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Unicycle-riding girlbot hits the road

Murata Girl, a cousin of bike-riding robot Murata Boy, can ride forward and backward at 2 inches per second or idle in place.

Murata Girl
If Eve from Wall-E and Rosie the Robot Maid from The Jetsons had a love child...
Murata Electronics

Bicycle-riding robot Murata Boy has a cute new cousin--and she's so one-upping him by getting around on a unicycle.

Murata Girl, aka Seiko-chan, can ride forward and backward at 2 inches per second--or idle in place. Tiny sensors tell the bot when it's about to bump into something, and gyroscopes on her back, plus a spinning disc embedded in her stomach, help her stay balanced.

Murata Electronics, an electrical components maker based in Japan, uses Murata Boy to promote science education and advertise its brand. It describes Murata Girl as "active but shy" (she occasionally blushes) and from central Japan, noting that she's programmed to follow her cousin around (no doubt taunting him endlessly for only being able to manage on two wheels). Users can control Seiko-chan via Bluetooth.

Three female art school graduates designed Murata's new girl, which the company will officially unveil at Ceatec Japan 2008, kicking off September 30 outside Tokyo. Crave's own Erica Ogg leaves for the show Saturday, and she promises to meet Murata Girl in person and tell us more about her.

(Many thanks to my co-worker Takayuki Sakurai for helping me make sense of the Japanese on Murata's product page.)

Click here for more stories on Ceatec 2008.