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Watch: Boston Dynamics robots challenge K-pop stars BTS to a dance-off

Marc Raibert (left rear) founder of Boston Dynamics, watches one of the company's Spot robots during a demonstration on Jan. 13, 2021, at its facilities in Waltham.Josh Reynolds/Associated Press

You’ve seen the vaguely terrifying Boston Dynamics robots climb stairs, open doors, and march in formation while pulling a box truck. Now the four-legged robots are on the dance floor and grooving with special guests: the members of K-pop boy band BTS.

In “Spot’s On It,” a video released Tuesday by the Waltham-based robotics company to celebrate its recent acquisition by Hyundai Motor Company, seven dog-like “Spot” robots shimmy to the BTS song “IONIQ: I’m On It” in a highly choreographed number. The bright-yellow contraptions jump, twist, and gyrate in eerily perfect synchronicity.

The song, “IONIQ: I’m On It,” was released in August 2020, just weeks after the launch of IONIQ, Hyundai’s new electric vehicle brand.


In a video posted Monday, this one by Hyundai, Spot meets BTS, the seven-member South Korean boy band. Spot must get past a bouncer first, but once the robot enters a room where the band is doing a video shoot, it becomes a full-fledged dance-off. There’s even a cameo from another Boston Dynamics robot, the bipedal “Atlas.” At the end of the video, all the bots take their well-deserved bows.

“There were a lot of challenges around getting the vision of our choreographer, who’s used to dealing with human dancers, into our software,” said Boston Dynamics roboticist Eric Whitman in a company blog post. “Everything had to be worked out in advance and scripted precisely. Robots have the advantage over humans in that they’re very repeatable: Once you get it right, it stays right. But they have the disadvantage that you have to tell them every little detail. They don’t improvise at all.”

Spot, the first commercial offering from Boston Dynamics, carries a price tag of $74,500.

This isn’t the first time these robots have busted some serious moves. In 2018, Spot got down to “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars, and in December 2020, robots Spot, Atlas, and “Handle” went old school with The Contours’ 1962 hit “Do You Love Me?” which racked up more than 32 million views on YouTube.


In December, South Korean automaker Hyundai acquired an 80 percent controlling stake in Boston Dynamics, a deal that valued the latter company at around $1.1 billion.

Dana Gerber can be reached at Follow her @danagerber6.