Boston Dynamics last month showed off its six-foot tall humanoid robot Atlas' improved capabilities during an onstage demo at the Congress of Future Science and Technology Leaders conference in Massachusetts. The demo, however, didn't quite go as planned.
Boston Dynamics CEO Marc Raibert showed off Atlas using its computer vision system and built-in cameras to identify objects such as a box before lifting it with its arms.
Raibert said the bipedal robot is battery-powered but is "hydraulically accurate". The chief executive also showed off the company's other creation, a four-legged robot dog called SpotMini. Controlled by a human, SpotMini teases Atlas by gently pulling the box away from it just as the humanoid bot bends down to pick it up.
"Thank you Atlas. Thank you SpotMini," Raibert says as the crowd gives a standing ovation and the humanoid robot makes it across the stage with the box in hand.
However, as its makes its way offstage, it accidentally hits a light projector towards the back of the stage, tumbles off the stage and disappears through the curtain as the audience expresses shock and erupts with laughter. Members of the Boston Dynamics team immediately rushed to pick up the bot.
"I wish I could pretend it was supposed to do that," Raibert joked.
A video of the incident, captured by one of the members of the audience and posted to YouTube and Reddit, has just garnered attention but has since gone viral, much to the amusement of the internet.
"As someone who's done a few robotics demos, that operator must still have bad dreams about that," one Reddit user wrote while another said: "Usually people laugh it off if it's a good work environment, but being so close to the end of the demo and just messing up at the very end has got to sting a bit."
"Poor lil' feller," one person chimed. However, another person warned: "We laugh now, but payback's a b**ch."
Dubbed the "world's most dynamic humanoid", the 75kg Atlas uses balance and coordinated motion of its arms, legs and torso to achieve full-body mobile manipulation.
The incident came to light just a month after Steve, the "suicidal" security robot that drowned in a fountain in Washington DC, made waves online.
Known for creating impressively capable and at times "nightmare-inducing" legged robots, videos of Boston Dynamics' varied creations' capabilities, from BigDog to Handle, have often gone viral online. Earlier this summer, Google parent company Alphabet sold Boston Dynamics to Japanese firm Softbank.
"Smart robotics are going to be a key driver of the next stage of the Information Revolution and Marc and his team at Boston Dynamics are the clear technology leaders in advanced dynamic robots," Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son said in a statement in June.