High-tech dancing robot turns out to be a guy in a costume

When is a robot not a robot? When there’s a human inside it, that’s when.

A recent TV show in Russia led many viewers to believe they were watching an amazing high-tech robot capable of dancing and talking. But a short while later it emerged that the “android” was nothing more than a young fella inside a costume.

National channel Russia-24 — which itself appeared to believe the robot was real — was broadcasting from a technology-focused youth forum taking place near Moscow last week, the Guardian reported.

The contraption, called Boris, put on an impressive performance as it danced on stage alongside a couple of the forum’s hosts. It even spoke with an electronic voice, telling the audience, “I know mathematics well, but I also want to know how to draw and write music.”

But it wasn’t long before eagle-eyed members of the online crowd started posting their suspicions that Boris the robot might actually be Boris the human instead. Some questioned why it appeared to have no sensors, while others found some of its movements, even for a robot, a bit weird.

One particularly attentive blogger wrote simply: “Why does it look as though Boris was made to fit a human being inside?”

Things got really interesting when a photo of Boris appeared on social media. The image showed the outfit from behind and appeared to reveal someone’s neck inside it.

Later, another picture claiming to show Boris went a step further, showing a young guy wearing the robot suit without the helmet.

Further digging revealed that the outfit is the work of costume maker Gusak Lab, which sells Boris for around $3,700.

Reports suggested that the forum at no point claimed that Boris was a robot, but comments made by the broadcaster during its coverage meant that some viewers at home likely believed they were witnessing the remarkable actions of a computer-powered machine.

It’s not hard to understand how some folks may have been taken in by the fake robot. After all, the technology has been developing at an increasingly fast pace, with leaders such as U.S.-based Boston Dynamics recently showing off some impressive designs capable of astonishing feats such as backflips and other acrobatics.

Digital Trends recently took a look at some of the exciting developments taking place in the world of robotics and artificial intelligence, with particular focus on the achievements made during this year alone.

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