Have you seen this man?
He's become known around the Internet as the guy who has a, uh, complicated relationship with Boston Dynamics' amazing next-gen Atlas robot (8 million YouTube views and counting). Around the office, we just call him Hockey Stick Guy. But who is he?
We've got a guess, but so far, Google has neither confirmed nor denied.
Yesterday, I emailed Google’s press office to see if I could interview the mystery man. Just before noon today, Google responded: "Unfortunately we are not doing any interviews at this time, but thanks for reaching out."
Our guess is that the robot handler is Boston Dynamics’ VP of controls and autonomy, Kevin Blankespoor. He resembles the man in the video, and on his LinkedIn page, he writes that he’s the "lead controls and autonomy engineer for humanoid robots" (and lists Atlas as one of his projects). We emailed him for comment, and he hasn't responded so far. Google has also not responded to an email asking if Blankespoor is the man in the video.
But we're not the only ones who think Blankespoor may be Hockey Stick Guy.
After Blankespoor posted the new Atlas video on his LinkedIn, one commenter wrote: “you treated that robot very bad on the video haha. Great job. Amazing stuff.”
If anything, the main takeaway is that Blankespoor has helped make a robotic wonder that many people are getting behind. That's quite the opposite of how people generally respond to seeing highly maneuverable robots.