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March 12, 2018

New ‘documentary’ shows SpotMinis trying to survive in a desolate wasteland

by John_A

A herd of migrating SpotMinis is at the mercy of mother Nature in a Planet Earth parody from video artist NIXOLAS (a.k.a. Nicholas King). In the distant future, we find that the versatile critters created by Boston Dynamics became “apex predators” who once ruled the Earth, but now find themselves scavenging for scraps in a barren wasteland.

Using a program called Golaem, which lets artists create and manipulate realistic digital crowds, King teamed up with fellow artists Vojislav Milanovic, Ramtin Ahmadi, and Nawaz Ahmed to create a prescient parody of the David Attenborough series.

King said the entire video took about two or three weeks, and at his Instagram site, you can see some of the behind-the-scenes work, including animating the Boston Dynamics robo-dogs and the ragdoll physics of the creatures.

In the video, the sonorous English narrator implies that the robots themselves are responsible for the destruction of their environment. The video has drawn a lot of comparisons to Horizon Zero Dawn, but King mentioned in a comment he’s never played the game.

The creepily aggressive SpotMinis from Boston Dynamics made the rounds of the internets a few weeks back, with a video showing one of the creatures with a mechanical arm opening a door for his headless buddy.

In a follow-up video, ominously titled “Testing Robustness,” we saw a determined SpotMini fight his way through the door despite his human handler’s best attempts to stop him. Boston Dynamics has released few actual details about the robots themselves, instead letting us speculate as they unveil videos showcasing our new robot overlords.

The SpotMini was unleashed on the world in 2016 with a video showcasing its dance moves, which is truly some nightmare fuel. The Spot Mini weighs about 55 pounds (66 with the arm) and can carry 30 pounds. Using its sensors, it can climb stairs, open doors, and pick up objects.

It’s not really clear what Boston Dynamics’ robots are for, however. Its robot BigDog has been used by the defense department, and the company was briefly bought and then sold by Google. Now they seem content to just build a robot army with better and better capabilities. Isn’t that how Skynet started?

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