Horrifying walking robot terrifies celebs – but it’s not all it seems

The video has been shared on Twitter by celebrities including Derren Brown and Irvine Welsh

Anthony Cuthbertson
Monday 20 August 2018 19:47 BST
Video appearing to show life-like robot walking down drive-way turns out to be CGI

A video that appears to show a human-like robot walking slowly down a driveway has stoked fears of a robot apocalypse, receiving thousands of shares across social media.

The 14-second clip has caught the attention of celebrities on Twitter, including the illusionist Derren Brown and Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh.

Welsh compared the robot's gait to his after a night partying, tweeting: "Got a fright there. Thought that was 90's footage of me walking home from Pure or Turnmills after a night on the eckies."

Brown simply tweeted: "WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE."

But despite the video's realism, the robot is in fact a projection of a character taken from another video that has been overlaid onto a real background.

The robot in the clip comes from a demonstration of the Unity video game engine, which uses a Smart Camera system and real-time rendering to produce the effect.

The high-tech rendering uses computer-generated imagery (CGI) and anchoring points to make it appear like the character is present in the real-world scene, even if the camera is moving.

The perceived authenticity of the robot is not just a validation of Unity's technology, but also a reflection of how far the development of humanoid robots has come in recent years.

Pioneering the field is Boston Dynamics, a robotics company from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that is now owned by Japanese giant SoftBank.

Earlier this year, Boston Dynamics demonstrated a robot capable of running over rough terrain and navigating obstacles like logs.

The Atlas robot is also capable of performing backflips and returning itself to a standing position after being pushed over.

It is still not clear what the final applications of this bi-pedal robot will be, though potential uses include robotic assistants and deployment in hazardous environments like war zones or space exploration missions.

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