Japanese robots pop, lock, and drop into the future

Sure, it can dance, but it can't feel love: A dancing robot, but not actually the Promet.    (photo by Thomas Hawk on
Sure, it can dance, but it can't feel love: A dancing robot, but not actually the Promet. (photo by Thomas Hawk on
Taking a major stride in the international race to create the perfect DDR machine, Scientists at Tokyo University have taught a robot to dance. Or, as some would say, programmed a robot to dance. Either way, the HRP-2 robot, or Promet, now knows how to dance. Using video-capturing techniques to record human dance movements, the scientist have taught Promet the Aizu Bandaisan, a Japanese folk dance.

This may seem fantastic to some, but the rest of us know that dancing robots are nothing new.

The achievement here isn’t making a robot that can think (Promet can dance, but he won’t be doing do your calc homework), but making one that can mimic human movement so well. As this sort of technology advances, we can probably expect to see robots being taught to do a lot more than dancing. The military, in particular, has expressed considerable interest in robot education (as it were). Not so much in teaching them how to dance, though, more in teaching them how to rescue some soldiers and kill other soldiers. The US military is developing a remote controlled “Battlefield Extraction-Assist Robot,” or “BEAR” for rescuing wounded soldiers from dangerous areas, and last year Samsung created a robot for the South Korean military capable of shooting targets up to 500 meters away. And Skynet is developing robots that can look and act just like Californian governors.

For now, though, I guess it’s pretty funny just to see robots dancing.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I would much rather have a robot that can do my laundry than dance!!

posted on Mon, 08/13/2007 - 10:05am
JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

See that's where you and I are different.
My mom can do my laundry for me, but I'd prefer the dancing be left to robots.

posted on Mon, 08/13/2007 - 10:40am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I think one that did both would be best! But if I had to chose some one to do the laundry would be better that way I can have more time for dancing.

posted on Mon, 08/13/2007 - 10:56am
Joe's picture
Joe says:

Oh, this makes me think of the ED-209 from Robocop. That thing gave me serious nightmares for weeks after I saw that movie. The thought that it is approaching a reality does not thrill me. (Oh, and don't watch movies that you thought ruled that are 20 years old. It destroys the fond memory and replaces it with a "boy does that look fake" realization.)

posted on Mon, 08/13/2007 - 4:43pm

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