Computational creativity and the future of AI

Dr. GIY's Pre-made Me robot maid cleans up on the dance floor


January 22, 2013

Dr. GIY's Pre-made Me is a 52 cm tall dancing robot maid (Photo: Dr. GIY)

Dr. GIY's Pre-made Me is a 52 cm tall dancing robot maid (Photo: Dr. GIY)

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Strange as it may seem, in the last few years Japan has been home to a fad where cute girls dressed up as french maids star in J-POP, comics, animation, and video games. The distinctive costume has grown so popular that there's a number of so-called maid cafés in Tokyo's geeky Akihabara district where anyone can enjoy the thrills of being served by a horde of hostesses in full outfit. That – to say nothing of Japan's endless fascination with humanoid robots – probably explains Pre-made Me, the latest creation by well-known Japanese roboticist Dr. GIY.

Dr. GIY is one of the regulars at Japan's robot wrestling tournaments, where hobbyists can enter their robots to win a nice cash prize. Usually it's a one-on-one duel where the participants try to knock each other down three times (a far gentler approach compared to the American competitions, where losing robots are virtually destroyed). Over the past decade he's built several prize-winning robots using parts sold by Kondo Kagaku – one of the first companies to put out humanoid robot kits – amongst others.

One of Dr. GIY's previous robots (left) fights another robot (right) in a robot wrestling ...
One of Dr. GIY's previous robots (left) fights another robot (right) in a robot wrestling tournament (Photo: Dr. GIY)

Unlike his champion wrestling robots, which owe their appearance to a legion of different giant robot heroes, Pre-made Me (or should that be translated as Pre-maid Me?) is different. Dr. GIY based her look on a character called Drossel, which is a Disney Japan creation that has her own premium toy line. Standing an impressive 20 inches (52 cm) tall (with an undisclosed weight), Pre-made Me cuts a slender figure and was designed specifically to put on elaborately choreographed dance shows.

In total, the robot has 27 degrees of freedom (6 per leg, 6 per arm, and 3 in the head and neck), actuated by Kondo servo motors, and is powered by a 11.1 V, 1,000 mAh Li-Po battery. Her paper thin exoskeleton was crafted by hand out of fiber-reinforced plastic (FRP), which fits perfectly over an aluminum frame. For the head, he carved a piece of balsa wood and then vacuum formed a piece of plastic over it. In all, it took him more than a year to complete the robot.

You can watch Pre-made Me do her thing in the following video, set to the tune of an AKB48 song (a popular all-girl J-POP group with no less than 91 members that, according to Wikipedia, is one of the highest-earning music groups in the world today). It's important to know that programming these robots to balance properly is notoriously difficult, so keep that in mind as you watch its fancy footwork.

Source: Dr. GIY (Japanese)

About the Author
Jason Falconer Jason is a freelance writer based in central Canada with a background in computer graphics. He has written about hundreds of humanoid robots on his website Plastic Pals and is an avid gamer with an unsightly collection of retro consoles, cartridges, and controllers.   All articles by Jason Falconer

Wow. The soundtrack nearly killed me, but the fluidity of motion is pretty impressive.

Clay Jones
23rd January, 2013 @ 08:09 am PST

Today they dance, tomorrow, they take over the

Phillip Anthony Criddle
23rd January, 2013 @ 09:13 am PST

They will take over the World as they sing and dance. Robo Fred Astaire!

23rd January, 2013 @ 09:58 am PST

I loved the pop video the work that went into programming it to the music was impressive, I can appreciate the effort

Richard Unger
23rd January, 2013 @ 02:21 pm PST

Getting ever closer to the little robots in anime like Hand Maid May and Angelic Layer.

Gregg Eshelman
23rd January, 2013 @ 09:34 pm PST
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