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Watch Boston Dynamics’ dog-like robot don a dog suit and dance

Meet Sparkles | Boston Dynamics

Boston Dynamics has shared a video of its dog-like Spot robot dancing in a dog costume.

The clip, which shows “Sparkles” pulling some moves opposite a Spot sans suit, was made to mark International Dance Day on April 29.

“Sparkles is a custom costume designed just for Spot to explore the intersections of robotics, art, and entertainment,” Boston Dynamics said in a comment accompanying the video.

Spot’s moves are created using Boston Dynamics’ specially designed Choreographer software. The same software was used to help Spot dance like Korean pop giants BTS and The Rolling Stones’ frontman Mick Jagger — no mean feat in either case.

Choreographer is a tool for authoring and controlling movement through Spot’s application programming interface (API), and was designed “to bridge the gap between the creative process of a traditional choreographer and the technical process of programming a robot,” according to Boston Dynamics.

Interestingly, if someone creating a dance routine for Spot asks it to do something that’s physically out of its range, or if there’s some kind of external challenge like a slippery floor, Spot will automatically come up with a movement that’s most similar to what was requested.

Combined with Choreographer, Spot’s remarkable versatility allows the robot to be deployed as a dancer for entertainment purposes. It can also be made to talk, so work as a stand-up comedian could also be in the cards.

Outside of entertaining the masses, Spot has also been deployable as part of a workforce since 2020, when Boston Dynamics started offering the robot to customers for $74,500. The robot costs extra if the customer wants to add one of a number of payloads geared toward particular tasks.

Spot has been tested by a number of companies for tasks like mapping, monitoring, and security, and is also ideal for sending on search and rescue missions or to assess the safety of a potentially hazardous location.

The robot recently hit the headlines when it suffered a gunshot during an operation to apprehend a suspect conducted by the Massachusetts State Police. It was not dressed as Sparkles at the time.

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Trevor Mogg
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