Boston Dynamics has made a name for itself building incredibly agile and skillful robots, its steady stream of demonstration videos never failing to impress. And scare us a little, too.
A number of the team’s YouTube clips show its growing stable of robots performing a variety of feats while at the same time being shoved with a hockey stick wielded by one of its creators. Or simply kicked.
It’s never clear if the assaults are designed to show off the robot’s nimbleness, or used merely as a way for stressed employees to blow off steam. Either way, the eager mistreatment recently inspired a team of Los Angeles video wizards to create a spoof based on Boston Dynamics’ own videos. And the result is hilarious.
Corridor Digital launched in 2010 and has made a name for itself producing viral short-form videos, some of which have picked up awards. The team also produced and directed the Battlefield-inspired web series Rush and the YouTube Red series Lifeline, and have created TV commercials for various companies, Google among them.
Like any good spoof, Corridor Digital’s efforts emulates the original and then takes it up a notch. In it, we see the “Bosstown Dynamics” robot – clearly based on Boston Dynamics’ Atlas bot— performing various tasks such as passing boxes and balancing on blocks.
Similar to the original videos, we see one of two guys kick the robot before whacking it with a hockey stick. He then uses the stick to push the box out of reach of the robot, prompting it to adjust its movements in a bid to pick it up. As the video goes continues, the two guys torment the robot to such an extent that you actually start to feel sorry for the machine taking that’s taking the hits.
But it’s the increasing absurdity that brings the laughs, leading to a finale you’ll find either amusing or chilling, depending on where you think we’re heading with robot technology.
Hardly surprisingly, the video quickly went viral on social media, with many people tricked into thinking the robot was real. Considering the kind of advances made in recent years by Boston Dynamics, that’s kind of understandable. But watch until the end and you’ll get the first clue as to how it was made.
Corridor Digital also posted a separate video showing the effort it took to create its computer-generated robot, and some of the challenges it had to overcome to produce the video.
Boston Dynamics’ stellar work, along with its penchant for beating up robots, has inspired plenty of spoof videos over the years. Here are some more.
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