During the opening of Russia’s annual ‘PROJECT’ scientific forum in Yaroslavl, the audience was able to witness Boris. Boris was displayed as a very advanced robot that major news channel Russia24 termed as ‘the country’s most modern robot.’ Only, as it turns out, Boris was not that advanced or a robot for that matter.
Boris resembles Honda’s famous Asimo humanoid robot. It could reportedly walk and talk, dance, and perform mathematical calculations. All of these feats were demonstrated on the stage of the ‘PROJECT’ forum on 11th December 2018. The audience was made up of young students mostly and was very impressed with the Russian robot’s advanced features. Russia24 dedicated a news segment particularly to Boris, where a variety of the robot’s features were covered, and the robot was called ‘Russia’s most modern robot.’
This all was nice, however; certain things were simply not adding up when it came to Boris. Internet users, relentless as always, were quick to take notice. Everyone raised the question about Boris’ sensors and their location since its head only featured LED lights for mouth and eyes. So, how was it able to carry out all of the tasks while being aware of its surrounding without any kind of sensors?
Furthermore, certain controversies also came up regarding the speech capabilities of the robot. Boris didn’t have any visible speakers, and no microphone was close to the robot when it spoke. Nonetheless, a robotic voice could be heard from the speakers that were placed in the hall whenever the robot was asked a question. Many of the internet users were convinced that Boris’ voice was pre-recorded and being played on speakers.
Another red flag was the fact that despite being termed the most advanced robot in Russia, no one had ever heard of the robot. How were the scientists able to perfect their robotic creation without any information ever surfacing? There were also some discrepancies in the dance routine; it involved unnecessary movements with different parts of its body.
Another important question that everybody had was why did the robot look so bulky? This bulkiness becomes apparent when you compare the robot to other humanoid robots. Humanoid robots usually have slim waist and features whereas Boris seemed as if a person could fit inside it.
Finally, a Google search for ‘robotic suit’ (in Russian) revealed that the humanoid robot was in fact simply a commercially available ‘Alesha Robot Costume’ and can be bought for $3,765. TJournal also posted a photo of Boris the robot from its back, and you can easily see a man’s neck inside the suit. The image was shared on Twitter by Yaroslavl News.
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