Entertainment robots the latest craze worldwide as the pandemic rages on – CNBC

The Gundam warrior robot in Yokogama’s Ymahita Habor is a big attraction for Japanese Sci-Fi fans.

Photo: Tim Hornyak

When Boston Dynamics posted its latest video of its robots performing gravity-defying acrobatics, this time dancing to The Contours’ “Do You Love Me,” the internet was agog. A YouTube clip of Atlas and Spot robots moving with balletic fluidity has racked up over 23 million views since Dec. 30 and countless warnings that the ‘Terminator series’ Skynet is upon us. Boston Dynamics, which Hyundai Motor Group is acquiring from SoftBank Group, makes robots that are not only practical, they’re fun to watch.

Long used by companies like Walt Disney Imagineering, robots are emerging as entertainers even as the Covid-19 pandemic has seen the rollout of various kinds of robots that can help fight the virus and support society and the economy in a myriad of ways – from providing automation in factories and warehouses to working as medical assistants in hospitals and nursing homes. As the world looks to vaccines and the reopening of economies, intelligent machines will be taking on an increasingly public role as entertainers. Entertainment robots as a market could grow 10% annually through 2023 as more public venues embrace machines that do not tire, get sick or need to be quarantined, according to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR).   

The IFR classifies entertainment robots as a kind of