Boston Dynamics Got Spot the Robot to Strut Like Mick Jagger

In a Rolling Stones tribute.
Chris Young

We've seen Boston Dynamics' Spot robot do gymnastics, we've seen it take a beating from a guy with a hockey stick, but the robotics firm may have outdone itself by posting a new video on YouTube of three Spot robots dancing along to part of the Rolling Stones' "Start Me Up" next to the original music video.

The famous robotics firm, known largely for its viral videos of its bipedal Atlas robot and "robot dog" Spot, posted the video (embedded below) to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the 1981 Rolling Stones LP Tattoo You.

In Boston Dynamics' video, the Spot robots are shown dancing in near perfect sync in a side-by-side reel that also shows a clip of the Stones' original music video. We never would have imagined a quadrupedal robot could imitate the Jagger chicken head bob with such precision.

And, as guitar icon Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood start to sing along, the Spot robots' grippers open to imitate three mouths in a scene that invokes images of Dr. Octavius from Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 2. In other words, it has that perfect blend of cuteness and terror that we're used to from Boston Dynamics' marketing material.

Robot dog firms face scrutiny worldwide

The Boston Dynamics video adds to a long list of marketing clips from the robotics firm, which was acquired by Hyundai for over $1.1 billion in July. You might be surprised to find out that this isn't the Stones' first tech marketing gig. As TechCrunch points out, the iconic British band licensed "Start Me Up" for the launch campaign of Microsoft's Windows 95.

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Robot dogs like Boston Dynamics' Spot have come under scrutiny in recent months. Spot itself was at the center of a controversial deal by the New York Police Department to trial the machines for law enforcement, but the NYPD canceled its $94,000 contract with Boston Dynamics following a public backlash.

Earlier this month, a military robot maker, Ghost Robotics, unveiled a quadrupedal robot with a sniper rifle attached to its back, to a largely negative reception online. Such machines, which have been highly-criticized by the Stop the Killer Robots movement, go completely against the spirit of the peace-loving culture of the 60s, during which the Rolling Stones found their fame.

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