HRP-4C girlbot grooves with go-go dancers

Yamaha's HRP-4C adds "dancer" to her resume as she joins four human performers for a Tokyo performance called "Dance Robot LIVE! - HRP-4C Cybernetic Human."

Leslie Katz Former Culture Editor
Leslie Katz led a team that explored the intersection of tech and culture, plus all manner of awe-inspiring science, from space to AI and archaeology. When she's not smithing words, she's probably playing online word games, tending to her garden or referring to herself in the third person.
  • Third place film critic, 2021 LA Press Club National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards
Leslie Katz

Girlbot onstage with dancers
HRP-4C is mostly being developed for the entertainment industry--for use in amusement parks, for example, or as an exercise teacher--and is not yet ready to assist with daily chores. Video screenshot by Leslie Katz/CNET

Were it not for the knobby-kneed metallic gams, it might be hard to tell which of the five dancers in flouncy yellow minidresses is the robot.

But there she is, Yamaha's HRP-4C, headlining a performance called "Dance Robot LIVE! - HRP-4C Cybernetic Human" at Tokyo's Digital Content Expo over the weekend.

Sharing the stage with a group of singing/dancing humans is just the latest trick from the 5-foot (ish) humanoid from Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology who can sing from a preselected list of tunes and struts the catwalk in her spare time.

Reportedly designed to look like an average Japanese woman between the ages of 19 and 29, HRP-4C has 30 motors in her body that allow her to walk and move her arms and 8 facial motors for blinking, smiling, expressing emotions akin to anger and surprise--and, apparently, working it like a pop star.

For her weekend performance, HRP-4C joined four human dancers to move and sing to a lip-synced Vocaloid version of "Deatta Koro no Yo ni" ("Every Little Thing") by Kaori Mochida. SAM-san, a real-life dancer/choreographer, produced the routine.

"Dance Robot LIVE! - HRP-4C Cybernetic Human" is the culmination of a year-long effort to teach the humanoid to dance. We're not sure if she's ready for "So You Think You Can Dance: The Robot Edition," but she sure beats some of the other robo-dancers we've spotted lately.

(Via Pink Tentacle)