Navy robot dances Gangnam Style

Don’t expect the best leg-work in the world: like your dad after a few beers, Charli doesn’t risk lifting his feet too far from the dance floor.

But the navy robot has all the other moves of PSY’s viral Gangnam Style down pretty pat, from the horse riding to the lasso twirl.

The original video has been watched around half a billion times, and the various spoofs and tributes out there on the web more than double that viewing figure. So it’s hardly surprising that the robotics engineers at Virginia Tech wanted to get in on the act.

The dance is just a bit of downtime for Charli-2, developed as a research platform to study bipedal walking and autonomous behaviors for humanoid robots.

His other hobbies include soccer: he’s a repeat winner in the autonomous robot soccer competition, RoboCup, in the Adult size league.

His day job is to be fighting fires on board warships, in an incarnation known as the  Autonomous Shipboard Humanoid, or ASH. His main skill is his ability to orient himself and stay upright, thanks to sensors and sophisticated software.

He hasn’t yet been tested in a smoky atmosphere, apparently: have they banned cigarettes in Korean nightclubs yet? Just a thought.