Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. 24/7 Space News .

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

Shall We Dance? Robots Offer A Hand On The Ballroom Floor

Takahiro Takeda, postgraduate student of Japan's Tohoku Univ. dances with Partner Ballroom Dance Robot (PBDR) at a factory of Nomura Unison robotic venture company in Chino city, 200-km west of Toyko 04 June 2005. The prototype dance partner robot, developped by Japan's Tohoku Univ Professor Kazuhiro Kosuge, enables them to move in all directions with three special wheels by predicting how its partner will mobe with a sensor. The robot will be displayed at the World Expo Aichi 2005 from 09 June. AFP PHOTO by Yoshikazu Tsuno.
Chino, Japan (AFP) Jun 05, 2005
Ballroom dancing is no longer just for the romantic. Japanese researchers have developed a robot capable of taking to the floor by predicting how its human partner will move.

The Partner Ballroom Dance Robot -- or PBDR in robot talk -- has a woman's face, a sensor around its waist and can move in all directions on its three wheels hidden underneath an evening gown.

As its partner takes steps, the robot analyzes his movements and figures out how to accompany him with its shoulders, elbows, waist and neck.

But for those who would be caught up in the moment, PBDR has clear robotic traits. It comes in two colors -- shiny blue and bright red -- pointy ears like Mickey Mouse and, despite its classic attire, a plastic exterior.

The robot is 165 centimeters (five feet, six inches) tall and weighs 100 kilograms (220 pounds), with a male version under development.

The robot was unveiled last week in Chino in central Nagano province after six years of research by a team led by Kazuhiro Kosuge, professor of the Department of Bioengineering and Robotics at state-run Tohoku University.

He acknowledged the robot did not yet have movements as sharp or as wide to match the dancing steps of humans. But PBDR is a step in another direction -- developing a robot that can care for the elderly.

Kosuge said good caregivers needed, like PBDR, to be able to guess what the elderly want them to do using the limited information available.

"It may be difficult to take care of bed-ridden people, but caregivers for people in need of help less than that would be efficient if they can know beforehand what support those people want," Kosuge said.

"Machines or robots would be able to preempt trouble if they can find what their partners want out from what is heard and seen," he said.

He said, however, that there was still a long way to go until robots will be reliable enough to perform important tasks such as holding a hand out before an elderly person stumbles.

Demand for caregivers is on the rise in Japan.

A government report last week showed the elderly made up a record 19.5 percent of Japan's population in 2004 and that the ratio will grow rapidly, going past 35 percent in 2050, as fewer younger Japanese choose to start families.

Japanese who are aged 90 or older totalled 1.016 million in 2004, rising above the one million mark for the first time, it said.

Japanese researchers have already been putting robots to work for the elderly -- and as dancers.

Robots on the market include a machine that looks like a machine dressed in bright colors programmed to converse in just enough small talk to stop the elderly from going senile and a doll that articulates the needs of a five-year-old boy.

In January, a Tokyo University engineer unveiled a humanoid that can shuffle its feet and wave its hands to preserve a traditional Japanese dance falling out of fashion among young people.

All rights reserved. 2004 Agence France-Presse. Sections of the information displayed on this page (dispatches, photographs, logos) are protected by intellectual property rights owned by Agence France-Presse. As a consequence, you may not copy, reproduce, modify, transmit, publish, display or in any way commercially exploit any of the content of this section without the prior written consent of Agence France-Presse.

Related Links
Search SpaceDaily
Subscribe To SpaceDaily Express

Engineers Develop Low-Cost, Highly Sensitive Underwater Listening Device
Boston MA (SPX) May 23, 2005
Jason Holmes, a mechanical engineering graduate student at Boston University and guest researcher at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, has devised a low-cost, highly sensitive array of underwater ears that is perking up interest in both homeland security and ocean research circles.

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly

paypal only

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2016 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.