Russia's Latest 'hi-tech' Robot Is Just a Man in a Suit

MBKh Media, Mikhail Khodorkovsky's opposition news agency showed what it says is the man in the suit, sans robot head, ahead of the performance.

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 "robot" called Boris was displayed at an annual youth forum that was the brainchild of President Putin in Yaroslavl, northeast of Moscow.

A robot shown off on Russian TV stunned an audience of schoolchildren with abilities including dancing, walking, talking and solving maths problems.

After the report was ridiculed online, state television returned to the story on Thursday, with the correspondent claiming it was understood all along that Boris was a man in a plastic suit - albeit a good one.

Russian website TJournal asked how such an advanced robot had been developed so quickly with no studies being published, why it appeared to have no external sensors, and why it was the flawless size for a human to fit inside. On the website "Robot Show", the outfit is available for purchase at 250,000 rubles ($3,760).

As the questions mounted, it emerged that Boris was a £3000 costume made by the company Show Robots created to give the "near total illusion that before you stands a real robot", equipped with microphone and tablet display.

'It's entirely possible one of these [students] could dedicate himself to robotics.

As the "machine" danced on stage, a presenter had said: "At the forum there's the opportunity to see state-of-the-art robots".

After the website TJournal noticed the mistake, the network deleted the report from its YouTube channel.

  • Jacqueline Ellis