WATCH: Dancing robots throw a Christmas party at Czech university

Well-known humanoid, canine, balancing, and crawling robots got together for some holiday fun courtesy of Czech Technical University.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 09.12.2021 12:01:00 (updated on 09.12.2021) Reading time: 2 minutes

Nothing says Christmas like some happy robots having a party. A video made by the Czech Technical University's Faculty of Electrical Engineering shows robots in holiday attire having a blast by themselves getting a party ready on Christmas Eve, and then welcoming the students with controllers and laptops.

The wordless video is set to holiday music, but here is a text in English and Czech in the YouTube description: “The Faculty of Electrical Engineering of the CTU in Prague wishes you a Merry Christmas and much success, health and energy in 2022!”

The party was pretty exclusive, actually. Not just any robot was invited. Boston Dynamics’ dog-like SPOT robots Scarab and Daisy dance in red slippers, festive socks, and hats. The wheeled robot Husky, balancing robot SK80 (Skate-Oh), and crawling robot Charlie also move around while a robotics keyboard plays itself. Humanoid robots include iCub, Pepper, and Ludvík.

Pepper conducts the other robots. (Photo: FEE CTU)
Pepper conducts the other robots. (Photo: FEE CTU)

Pepper, a white robot with a touchscreen on his chest, seems to be in charge. Blue-bodied and white-headed iCub flashes two peace signs and rings a bell. Ludvík, who is composed of LEGO pieces, mainly came hoping for beverages. He sits a the table holding a glass and raising his eyebrows.

The Faculty of Electrical Engineering said in a press release that the video is meant to draw attention to the successes the school had this year.

“Let’s name only the most important ones. The CTU-CRAS-NORLAB team, made up of researchers from the Department of Cybernetics and the Department of Computers, had a successful battle with the world's best teams in the DARPA Subterreanean Challenge, which is considered a ‘robotics Olympics’ due to its prestige. Drones from the Multirobotic Systems group represented Czech science and research at the EXPO World Exhibition,” the faculty said.

Ludvík is ready to start drinking. (Photo: FEE CTU)
Ludvík is ready to start drinking. (Photo: FEE CTU)

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The Department of Control Engineering introduced SK80 and robotic keyboards, and also restarted a program to build LEGO robots at primary and secondary schools, after a one-year break. “The humanoid robotics group has introduced the new iCub robot, which … opens up new possibilities for learning about the human brain,” the faculty added.

Working with robots was a new experience for the video makers. “Directing robots was an interesting experience, and we have to say that when you get a little in the mood for the possibilities of acting, they direct well. We evaluate this project successfully, our primary goal was to make Christmas feel good, and we hope we succeeded,” directing duo Oliver Beaujard and Nina Zardalishvili from bao-bab said.

Scarab and Daisy do a dance.  (Photo: FEE CTU)
Scarab and Daisy do a dance. (Photo: FEE CTU)

While the robots seem to work on their own, it is mostly an illusion. “Although robots are moving forward in their independence thanks to the work of computer scientists from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, they are still far from celebrating Christmas ‘autonomously.’ Behind their movements and dance are the hours of work of their programmers and operators,” the faculty stated.

This year commemorates 70 years since the founding of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, which does much more than just robotics. The faculty conducts research on technological trends that will affect the way people work, travel, spend their free time, and live in the future. These areas include telecommunications networks, alternative energy sources, artificial intelligence, bioinformatics, cybersecurity, and space technology.

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