We love robots. They are endlessly fascinating to us as we contemplate the technological advances that make robots useful to humans. They can carry gear, map territories, and enter spaces unsafe to humans. But of all their uses, we particularly like how robots can bust a move and dance (remember Spot the robot dancing to Uptown Funk?)!
Thanks to its incredibly animated robots and technology, Boston Dynamics may be the world’s most well-known robotics company. Boston Dynamics was originally an offshoot of Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is now owned by Hyundai Motor Group. Its robots include Atlas, Spot, Big Dog, and Handle.
Programming the robots to dance was a daunting task, requiring hundreds of hours of work. The programming had to let robots balance, bounce, and (seemingly) even carry a rhythm. Atlas the robot uses a vast array of sensors, actuators, and a gyroscope to help it balance. It also contains three quad-core onboard computers. The result is an imaginative display of robotic versatility and possibility.
Dancing to the 1962 hit song “Do you love me?” by The Contours, Atlas and friends seem determined to get humans to love them indeed.
But can they salsa?
Group Activities and Discussion Questions:
- First, show the video of Atlas and Spot dancing: https://youtu.be/fn3KWM1kuAw
- Bring up Boston Dynamics’s Web site: http://www.bostondynamics.com
- Bring up Boston Dynamics YouTube page with videos and show robots in action: https://www.youtube.com/user/BostonDynamics
- Dancing Spot can be viewed at: https://youtu.be/kHBcVlqpvZ8
- Discuss the concepts of products, product line, and product mix.
- What are commercial and business applications for each robot?
- What companies might buy robots (beyond the military)?
- Divide students into teams. Have each team develop a business-to-business marketing campaign for robots.
Source: Associated Press; Boston Dynamics