Researchers at Tohoku University have developed the Partner Ballroom Dance Robot. It has a woman’s face, a sensor around its waist, can move in all directions and comes in two colours: shiny blue and bright red.
As its partner takes steps, the robot analyzes his movements and figures out how to accompany him with its shoulders, elbows, waist and neck.
Research leader Kazuhiro Kosuge believes that PBDR is a step in developing a robot that can care for the elderly. Good caregivers need to be able to guess what the elderly want them to do using the limited information available. “Machines or robots would be able to preempt trouble if they can find what their partners want out from what is heard and seen,” he explained.
However, there is still a long way to go until robots will be reliable enough to perform important tasks such as holding a hand out before an person stumbles.