A group of robots dancing in a synchronised way featuring the latest advances in group control technology has been developed by Japanese electronics company Murata.
Having previously gained attention with their bike-riding Murata Boy and Murata Girl robots, the company has taken the technology another step further, fitting the approximately 30cm-tall electronic dancers 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, the system can accurately determine the relative positions of the robots within a 16 square metre space in real time, allowing the group to perform highly sophisticated routines.
“We developed the Murata Cheerleaders to demonstrate our electronics technologies,” said Koichi Yoshikawa, senior manager of Corporate Communications at Murata. “Our hope is that the Murata Cheerleaders will inspire new discoveries by young innovators and put smiles on the faces of people worldwide.”
The technology, developed in collaboration with researchers from Matsuno Lab at Kyoto University, allows up to ten robots to dance in a synchronised manner without bumping into each other. Each robot’s location is communicated via a wireless network and controlled through a specially developed program. The researchers believe the technology could one day form a basis for future vehicle collision avoidance systems.
“The Murata Cheerleaders showcase the ability of electronics to enrich our lives,” said 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.”
Unlike the earlier Murata Girl and Boy, the Cheerleaders move using a ball instead of wheels. This solution allows them to move swiftly in any direction and remain upright using three advanced gyro sensors incorporating 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.
Watch Murata Cheerleaders performing in the video below: