State television reported it as a high-tech robot, but the android was in fact only an elaborate costume
A robot hailed by Russian state television as being on the cutting edge of technology has turned out to be a man in a suit.
The Russia-24 TV channel reported that the machine had appeared before youngsters at Proyektoria, a youth robotics forum.
It covered the event as if the mechanism on display, called Boris, were a real robot, saying it was able to sing, walk and dance.
“It’s entirely possible one of these (students) could dedicate himself to robotics, especially as at the forum they have the opportunity to look at the most modern robots,” an anchor said.
Social media platforms have been accused of spreading misinformation, but in this case it was bloggers and social media users who spotted the discrepancy.
Russian website TJournal provided a list of unanswered questions about the supposed android, such as: Why did it have no external sensors? Why did it make “unecessary movements” while dancing?
How could such an advanced robot have been manufactured with no advance publicity?Why did it appear that a person would fit perfectly inside it?
Photographs published later on social media showed the visible neckline of the person inside the suit.
Boris was later revealed to be a £3,000 costume called Alyosha the Robot made by a firm called Show Robots.
The costume, which features a microphone and a tablet display, creates the “near total illusion that before you stands a real robot”, Show Robots says.
The MBKh Media news agency published what it said were images showing the actor inside the suit preparing for the show, and said that the Proyektoria event had made no pretense that the robot was real.