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What do you get when you combine a family-friendly holiday, robotics, and one of the most iconic sex jams of our time? Well, we’re so glad you asked—and you will be too.
We spoke to Eliot Phillips, creator of the world’s sexiest six-legged Christmas tree, about what went into the project, which we’ve now looped on YouTube approximately 37 times.
Phillips is an engineer at Two Bit Circus, an experiential entertainment company in Los Angeles, so the dancing robot hack was pretty much square in his wheelhouse.
After deciding he wanted a six-legged Christmas tree robot that could bust a move, Phillips started hexapod shopping.
“I found the Hexy for $250. [It] was an open source Kickstarter campaign a couple years ago. I didn’t want to invest too much because it is a bit of a one off joke but it was an excuse to get a hexapod (the common name for this kind of six legged robot).”
“I actually asked a local hacker friend @arkorobotics about hexapod robots to get his input and he told me he had a Hexy that he’d unearth for me to use.” The borrowed hexapod was missing a few parts, but since Hexy is open source, Phillips was able to download the design of the missing components and laser cut his own replacements.
After securing the hexapod, he then scored the tree for less than $10 on Amazon (“what [Amazon] Prime one-click is built for”), repurposed a set of fairy lights from a project by a coworker, and the rest is history. “We were already well stocked with googly eyes. It just took an afternoon to cut new parts, assemble, and get it dancing.”
Phillips says his masterpiece was inspired by hexapod dance competitions on YouTube (a thing, apparently) and the song choice, Ginuwine’s “Pony,” is an ode to the “Dancing alone to ‘Pony'” meme, which has its roots in a Tumblr of the same name that went viral in 2010. A Tumblr aficionado, Phillips actually runs his own meta-blog that collects “tightly curated” Tumblrs like the Ginuwine meme.
As for follow-up projects, he notes that a life size remix of the dancing “Pony” tree, though terrifying, isn’t out of the question. “We have a powered wheelchair platform converted to radio control which my coworker had been joking about putting a full sized tree on. It would move scary fast.”
For now, we’re perfectly happy with the 17 seconds of unfettered bliss that is a tiny Googly-eyed hexapod tapping its paws along to Ginuwine’s obscene sonic masterpiece. Still, Phillips might change one thing: “I wish I had more time to program some sexy robot pelvic thrusting.”
If only there were more hours in the day.
Taylor Hatmaker has reported on the tech industry for nearly a decade, covering privacy and government. Most recently, she was the Debug editor of the Daily Dot. Prior to that, she was a staff writer and deputy editor at ReadWrite, a tech and business reporter for Yahoo News, and the senior editor of Tecca. Her editorial interests include censorship, digital activism, LGBTQ issues, and futurist consumer tech.