So You Think Your Robot Can Dance, Part II (video)

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Robot Dance Contest
Robot Japan's annual dance contest is a fun look at the (dis)abilities of robot dancing.

There are times when I’m not sure I’m laughing with someone or laughing at them. This is one of those times. The annual Robot Japan: Robot Dance and Fight Competition, held earlier this month in Tokyo, collects a wide array of enthusiasts who have built bots to, well, dance or fight. This year’s Dance Contest has me in stitches. With over-the-top playful costumes, human backup singers, and an abundance of cat costumes, Robot Japan featured some pretty hilarious examples of machines tripping the lights fantastic. Occasionally they also had some impressive moves as well. Check out the video below to see highlights from the mechanical shindig. The best is definitely towards the end, with the Kabuki bot (2:45) holding a firm place in my heart. These robots have moxie, I’ll give ’em that.

There are six different performances captured in the video. An opening act with humanoid robots complete with photo-copied faces. A dice robot struts its stuff at 0:49. A catgirl anime-style bot appears at 1:25, followed by a trio of bots with human backup dancers at 2:24. The Kabuki bot, which we’ve seen before at Robo-One Gate, is followed by a cat robot with some pretty decent moves at 3:35. Enjoy!

The variety of competition in robotics is pretty amazing. You can create robots to battle, solve mazes, play soccer, rescue people…if you can build a robot to do it, chances are you can compete against other people who are trying to do it better. Many of these contests feature a range of applicants from casual hobbyist to semi-professional engineer. Robot Japan’s Dance Contest is towards the amateur side of things, with many robots built from kits. Yet the creativity and dedication to making these bots look good while dancing is pretty amazing. It should be interesting to see how these competitions improve as pre-fabricated parts and kits become more capable and cheaper. Dancing bots give us a chuckle now, but more realistic robots are sure to give us pause in the future.

[screen capture and video credit: Robot-Dream]
[source: Robot-Dreams, Robot Japan]