Japan's Robotic Unicyclist... Yes, Wheelie

Seiko-chan does everything but hunt down Sarah Connor... OK, that tooSeiko-chan does everything but hunt down Sarah Connor... OK, that too
Japan is widely heralded as being in the forefront of robotic technology, and this new, self-balancing schoolgirl robot is just the latest example. "Seiko-chan" was designed to ride a unicycle because, well, we're not quite sure but we do know it's cool! 

Murata Manufacturing Co., Ltd of Japan didn't just whip Seiko-chan out of thin air. The 20-inch high self-balancing robot follows on the heels - or should that be wheels - of Seisaku-kun, the robot bicyclist. Murata says they're cousins. Everybody, "awwww..."

Modeled after Japanese school children down to the distinctive caps and rucksacks (not sure where the creepy glowing eyes come in though), these unique robots use onboard gyroscopes to keep their balance while keeping us meatbags hypnotized with glee. Sort of like what Skynet was up to in the Terminator flicks. Here's a video of the two of them at the recent CEATEC industry trade show. Cute huh? Weren't those Sarah Conner's last words?

Seiko-chan weighs just 5 kilograms (about 11 lbs.) but packs a lot of hardware inside her white plastic body. A large flywheel visibly spinning within her chest is accompanied by ultrasonic distance sensors, gyro sensors and a camera that beams real-time video imagery to remote receivers. Seiko-chan also has "built-in Bluetooth capabilities" - though thankfully she's not wearing one of those douchey earpieces.

It's hard to say just what Seiko-chan's purpose is, other than to show how creative Murata's engineers are. Then again, once you make a bicycle-riding robot, what's next? One that rides a tricycle? Nope, there's nowhere to go but up. After Seiko-chan we expect the Murata whiz-kids to whip up a hovercraft robot. No, wheelie... (via Pink Tentacle)