Scientists from the University of Tokyo have built a robot that can imitate the moves of a human dancer.
The HRP-2 bipedal robot, created by Shin’ichiro Nakaoka and colleagues from the University, uses motion capture technology to 'watch' a human dancer so that it can reproduce the movements moments later.
The main problem the researchers had to overcome was programming the robot to perform complex steps without losing its balance.
However, the world is unlikely to witness a troupe of them performing Swan Lake any time soon. HRP-2 can perform sequenced steps but cannot execute ballet movements like the batterie, where the dancer beats its legs together while airborne.
So far, the robot has been demonstrated imitating the movements of Aizu-Bandaisan, a Japanese folk-dance that comprises a series of steps augmented by largely upper-body movements.
The researchers published programming details for the robot in the International Journal of Robotics Research, based on techniques originally outlined in 2003.
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