Watch These Adorable Little Cheerleader Robots Dance With Perfect Coordination

Murata is one of the foremost sensor and component manufacturers in Japan (and the world, besides). As such, there's a very good chance that many of the robots in circulation today have at least one piece of hardware in them designed by the company. What I'm saying here is that the organization is no stranger to the world of robotics - but also that they aren't really the sort of organization you'd directly associate with the creation of robots.

You'd be incorrect, of course. The company has a long history of creating adorable robotic mascots to showcase exactly what its sensors can do. The Murata Cheerleader is the latest of these mascots - in a line that includes the Murata Boy and Murata Girl. She's also got a pretty awesome sense of balance.

See, it isn't all that easy for the robot to stay upright on the tiny ball that serves as her primary means of locomotion. In order to ensure that the cheerleader doesn't end up flat on its back (or face), it's equipped with several gyroscopic sensors, designed to measure pitch, yaw, and title angles. A set of wheels also spin within the ball, keeping it moving in the necessary direction. 

It's impressive enough that they've accomplished this with a single robot - never mind ten. Each robot is capable of moving in perfect sync with its peers, coordinating to form a series of different geometric patterns. So...how exactly did the team pull this off?

Aside from multiple sensors, Murata also placed two towers on either side of the dance floor. Each tower emits a combination of ultrasonic and infrared frequencies. Since light and sound move at different speeds, this can be used to allow to the robots to choreograph themselves on a two-dimensional plane, reacting in real-time when one of their peers stumbles. 

According to Murata Section Manager Koichi Yoshikawa, this project wasn't dreamed up exclusively to show off their tech. Instead, he explained to Engadget, it was part of a joint project with Kyoto University to help robots act as a cohesive unit when performing high-speed search and rescue sweeps. The idea is that these robots - which form a sort of functional 'hive mind' - could move over a disaster area searching for survivors. Taken a step further, they could even combine with one another to form a larger robot capable of offering assistance to any victims they come across.

So, yeah, cheerleaders today, high tech search-and-rescue robots tomorrow. I love technology.