Robonihilationwire News - Robot Dances With Rhythm


Robot dances with rhythm

Posted: 22 Mar 2007 05:17 PM CDT

David Pescovitz: Researchers have taught this robot how to dance. Programmed by Marek Michalowski of Carnegie Mellon University and Hideki Kozima of Japan's National Institute of Communications Technology, the robot, named "Keepon," extracts extract the pulse of rhythm from music and move its silicone body in time. According to Michalowski, giving machines sense of rhythm could aid in human-robot interaction. Of course, Keepon is damn entertaining too. From New Scientist:

"Rhythm and synchrony are the foundations of social interactions," he told New Scientist. "So I think that for us to comfortably interact with a robot, it needs to be capable of that....
To get the robot to dance, the team then wrote software that converts the beat detected by Max/MSP into a motion. It varies Keepon's movements and changes the number of movements per beat to keep things interesting. The researchers also attached external cameras to Keepon and wrote software that picks out regular visual movements.

Michalowski's team displayed the Keepon at the annual open house of NICT in Japan, where over 200 children aged from 2 years old to their mid-teens were encouraged to dance with it while songs were played. Many children choose not to dance, perhaps because they were embarrassed, Michalowski says. However, the team noticed that children were more likely to dance if the robot was itself moving in time to music, rather than if it was moving randomly.

This tells us there is something happening here," says Michalowski. "The robot's rhythmic ability is having some effect on the interaction.

Link to New Scientist article (with videos!), Link to Michalowski's home page (Thanks, Matt Sparkes!)

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