Thursday, May 31, 2007

Japanese robot dances to iPod music

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A new Japanese robot twists and rolls to iPod tunes in an intricate dance based on complex mathematics, a technology developers said will one day enable robots to move about spontaneously instead of following preprogrammed motions.

Equipped with Kenwood Corp. speaker systems, Tokyo-based venture ZMP Inc.'s 14-inch long Miuro robot — which looks like a white ball wedged between two halves of an egg — wheels about in time with music from an iPod portable player, which locks into the machine.

At a demonstration in Tokyo on Thursday, the 11-pound Miuro pivoted about on a stage in time to beats of a pop music track. Its dance wasn't preprogrammed, but generated by the robot itself.

Scientists involved in the robot's development believe the technology could one day lead to robots capable of spontaneous motion. Miuro uses algorithms, or mathematical rules, to analyze music and translate the beats into dances, according to ZMP President Hisashi Taniguchi.

...the new prototype is fitted with software based on what scientists call chaotic itinerancy, a mathematical pattern similar to the movements of a bee circling from flower to flower as it collects nectar.

That allows the new Miuro to act spontaneously and unpredictably — "just like a child playing," said Tokyo University researcher Takashi Ikegami, who developed the software.

The 108,800 yen ($895) original Miuro can also receive wireless signals from a personal computer to play iTunes and other stored digital files.

Source : Yahoo News

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