August 10, 2007

Robots to be folk dance historians

When they build a dancebot that can get drunk enough to get out on the dance floor — those Japanese scientist will have a market in Australia.

clipped from

A HUMAN-SIZED robot shows off its newly learned dance steps. Scientists in Japan who taught the robot to imitate the steps of a dancer say it could be used to record the movements of traditional dances being lost as their performers die off.

To demonstrate the prancing dancebot's prowess the team programmed the 1.5 metre tall, 58 kilogram machine to imitate the graceful sways and whirls of the aizu bandaisan, a Japanese folk routine. To prove its accuracy, the robot can perform alongside a human dancer. And despite its Terminator appearance, the robot is remarkably lifelike.

Shin'ichiro Nakaoka and his colleagues at Tokyo University taught the dancebot - named HRP-2 or Promet - using video capture techniques to record human dance movements. The New Scientist said these were converted into a sequence of robotic limb movements.

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I found a dancebot, from my Video Bar to the left and up, that pulls exactly the same dance moves as me, it's eerie.

How cool is that? You can see it planning its next move. I'll bet this groover pulls the chicks.

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