Russian Promobot robot saves a girl from being crushed

Astonishing moment a ROBOT ‘saves a girl from being crushed’: Manufacturers claim machine moved forward and raised its arm to stop shelves toppling onto child ‘despite NOT being programmed to do that’

  • Promobot, a Russian creation, is supposed to be capable of ‘learning’ for itself
  • Video captured it appearing to save a girl climbing on shelves at a university
  • Robot rolls forward and raises its arm to stop the shelves from toppling on her
  • But robot’s previous antics, including escape attempts, have been branded fake

This is the moment the makers of a Russian robot claim it saved a girl from being crushed – but is everything as it seems?

Footage from Perm Polytechnic University, in central Russia, shows Promobot – a ‘self-teaching’ robot – stopping a set of shelves from falling on a little girl after she tried to climb on them.

Oleg Kivokurtsev, one of the creators of the robot, claims his machine carried out the manoeuvre all by itself – but his team have been accused of fakery in the past.

There have been multiple bizarre incidents involving his creation – including two apparent escape attempts from its testing facility, and another time it started spouting profound answers to a question.

While nobody has conclusively disproved the claims, prominent tech websites including Atlas Obscura and BGR have both poured cold water on the Promobot, while many have simply ignored it.

Among the red herrings identified is the fact that the news all appears to be coming from the creators themselves, rather than outside sources.

Inconsistencies in the videos and a sense of the footage being ‘too good to be true’ all contribute to the air of suspicion, the websites said.

In the latest video, Promobot can be seen sitting in a lobby area of the university on an open day as visitors mill about.

Then a girl, apparently unaccompanied by an adult, runs over and starts climbing up a set of shelves stacked with boxes.

As she climbs the robot rolls forward, raising an arm which stops the selves from falling over just as they begin toppling.

Suspicious details in this video include the fact that a safety rope is already moved out of the way before the girl enters the frame, allowing her to run straight over to the dangerous shelves.

Second, the shelves are standing alone in a corridor, and do not appear to be part of any larger storage space, which seems to be unnatural.

From the way the boxes fall, it also appears as if they are empty – raising the question of why sealed, empty boxes would be stored anywhere at all.

When the boxes fall, multiple people in the background do not react to the noise, failing to even turn their heads at the sound or to check if the girl is OK.

Lastly, the girl herself does not appear even slightly alarmed after the incident – pausing for only a moment before wandering away, presumably to join a parent we never seen in the frame.

Oleg Kivokurtsev, manager of robotics company ‘Promobot’ said: ‘We were preparing to the graduation ceremony which should have been opened by our robot.

We planed he would congratulate the graduate students and remind them that future is for robots.’

The robot’s owner said the girl’s saviour was a ‘pure coincidence’ as it is equipped with a ‘mirror mode’ which enables it to emulate human action.

The mode apparently turned on and caused the robot to raise its arm and approach the girl in the nick of time.

Mr Kivokurtsev added: ‘The little girl was playing around and pulled the metal shelve, the robot prevented her from getting hurt. The robot is not programmed that way.’

It is unclear what prompted the mirror mode to switch itself on. The girl was not identified.

In June last year a widely shared video of Promobot, which is designed to be a customer service robot for use in shops and shopping malls, apparently escaping from its testing site.

Its creators claimed they had just finished teaching it to avoid obstacles, before leaving it in a yard next to an open door.

The unintended consequence was that it rolled out of the door and into traffic, before eventually running out of battery.

Then, in August, another video was released showing the robot sitting in a room with its developers as they watched the Rio Olympics, before commenting that the Sochi Winter Olympics were better.

Suddenly the robot springs to live, giving a lengthy and profound answer that spooks the viewers into turning it off.

Source: Daily Mail