots to dance pushed Boston Dynamics engineers to develop better motion programming tools that would allow robots to balance, bounce, and dance steps simultaneously.
“It turned out that we needed to upgrade robots in the middle of development. It took them more energy and “strength” to dance non-stop, explains Reibert. “So we went from very crude tools to efficient ones with the ability to generate quickly.”
The robot dancing was so good that some online viewers said they couldn’t believe their eyes. Some applauded the movements of the robots and the technology on which they are built.
“We didn’t want the robot to dance like a robot. Our goal was to create a robot that would dance with people, like a person himself, to the rhythm of music, to which all parts of the body obey – arms, legs, torso, head. I think we did it, ”concludes the founder of Boston Dynamics.