June 03, 2008

Keepon The Dancing Robot


Keepon is a robot who dances. He was developed by scientists in Japan to help treat children with Asperger's syndrome and autism. Pretty lofty job description for a robot that is essentially two yellow balls, eyes, and a button nose. But apart from his scientific credentials, if you watch this music video which introduces Keepon, you'll see a fantastic lesson in character appeal. Keepon has only a few simple moves, and no appendages, or a face that can change expression or even blink, but he is an irresistible personality. You see his magic best when he is dancing with the more human-proportioned robots. While the other bots can wave their arms, do the twist, and scuttle like crabs, Keepon seems like a little living animal among them. Simple, adorable, and incredibly entertaining. Great song too. I love Spoon. Thank you Nate for finding this video!

1 comment:

Magnulus said...

I saw that Spoon video a while ago, but I never thought about what it actually says about, as you say, character appeal and animation. If this had been out back when Finding Nemo was released, people would maybe not have been as surprised at Pixar's ability to make such originally un-emotive creatures likeable. ^_^

It's an excercise in effective use of what movement there is, and actually spurs a whole bunch of thoughts that I won't bore you with here. I'll just say that it pretty much falsifies the generally accepted notion that emotive faces is key in making robots loveable.