Keepon finally gets a cheaper version

Keepon, the adorable bot meant to help autistic kids with its jovial dance moves, seems to finally be getting a cheaper version. The original cost $30,000 and did a lot more than dance. Actually, we got to play with it a little bit at CES a couple years ago. The commercial version most likely won’t have facial recognition or any of the other fancy features of the first one, but we hope it can dance well.  We’ve actually seen a couple home made versions and we’re hoping that the new one has some major hacking potential. The temptation to have one of these cute little bots around is made even stronger when you see that some of the money is going back into autism research.

Dance for a Dollar with the YayTM

The YayTM is a device that records a person dancing and judges whether or not the dancing is “Good”. If the YayTM likes the dance, it will dispense a dollar for the dancers troubles. However, unless the dancer takes the time to read the fine print, they won’t realize that their silly dance is being uploaded to YouTube for the whole world to see. Cobbled together with not much more than a PC and a webcam,  the box uses facial recognition to track and rate the dancer.

The YayTM was made by [Zach Schwartz], a student at NYU, as a display piece for the schools Interactive Telecommunication Program. Unfortunately there aren’t any schematics or source code, but to be honest, having one of these evil embarrassing boxes around is probably enough. What song does the YayTM provide for dancing, you ask? Well, be sure to check it out here.

EDIT: [Zack] has followed up with an expanded writeup of the YayTM. Be sure to check out his new page with source code and more info. Thanks [Zack]!

Robo-one dance competition

This year at the creepy robot dace-a-thon, also known as the Robo-one dance competition, we get to see the creepy brought to new levels. We thought the Lou Vega decapitated head bot was creepy, but somehow these people managed to make a biped out creep a hexapod. Watch above as this uncanny valley resident tries to shimmy into your heart. We really are impressed by these bots though. The world of robot dancing has come a long way, those little servo bags are doing a better job than us on the dance floor.

Keepon, eat your heart out

[Ruyck] sent us this video of his mini Keepon robot. For those who haven’t been initiated, Keepon is a very emotive, and extremely expensive, dancing robot. He is deceptively simple looking, but as you can see in [Ruyck]’s version, it is fairly complex. [Ruyck] has used a mini RC collective pitch helicopter assembly for the motion, which makes controlling it fairly intuitive. At first, we were not too impressed with [Ruyck]’s final implementation, which you can see along with a comparison video of Keepon after the break. Then we realized, all he as to do is find a way to attach the bottom of the foam body to the base to achieve much more of the squash and stretch motion of keepon. A little creative programming and this little fellow could be made autonomous and synchronized to music.
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Bouncy iPhone controlled dance lights

[John Boiles] introduces us to dimlet, his portable network controlled light dimmer. Inside the box is a fonera 2100 router that is running openWRT connected to an unnamed AVR microcontroller. Right now, he’s controlling the unit with his iPhone. It has three modes of control; a manual “slider” mode, an accelerometer controlled “dance” mode, and a programmable “tap” mode. You can download all the source code and schematics on his site.

[via Makezine]

Dancing Wall-E and Rhythmic Synth

Whether you loved, hated, or didn’t see Wall-E, it’s hard not to fall in love with the iDance Wall-E toy. Connect him to an audio source and Wall-E will dance around like an epileptic Billy Bass.

[Gian Pablo Villamil] at NYC Resistor wondered whether it would work with his custom made Rhythmic Synth, and to his and our delight, it does! The Rhythmic Synth is an older project of his; it is a simple rhythm generator with 4 pitch knobs, 4 modulation knobs, and 4 phase switches. The case was taken from an old external Iomega CD-ROM drive.

Getting the Wall-E to dance isn’t much of a feat, but something about the dancing combined with a synth with embedded lights just screams robot dance party, and that can never be wrong. We’d love to see the Wall-E dancing to a cleaner, more complete synth: maybe this one. Check out Wall-E busting a move after the break.

Continue reading “Dancing Wall-E and Rhythmic Synth”