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.
We could not walk past KeepOn without checking it out. Not only did we get to check it out, we got to control it. [Caleb] picked up a wiimote and started tapping out a beat and KeepOn started dancing. It was as adorable in person as it is in the videos. We think it is horribly overpriced as is though, so we still enjoy the home made one.
We think the reason that KeepOn is so emotive is possibly because they have avoided the uncanny valley by a long distance. Video after the break.
[Eustice Scrubb] has posted some videos and pictures of a robotic “eye stalk” that he’s building. It looks like the final version is using 3 servos in an arrangement like tendons through a slinky jr. The ping-pong ball on the top has a BlinkM inside it. You can see a video after the break that shows the three servo tendons in motion. The whole thing is controlled by an Arduino and one of his pictures states that it plays mp3s and has an internal pendulum. None of his pictures seem to implicitly state what it is meant to do though.
[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. Continue reading “Keepon, eat your heart out”→