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Japanese robot dances to iPod music
A Japanese robot twists and rolls to music from an iPod in an intricate dance based on complex mathematics, a technology developers say will enable robots to move about spontaneously instead of following preprogrammed motions. Tokyo-based venture ZMP Inc’s 14-inch long Miuro robot — which looks like a white ball wedged between two halves of an egg — wheels about in time with music from the iPod player that locks into the machine.At a demonstration in Tokyo, the 11-pound Miuro pivoted about on a stage in time to beats of a pop music track played through its speakers. The dance wasn’t preprogrammed, but generated by the robot itself.Scientists involved in the robot’s development believe the technology could lead to robots capable of spontaneous motion. Miuro uses algorithms, or mathematical rules, to analyze music and translate the beats into dances, said ZMP President Hisashi Taniguchi.Unlike older Miuros, which hit stores last August, the prototype is fitted with software based on what scientists call chaotic itinerancy, a mathematical pattern similar to the movements of a bee circling from flower to flower as it collects nectar.That allows the new Miuro to act spontaneously and unpredictably — “just like a child playing,” said Tokyo University researcher Takashi Ikegami, who developed the software.Other improvements will let users set the Miuro like an alarm clock so it wheels into the bedroom and blasts music at a certain time. Future versions of the Miuro will also use built-in sensors to seek out people to play tunes to, Taniguchi said.The $895 original Miuro can also receive wireless signals from a personal computer to play iTunes and other stored digital files. Separately sold options add a camera that beams images to PCs or lets owners control their Miuros by mobile phone. ap

Chaotic itinerancy, temporal segmentation and spatio-temporal combinatorial codes

Journal title: Physica D: Nonlinear Phenomena

Corresponding author: Dr. Osame Kinouchi

Citation information: Vol 237/1 pp 1-5

DOI information: 10.1016/j.physd.2007.06.021

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