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Waltzing Robot Teaches Beginners How to Dance Like a Pro


Learning to dance from a robot.

Researchers at Tohoku University in Japan have developed a robotic dance instructor that gently guides novices through routines while adapting to their skill level.

Credit: System Robotics Laboratory

Researchers at Tohoku University in Japan have developed a 1.8-meter-tall robotic dance instructor that gently guides novices through routines while adapting to their skill level.

The robot is equipped with a force sensor and two laser rangefinders to track the students' movements, which are compared against motion-capture data recorded from professional dancers to judge their performance. As the students progress, the robot gradually reduces the force used to lead them so they become less reliant on its guidance, demonstrating their overall progress to provide encouragement.

In tests with volunteers who had never waltzed before, five out of six students showed improvement.

The researchers say their work could have implications beyond dancing, from physical rehabilitation to sports training.

Imperial College London researcher Etienne Burdet notes the underlying approach already has been adopted in robots used in medical rehabilitation.

From New Scientist
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