The latest news about robots, robotics
Posted: Sep 29, 2014
Robot cheerleaders dance in synchronization while balancing on balls (w/video)
(Nanowerk News) Murata Manufacturing Co., Ltd., a global leader in advanced electronic components and solutions, today unveiled its latest innovation, the Murata Cheerleaders, a team of small robots that uses the latest sensing and communication technologies, as well as advanced group control technology to achieve perfect stability and flawless synchronized dancing.
Unlike their predecessors bicycle-riding MURATA BOY and unicycle-riding MURATA GIRL, the Murata Cheerleaders do not get around on wheels but instead on a ball, atop of which they remain balanced as the ball rolls along. They can move swiftly in any direction and remain upright using three advanced gyro sensors, which incorporate inverted-pendulum control technology, to detect tilt angles. Similar gyro sensors are commonly used in digital cameras, car navigation systems, and more recently, the electronic stability control (ESC) systems that prevent cars from skidding.
The Murata Cheerleaders are capable of high-precision routines thanks to real-time position measurement technology. Each robot is equipped with four infrared sensors and five ultrasonic microphones to detect surrounding objects, even in the dark. Based on the differing speeds of sound and light waves, this system is capable of determining the relative positions of the robots within a 16m2 space.
In collaboration with researchers from Matsuno Lab at Kyoto University, Murata has also developed an advanced group control technology that allows 10 robots to perform in synchronization without colliding. Each robot’s location is communicated via a wireless communication network and controlled through a specially developed program. This same technology may someday be used to realize safer and more efficient vehicle and transportation systems.
“The Murata Cheerleaders showcase the ability of electronics to enrich our lives,” says Yuichi Kojima, Senior Vice President and Deputy Director of Murata’s Technology & Business Development Unit. “We believe that the wireless communication of sensor data could become a core infrastructure for the advanced integration of people and objects in smart societies.”
“We developed the Murata Cheerleaders to demonstrate our electronics technologies,” says Koichi Yoshikawa, Senior Manager of Corporate Communications, who played a key role in developing the Murata Cheerleaders, as well as MURATA BOY and MURATA GIRL. “Our hope is that the Murata Cheerleaders will inspire new discoveries by young innovators and put smiles on the faces of people worldwide.”
The Murata Cheerleaders are Murata’s fourth generation of robots, following the first MURATA BOY in 1991, the second MURATA BOY in 2005, and MURATA GIRL in 2008. The Murata Cheerleaders will be showcased at the upcoming CEATEC 2014 scheduled from October 7 to 11 in Tokyo.