Robotic Firm Boston Dynamic working with the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) made a splash with a demonstration video of a highly functioning quadrupedal robot called LS3 (Legged Squad Support System).
When many internet fiends in Japan laid eyes on it they couldn’t help but think of Homo, a parody of girls into homoerotic art (fujoshi). It was developed on Twitter from ASCII art (┌（┌＾o＾）┐ﾎﾓｫ). Since then it has become something of a subculture phenomenon spawning various merchandise.
A few months later, has the US military improved LS3 enough to quell the giggling of otaku everywhere? Let’s see.
First here’s an animated gif of Homo.
And here’s the original video of LS3. You shouldn’t have to watch the whole thing to get the point.
At this time it had a jerky and wobbly sort of movement that reminded many of Homo.
However, the latest demo video released show a marked improvement in LS3’s motion and intelligence. It can respond to vocal commands and can maneuver itself through rough terrain like forests.
As you can see in the video, when comedian David Cross begins to lead the robot through the forest it definitely moves much more gracefully than before.
Regardless, Japanese net users were unmoved with comments like “still creepy.”
Then, at around the 2:10 mark something magical happens. While crossing a muddy stream LS3 loses its footing and begins to scramble about. Then it tumbles down a hill.
The whole event is only a moment but my heart was pounding. I jumped from my chair and yelled “Come on Seabiscuit… I mean LS3!”
I won’t ruin the ending but it made me see the robot in a new light. Japanese netizens also found their hearts grow ten sizes larger with comments like “Cuuute…and tough” and “I want one.”
So it looks like mission accomplished for Boston Dynamics and DARPA. Their military transport machine has taught us to love again. And Godspeed LS3, wherever you may be!