Japan says three cheers for robots. Murata Manufacturing wants to cheer people up with its latest balancing machine. It's part of a group of swarm robots called the Murata Cheerleaders, but it's not exactly clear what they're cheering for. Developed with Kyoto University, up to 10 cheerleading robots can roll around in synchronized formations. Each one can stay upright using three gyro sensors and is aware of objects thanks to infrared sensors and ultrasound microphones. Their illuminated faces and hands give the Cheerleaders a distinctively "kawaii" or cute look. The Cheerleaders follow Murata's bicycle-riding robot dubbed Murata Boy, which was shown off in 2005. In 2008 it was joined by Murata Girl, also known as Seiko-chan, which can balance on a unicycle.
Murata has used the robots to showcase its engineering skills and to inspire kids to pursue science and technology. It says the control technology for the Cheerleaders could be used to develop safer, more efficient vehicle transportation systems. In Tokyo, Tim Hornyak, IDG News Service.