TOSY set to release dancing and sketching robots
By Ben Coxworth
September 5, 2012
It’s certainly impressive that there are robots capable of mowing lawns, tracking sharks, and toting goods, but sometimes it’s the robots that do completely useless yet entertaining things that really captivate us. Such is the case with TOSY’s soon-to-be-released DiscoRobo and SketRobo – one of them will dance to the beat of whatever music you have playing, while the other will draw your picture.
As anyone who’s listened to the judges on So You Think You Can Dance will tell you, using your face is a big part of being a good dancer. To that end, not only does DiscoRobo move to the music, but it also varies between a number of illuminated facial expressions as it does so – whether those expressions have anything to do with the particular moves it’s making is anyone’s guess.
The more studious SketRobo is something quite different. The prototype we recently saw at IFA 2012 is able to draw over 200 pre-loaded images, using a hand-held pen and a sheet of paper clipped to a table in front of it. The commercial version, however, will be equipped with a camera and facial recognition software. This will reportedly allow it to actually sketch the faces of real people – just this February, German research firm Fraunhofer was proudly showing off an industrial robot that had been programmed to do that very thing.
According to a press release issued by TOSY that same month, DiscoRobo is expected to launch this fall (Northern Hemisphere) at a price of approximately US$40. SketRobo is scheduled to follow early next year, for about $50. The toy robots can be seen doing their respective things in the videos below.