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They may not be able to leap to great heights or perform summersaults like their human counterparts, but the Murata cheerleading robots that made their debut in Japan on Thursday, September 25th, were pretty impressive with the synchronized routine they showcased, while perched over wobbly balls.
While the ten robotic girls who wore matching red outfits, sported identical bob hairstyles and carried illuminated pom poms were certainly cute and entertaining to watch, what was stunning was the technology built into their diminutive, 10-inch tall bodies.
Created by researchers from Kyoto University and electronics company, Murata Manufacturing, each robot cheerleader was fitted with three gyro sensors - similar to the ones used for stability control in vehicles. This helped the cheerleaders lean in different directions and wave their pom-pom bearing arms, without toppling over.
To ensure that the robots stayed synchronized during their routine, each had four infrared sensors and five ultrasonic microphones. Data from the sensors was shared with a control center so that their positions could be monitored at all times. The infrared signals allowed the cheerleaders to sense each other's location and avoid collision! And, they each had a battery life of an hour which meant they could keep going and going and . . .
Murata manufacturing is of course not planning to mass produce the cheerleaders. They created the robots to showcase the technology that could help stabilize cars on slippery or damaged roads. However, their main reason was to try interest kids to the field of engineering, by demonstrating how fun it can be.
Resources: ndtc.com, cnet.com