Oct 7, 2014 6:09 AM

Funky robots display Japan's latest technologies

The Associated Press

TOKYO (AP) A smartphone-controlled dinosaur, synchronized cheerleaders and a ping pong-playing spider are some of the robot technology showcased at the CEATEC Japan electronics exhibition.

Exhibitors used such attention-grabbing gadgets to showcase their technology and stand out at the event that started Tuesday. Sadly for gadget lovers, the robots aren't for sale.



TE Connectivity's dinosaur robot, the TE Saurus, lets users experience a close encounter with a 2.1-meter-tall (6-foot-11) reptile without going back in time.

A smartphone application can make the dinosaur walk or jump. A shake of the smartphone prompts the TE Saurus to bark. TE Saurus also can play trivia games as users answer questions through the app.



Despite its intimidating spider-like resemblance, OMRON Corp.'s three-legged robot is a relaxed ping pong playmate. It watches its human opponent to predict the ball's path. Still, the robot takes it easy on opponents by missing a few hits here and there. With five motors to control paddle movement, it is programmed to serve the ball in a way that makes it easy for the player to return.

"This ping pong robot is really a demonstration of how a robot can interact with a person and react in an appropriate manner," says Takuya Tsuyuguchi, an Omron manager. "We envision this robot perhaps being used in a factory or production line and having a role in which it would have to interact with a worker to do or build something. This would involve the robot understanding the needs of its human counterpart and behaving appropriately."



They are 36 centimeters (14 inches) tall but their choreography is flawless. Murata Manufacturing, a leading electronic component manufacturer, presents a group of 10 robot cheerleaders with color-changing pom-pons that use gyroscopic sensors to roll on spherical bases in unison without losing their balance.

"These robots use our proprietary balancing technology combined with technology that prevents, in real time, the robots from clashing together," said Tomoyuki Mori, a Murata engineer. "It also uses technology that coordinates the movement of all the robots together in a synchronized manner."


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