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Voice-Command Robots Do Push-ups, Headstands for Putin

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Update: The Znak news website reported Thursday that the robots presented to President Putin appeared to be identical to models built by South Korea's Robotis Biolid company and sold on eBay and Amazon for around $1000. Russian state media reported the robots were Russian-built.

President Vladimir Putin got to witness one of Russia’s newest technological innovations during his visit to St. Petersburg on Tuesday: athletic robots.

Putin’s busy schedule took him to a shipyard where he unveiled the world’s longest nuclear submarine capable of carrying thermonuclear underwater drones; to a geographical society where he examined plans to create a massive park zone; and to the Suvorov Military Academy. The cadets showed off their campus to Putin, which included an exhibition chess game and other extracurricular activities.

Footage from the academy showed cadets instructing two voice-command robots to do push-ups and headstands.

The pair of androids performed three push-ups as directed.

However, one of them appeared to malfunction when it stalled and fell after the cadet told it to do a headstand.

“It’s not the software’s fault, but the robots,” an unnamed IT instructor said of the mishap to St. Petersburg’s fontanka.ru news website. “The command came too late.”

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