six legged skiing robot
(Screenshot from China Daily on YouTube)

China to Launch a Robotic Skiing Insect at the Beijing Olympics, Because of Course

In what we can only assume is further evidence that the end is nigh, Chinese engineers have ‘perfected’ a six-legged robot and will unleash its terror on the world at the Winter Olympics.

The robots are coming. No, this is not a farce, nor is it some far-off dystopia. Tesla already has cars that can drive themselves and dance to music. And founder Elon Musk recently proclaimed the brand’s next venture would be a 5½-foot-tall, 125-pound robot named Optimus.

And the humanoid robot Ameca scared the bejesus out of wowed onlookers at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January.

So it is in this spirit of advancing our own obsolescence that Chinese researchers from Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) this month unveiled a six-legged skiing robot.

According to the SJTU site, the unnamed ski-bot (which we will call “the unnamed ski-bot”) tore down beginner and intermediate slopes in Shenyang. And with four legs on skis and two legs holding poles for some reason, it demonstrated “stability control, intelligent perception as well as planning and decision-making.”

China’s Six-Legged Skiing Robot

Newsweek called the footage of the unnamed ski-bot in action “mesmerizing.” At the very least, those wary of an impending robot uprising might see the video and find it somewhat reassuring.

Despite its purported agency and agility, the six-legged bot still appears to benefit from some cautious skiers politely making way as it zig-zags down the bunny hill.

But while it may not shred like Vonn on its own, the inventors also noted the unnamed ski-bot can pair with a human user via remote, allowing it to ski through crowds and, “adds the fun of skiing with a robot.”

And though that’s not something anyone’s ever actually thought before, we may take comfort knowing that this technological marvel purports to see benefits for future ski safety: “The robot will execute routine tasks, including patrol and rescue in an icy and snowy environment.”

But wait, there’s more! According to The Science Times, this unnamed ski-bot will make its debut on the world stage at the Winter Olympics in Beijing in February. Perhaps no accident, its inventors said they foresee this prototype “blaz[ing] a new electronics-machine-sports model.”

And really, what better way to celebrate the Olympics — mankind’s great exhibition of physical prowess and worldwide coming-together — than with a semi-autonomous insectoid machine that promises to usher in a future of Robot Games?

Adam Ruggiero
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Adam Ruggiero is the editor-in-chief of GearJunkie and a fan of virtually all sports and activities. From biking, running, and (not enough) surfing, to ball sports, camping, and cattle farming — if it's outside, it's worth doing. Adam graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BA in journalism. Likes: unique beer, dogs, stories. Like nots: neckties, escalators, manicured lawns.