Marek's dancing robots are cool

Marek Michalowski is a Ph.D. student in the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. His latest project is Beatbots - cute little robots with microphone noses and video camera eyes which can dance to music. In the video on his site, the 'drum' clip is OK, but the clip of the robot dancing to Spoon's 'I turn my camera on' is fantastic. It's all done with Max/MSP, obviously. (Thanks, J-Chot)

Now I realize how joyless my life up until now has been.
I think it's lame for a PhD robotics student to use Max. What's he gonna do next, make a screensaver?
If the screensaver can dance he should make one.
That is effin' adorable! I'd buy one. So cute!
Um - this is incredibly lame. For dancing, I think ARMS and LEGS are a priority, don't you? Yet this "robot" has neither.

You can buy a plastic Santa every Christmas which does the same thing for $19.99. Price includes arms and legs.

What next for Music Thing? A wall plaque with an animatronic fish singing "Hooked on You"?
There are potential applications here in the sex toy market.
This is simply amazing, for the haters : look again, not only is it moving in a non-repetitive way, it's actually following the beat, not just moving around like the stupid coke cans.
"Moving in a non-repetitive way". Let's see, there's some sort of pivot base like a joystick, and there's some kind of stepper motor which can turn the head.

THAT'S IT. There's no other possible motions for this "robot". If it was truly non-repetitive, how could it move to the beat? And how can you tell if it's repetitive or not when it only has 3 possible degrees of freedom and no limbs?

Seriously, this thing can barely move at all. Forget "repetition". As for "moving to the beat", that's what the fish plaques and the Santas do. They just do it much better and much more cheaply.

Seriously, this Ph.D. project has to be absolutely humiliating for Carnegie-Mellon. A weekend in the garage with the parts box and I'm a Ph.D. Who knew?
Don't those cheap 'better' products dance to their own songs though? I don't know if you noticed, but these react to external sources of sound..
I understand that the microphone "nose" is supposed to react to outside sound. Where's the video of him snapping his fingers and seeing the "robot" (It's not right to use that word for this joke) move in reaction? Of course it can barely move, as noted above.

If I play a waltz, does it waltz? Does it tango to a tango? I seriously doubt it. You need arms and legs for those dances. So it reacts to outside sound, as long as your outside sound has a thumping bass/snare and a 4/4 beat and isn't too harmonically complicated.

With that many limitations (this really is a weekend project), who cares how many songs it can "dance" to? First off, that's not dancing. Second off, the fish plaque is WAY more entertaining. Third off, the music in the video barely qualifies. Fourth off, don't you expect more from Carnegie Mellon?

This is the retarded, aborted stepchild of a Furbie.
I crave easter peeps now.
To the hater up-thread:

Perhaps you should check out some of the other videos on the site. The robots eyes are actually a pair of video cameras, and it is capable of maintaining eye contact and tracking multiple people/objects.
So is it a "dancing robot" with no limbs, fixed to a pedestal? Or is it a "tracking robot" whose job is to turn its head to point at people's heads?

Both things are incredibly lame, totally mundane and "expected" in 2007.

Did you notice that the whole justification for this parts-box grab is to "study the interaction of children and robots"? As if this guy is a psych grad student. He's just wasting the University's time with his lame-ass goofing off. How could it be more obvious?
This is about the right level for a Carnegie Mellon student. We're talking about people who are not smart enough to get into MIT or Stanford and feel like wasting the next 5 years in PITTSBURGH is a worthwhile second choice.
It's a start.
I like it personally. you can argue the social justification of the project all you want, but what i got out of it was a simple, cute creation that i would buy in a second for a child or just to have around to cheer me up. i watched all the videos and actually got a chuckle out of some of them.

lumping the beabot with those trashy fucking santas and fish is just purile. those pieces of white-trash wankery are the bottom of the horrible gift aisle of wal-mart and as such serve as nothing more than crap for people you hate. the beabot on the other hand has a sense of charm, and much like a kitten, the sight of something adorable bouncing up and down to music is a great thing.

though the adult industry SHOULD take heed.
yeah, i dug it too. dr., you oughtta try putting peeps in the microwave cos, um, they grow immense. that's why

being a loveless hater anonymous passsive aggressive cubicle commenter must be fun.

build a robot yourself and show the whole world why you're so much smarter than everyone else... this applies to all future posts on every conceivably hate-able topic for inifinity plus one, k?
The only thing better than being an anonymous "hater" is being an anonymous "hater hater". Congratulations!

