The robot appeared to dance and speak, but viewers on social media were adamant there was more to the machine than met the eye.
Footage of an artificial intelligence robot that Russian state television used as an example of the country’s technological prowess has been exposed as a man wearing a robot suit.
The Rossiya 24 news channel broadcast footage of what it presented as Boris the dancing, singing robot at a technology forum for school pupils.
But viewers and other journalists spotted some human-like movements and other discrepancies – and discovered Boris was in fact a human wearing a robot costume sold by a Russian company.
As the “machine” danced on stage, a presenter had said: “At the forum there’s the opportunity to see state-of-the-art robots. Boris the Robot has already learned to dance, and not badly at that.”
In the report, the robot also appeared to speak in a metallic voice as lights flashed on its face in different colours, saying: “I’m good at maths but now I want to study art and musical composition.”
But images shared online from backstage at the event clearly showed a human inside a robot outfit, through a gap between a bodysuit and a headpiece.
Bloggers found the Robot Show website where the suit, identical to the one shown in the news clip, can be purchased.
After the clip went viral, Rossiya 24 broadcast an interview with the journalist who made the original report.
“I was absolutely sure everyone would realise it was a costume, like Santa Claus, that this was a project created for children,” he said.