November 1, 2021 report
Boston Dynamics robots imitate Rolling Stones performing 'Start Me Up'
The team at robotics company Boston Dynamics has released a video promoting itself while also honoring the Rolling Stones—this year marks the 40th anniversary of the release of the song 'Start Me Up.' The release of the song was notable also for the video that accompanied the song, with the members of the group playing their instruments and lead singer Mick Jagger strutting around on stage.
Boston Dynamics, which was recently purchased by Korean car company Hyundai, has made a habit of releasing entertaining videos of its robots, ostensibly to promote its products and to highlight new landmarks in the design and performance of their robots. The earliest videos showed one or more of their four legged creations stomping around in natural terrain. More recent videos have shown improvements in agility as the robots do flips and bounce off nearby objects. The tactic appears to be working: BD has sold over 400 of the robots to various companies, including the New York Police Department. In this new and latest video, the robots, (all versions of Spot) recreate the performance of the Stones in action in their video. To help with realism, the team shows the robot video side-by-side with the original Stones video—while the song is playing.
As with the musical group, the robot group is led by a Mick Jagger, of sorts. Or perhaps a wannabe. The dog-like robot recreates Jagger's actions in specific detail, recreating the swagger made famous on stages around the world by the band's famous front man. The robot also lip syncs the entire song. As the song progresses, the camera moves to show two of the other members of the band—imitators of Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood—as they play their instruments and at times move close to sing with their lead man. Notably, the drum kit remains vacant—there is no Charlie Watts mimic—possibly a tribute to the drummer who passed away earlier this year.
In addition to its coolness factor, the video serves to showcase not just the agility of the robots but also their precision and timing, suggesting to potential customers that perhaps the robots can do more than just lug equipment around.
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