New Robot Dances Better Than I Do...

I felt sad when I came to the realization that I'll never be able to dance. I'm too tense. Put me on the dance floor and I look like a scarecrow having an epileptic fit (minus the drool... unless I'm really drunk, then there's probably gonna be some drool; and I don't dance unless really drunk...).

An no-I'm not making fun of people with epilepsy, so just close your e-mail window now.

My point is that I just plain can't dance.

And the MechRC Humanoid Robot from Trossen Robotics can.

And I'm jealous. Check this out:

If I did that people would either call an ambulance or the police. Or both.

But what's more impressive is that this sucker can walk. Walking has been a serious stop-stick in robotic development for years. Of course there's that astronaut looking Japanese robot that can sort of walk in a rigid, creepy way. But this little guy has the right balance ratio to remain upright and doesn't look like he's trying to get to the bathroom without messing his pants. This is the kind of stuff that NASA should pay attention to the next time they send something to Mars.

The MechRC is capable of performing 180 degree movement via seventeen servos. Using a fluid three-dimensional software program, the user can input custom motions or rely on over one hundred pre-installed movements and sounds. These range from the "I'm gonna embarrass John by dancing better than he can" moves to ninja fighting stances. I'm not sure if it could hit you in the face, but it sure can mimic the kick-ass fighting postures.

Programming is done via an interface that looks very much like an animated Transformers cartoon. You simply maneuver the robot into the stance you want, then save the move in the program. You can also add sound effects, pre-recorded voices, and music files; these play from a speaker in the robot's chest.

An infrared controller is also included.

I'm not sure how I feel about this. I mean, if I want to be embarrassed on the dance floor, I'll go to a club full of testosterone and liquor-infused, man-scaped attitude lads. I don't need to be owned by a servo-manipulated plastic robot.

On the other hand, I could at least beat it in a fight...

Unless those ninja moves have a payoff... Then I'm screwed.

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