Meet Sparkles, otherwise known as Boston Dynamics' Spot in a big blue fluffy dog suit

Boston Dynamics' Spot has been around for a while now, and in that time we've seen the four-legged robot dance to music, be confused by doors, and inspire various levels of existential dread in regards to the inevitable robot uprising to come.

This week, as part of "International Dance Day" (I missed that one, didn't you?), the company has shown off the robot performing some new choreography, only this time joined by a mysterious partner. It's big, it's furry and it's blue, and it's...oh fine, it's another Spot clad in a big blue dog suit.

Sparkles is the name, and it's a custom costume "designed just for Spot, to explore the intersections of robotics, art, and entertainment". Or in this case, an excuse to play dress up with a robot that usually looks like something you might see in games like Atomic Heart attempting to rend you limb from limb.

Alright, it's cute, I'll give you that. And while the Sparkles suit is definitely an attempt to put a friendlier face on a mechanical marvel, the company has also released a blog post detailing how its "Choreographer" software allows non-technical users to create dances without being intimately familiar with how the exact systems contained in Spot work.

The software makes use of a timeline feature that will be somewhat familiar to anyone who's done a bit of audio or video editing, and reduces the complexities of advanced movement down to placeable "blocks", that can be added in sequence to create a complicated-looking routine.

Boston Dynamics also has plans to release an animation API in an upcoming version of the software that allows users to create custom sequences of movements using 3D animation tools and integrate them into Choreographer scripts, so expect to see many more videos of Spot dancing the Fandango, although what cuddly suit it'll be clad in next time remains to be seen.

Still, it's infinitely preferable to dressing up Boston Dynamics' latest creation, the more than slightly terrifying new Atlas bot. I don't care if you put it in a suit and tie and make it do Fred Astaire's routine from Singin' in the Rain. It's still a horror movie creation, and no sequence of complicated dance moves or costuming can convince me otherwise.

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Andy Edser
Hardware Writer

Andy built his first gaming PC at the tender age of 12, when IDE cables were a thing and high resolution wasn't. After spending over 15 years in the production industry overseeing a variety of live and recorded projects, he started writing his own PC hardware blog for a year in the hope that people might send him things. Sometimes they did.

Now working as a hardware writer for PC Gamer, Andy can be found quietly muttering to himself and drawing diagrams with his hands in thin air. It's best to leave him to it.