Creepy Robot Cheerleaders Could Reduce the Number of Traffic Accidents
The new robot cheerleaders from Murata balance on metal balls to perform synchronized dance routines, and are disturbing on several levels.
The robots, which are called "the Murata cheerleader and her nine sisters," have light-up cheeks, pom-poms for hands, black bob hairstyles, and gyroscopic sensors that keep them upright on their metal balls. In order to perform their pre-programmed choreography, the cheerleaders' sensors interact with each other in order to approximate the other robots' relative physical positions. If any one robot stumbles or falls, its sensor can recalculate in order to rejoin the routine and the others' sensors tell them to steer clear. Watch them in action below:
[Credit: Murata Channel]
Holy uncanny valley. They should be cute, but they're squarely in the doll-that-wants-to-kill-you category, not least as a result of their terrible glowing eyes:
And if you're not convinced that these are creepy little things, watch the Vine that speeds up their cheerful motions:
Fortunately, these cheerleaders are not designed to be the main attraction. Murata is not preparing them for commercial distribution, but rather using them as easily publicized mascots for their advanced sensors. Murata believes that the bots themselves could be used for search-and-rescue missions; they could not only coordinate to perform wide searches, but if one of the robots found a person in need of rescue, then the synchronized team of robots could conglomerate to become a larger robot that could be of assistance. Furthermore, Murata claims that the sensors that allow the cheerleaders to have awareness of their own and others' positions could be used in self-driving cars, and even in current traffic networks in order to reduce the number of car accidents.
Murata Senior Vice President Yuichi Kojima said, "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."