Murata Manufacturing Co. unveiled a group of “next-generation” robots Thursday that are shaped like miniature cheerleaders, can communicate with one another and move in a swarm.
The Kyoto-based manufacturer of electronics components created 10 identical robots called Murata Cheerleaders, each of which stands 36 cm high and weighs 1.5 kg.
Koichi Yoshikawa, senior manager of corporate communications at the company, said the “cute-looking” creations are “next-generation robots packed with Murata’s various technologies. They will cheer up and make people around the world smile.”
Speaking at Murata’s Tokyo office, Yoshikawa said three main technologies working together make the robots special — stability and synchronization, as well as sensing and communication.
The cheerleading robots roll around on spheres. Murata said they are able to balance themselves to stay upright using three gyroscope sensors.
Murata held a demonstration to show how the robots can be controlled as a group and make synchronized movements, such as positioning themselves into shapes and symbols, using a technology developed in collaboration with the Kyoto University lab headed by professor Fumitoshi Matsuno.
The robots don’t bump into each other while rolling around because they recognize each other’s positions using sensor and communication technologies like ultrasonic microphones and infrared sensors, Yoshikawa said.
The firm said it has no plans to sell the robots, but wants to showcase what it can do with its robotic technologies.
Murata said it started working on the project about two years ago and decided to unveil it now because the company is marking its 70th anniversary this year, and wants to the robots to perform at the upcoming electronics trade show known as CEATEC, which will run from Oct. 7 to Oct. 11.
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