Japanese company Murata Manufacturing unveiled a group of “next generation” robots that are shaped like miniature cheerleaders. They can communicate with one another and move in a swarm.
The Kyoto-based manufacturer of electronics components created 10 identical robots called Murata Cheerleaders, each of which stands 36 cm high and weighs 1.5 kg. Senior manager of corporate communications, Koichi Yoshikawa said that these cute looking robots are “next generation robots packed with Murata’s various technologies. They will cheer up and make people around the world smile”. Yoshikawa said three main technologies are involved in the development of these robots. Stability and synchronization, sensing, and communication all work together to make these robots special.
Murata’s cheerleading robots roll around on spheres. They are able to balance themselves to stay upright using three gyroscope sensors. The company demonstrated how the robots can be controlled as a group and make synchronized movements, such as positioning themselves into shapes and symbols, using a technology developed in collaboration with the Kyoto University lab headed by professor Fumitoshi Matsuno. The robots don’t bump into each other while rolling around because they recognize each other’s positions using sensors and communication technologies. Each robot is fitted with four infrared sensors and five ultrasonic microphones that work in daylight or darkness and can map out a 16 square meter area and the position of other cheerleaders within it.
The company has no plan to sell the robots. They just wanted to showcase what can be created using robotic technology. The company is also marking its 70th anninversary this year and the cheerleading robots will perform at the electronics trade show CEATEC which will take place from Oct 7th till the 11th. There is a clear potential for this type of technology in cars and motorbike to help communicate with each other to avoid collisions, an area where manufacturers are already investing heavily and much wide scale research and testing is already being carried out.