This Robot Cheerleader Wants to Help End Car Accidents
Japanese electronics company Murata Manufacturing has created a cheerleading robot that is a bigger deal for the tech world than it is for the toy world. When we first saw these bots, we thought, “Oh, cute toy.” But don’t let their pom-pom-occupied hands fool you; these little cheerleaders are smarter than they look.
Believe it or not, these bots have larger aspirations than entertaining nerds (um, ourselves included) everywhere. They were created to show new capabilities of robotic electronics. These peppy bots roll around on balls that allow them to balance with gyro sensors; think high-tech Weeble Wobbles. Like any good cheerleader, the bots can move in unison to perform impressive choreography.
The anti-collision technology is fancy stuff. It uses ultrasonic microphones and infrared sensors to broadcast each cheerleader’s position via wi-fi. Then through a central control system, directions are given to the bots based on their position so that they can dance together… without crashing. Each robot is about the height of a two-liter bottle and moves at about 12 inches per second within a 13-square-foot area.
If we take this technology beyond the bots, Murata senior vice president Yuichi Kojima says, it can be used in automotive collision-avoidance systems to go beyond back-up cameras and blind spot alerts to explore new autonomous driving controls. Building on this technology, we can eliminate some driver error without going full Google car.
With this step forward, Murata wants to gain a reputation for creating whole solutions instead of just cool parts (for the likes of Apple). The company wrote, “We hope that our synchronised routines bring smiles to people’s faces everywhere and inspire the innovation of the world to tackle new challenges. We’re cheering for you!”
We can’t wait to see what Murata does next.
Got any clever ideas for the robot cheerleaders’ technology? Let us know in the comments!
(h/t Wall Street Journal)