Recently, a very human-like robot appeared on Russian screens, drawing the eye of many sci-fi fans and people who have little interest in all things robotic. TV channel “Russia 24” ran a segment on a robotics forum “Proyektoria technology forum” and focused on one particular subject – a human-sized robot. Video footage shows the machine named “Boris” performing various tasks, from simple movements to advanced maneuvers, like replicating people around his dancing. It also quickly responds to the questions asked by the host, as well as shows advanced cognitive functions and formulation of logical responses.

It became quite an attraction during the forum as well, drawing crowds of people who snapped pictures and took selfies with it. And while it astonished the audience attending the event, people on the internet quickly grew suspicious. Many were wondering how did Russia take such a leap in robotics without any intermediate steps recorded. Others pointed out that robots that we’ve seen so far don’t move as fluidly and gracefully as “Boris” did.

The more suspicious people grew the more evidence they dug up. And while at first you could’ve argued that something like movements could be improved to perfection, there was no room for doubt when someone pointed out that a human neck was peeking out between the robot’s body and the flickering head.

Image credits: VestiYaroslavl

As all hopes for an advanced robot diminished and online ridicule and memes started piling up, people eventually came across an Instagram page of a man who dresses up as a robot for a living and recognized the costume.

Image credits: gusaklab

Turns out, “Boris” from the forum is actually a man dressed in a costume called “Robot Alyosha” made by Show Robots who specialize in creating realistic robot costumes for dedicated fans of all things futuristic.

Image credits: Show Robots

Show Robots’ costumes are made in such a way that a person wearing them, while moving as they normally do, appear to have robot-like movements. Their site details the mechanics by stating that “visually it seems that [their] robot, walks slightly crouched, but in fact, the animator walks straight inside and feels quite comfortable”. That explains why “Boris” was moving the way he did, fluidly, like a person, yet with a robot-like characteristic.

Image credits: gusaklab

The suit costs around $4000, weighs 10kg and has a built-in voice changer, speakers, electric coolers and more. While a pretty costly purchase, it certainly seems cheaper than constructing an actual robot with artificial intelligence, right?

Image credits: Show Robots

After the ridicule and backlash they received online, the represenatives of the forum made a statement declaring that they never specifically said that “Boris” was an actual robot. It is unclear why “Russia 24” portrayed “Boris” as a robot, but it seems like people are not easy to fool.

Here’s what people had to say about the whole situation