A high school student could build this "dancing" "robot" (quotes for a reason) in a weekend. Remember he used Max. There's nothing remotely innovative or even contemporary about this whatsoever.

The standard for a Ph.D. thesis is "original work which contributes to the field". This is not original, it's barely work and it contributes nothing to the field.

The best compliment it's recieved in 18 tries is "That is effin adorable! I'd buy one. So cute!" Well that's a great standard for Music Thing. I can't wait to see the My Pretty Pony post and the live feed to a box of kittens.

Those who commented on the sex-toy aspect were actually giving a helpful tip to the builder, but he's interested in child psychology, not child-creation psychology.

So can we please stop defending this slightly animated pile of scrap parts using pre-made software? It's a joke, and not a funny one. guys are all WAY off the mark. This is all a big hoax. I know this because I've seen this guy in the club on several occasions. Yes he really does dance like that. He also does the same thing on the train on the way home. This video is merely some trickery, super imposing what would appear to be some kind of giant hand to make him look cuddly and pocket sized. Mystery solved.
It’s a baby Mr.Blobby. End of.
Stunning display here of self-righteous shit-kicking. This is hard deserving of your empty invectives. Find a more deserving target than a harmless robotics experiment, you mindless twats.
This is hard deserving of your empty invectives.

You said it perfectly.

Find a more deserving target than a harmless robotics experiment

"Harmless" would be true if it wasn't being presented as more than a weekend project. It is.

"Experiment" would be true if there was one new concept here. There isn't. You can't do an experiment if you already know exactly the outcome. That's simply called "confirmation".

"Deserving" is totally right. This deserves to be laughed at more than an animated singing Santa at Wal-Mart.

But thanks for the name calling, Marek.
hey bitter anon- it's friday night, i wanna see you build a better "weekend project" and send it to MT by monday morning. that is, if your not too busy spewing hateful bile. Max doesnt build robots for you, nearly half of the previous "18 tries" to compliment it were your closeminded rants, and the toy displayed actual personality- which you have not.


ps- i always have a good time in pittsburgh
I could just buy a fish plaque and send it to Music Thing, would that give you a boner? Because the fish plaque is far cooler (despite being lame, it's all relative).

Luckily for me, I don't contribute to totally dead commercial blogs like Music Thing. This place is a tomb. I also don't take commands from pinheads who define "personality" as stretching rubber very slightly. Which is all this "robot" does.

I do feel pity for you. It takes a special kind of mental handicap to see two rubber balls move slightly and call it a "robot". If this guy spent more than a few days "building" this, he needs to get into child psychology full time. There's nothing here of remote interest to actual robotics engineers.

Talking fish are cool.
Good comment, Mr Anonymous.
I got to say that I agree with the "what the fuck is this doing on music thing" angle. I used to love coming here to find rarity and relevant music tech info, now I'm going elsewhere. I have really lost interest in this blog of late - If you don't have the time or inclination to update it don't do it & don't post stuff that has been on other blogs weeks before. Please bring it back up to speed!
So 'trolls' like talking fish? Guess this must be that 'midwest commentary' I've been hearing so much about. Midi-synth and a gun rack, 2.5 children and moonshine.*

*A gun rack synth fish mod would be great though! Really! Perhaps you could all come out under your bridges, give those goats a break and make one?
this thing is awsome, i want to see all the haters build a robot, toy, whatever. For us to design robots of "higher" quality like the dude from "aliens" or Transformers , Gundam, MG Solid (using video games and movies as examples) we have to start somewhere. get off your high horse and enjoy life and all its simple pleasures
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