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Christmas Gift Guide

The amazing MuRata Boy and MuRata Girl zoomed into CES this year -- two cyborgs attached to tiny bicycles and a unicycle respectively, who are able to navigate their way along a 2cm-thick metal pole. These are some pretty cool looking robots, so flip through the photos above to check them out in all their tightroping glory...

Heartbreakingly, MuRata Boy and MuRata Girl aren't for sale, and won't be anytime soon -- they're only here to demonstrate the components the company makes. For instance, MuRata Boy has a chest full of gyroscopes that stop him from falling over.

Gyroscopes are the little gadgets that can detect when a phone's screen has been turned on end, and flip the screen accordingly, or detect when you're swinging a Wii Remote around. MuRata Boy also has an ultrasonic sensor that detects obstacles, for avoiding collisions.

Both robots are also rammed to the gills with shock-sensors, temperature monitors and on-board CCD cameras. MuRata Boy has an EMI filter to reduce electronic interference that could distract him from the precise task of slowly cycling along a thin strip of metal.

MuRata Girl's abilities are arguably more impressive, since she rides along on only one wheel. Still, both robots seemed very capable, and didn't wobble or threaten to fall or turn evil during our time spent watching them. They're not particularly fast, travelling at around 5cm per second, but we're not ones to judge -- we struggle to walk to the coffee machine without losing balance and swerving dangerously into a filing cabinet.

We've done little digging around on the MuRata website, and have discovered that MuRata Boy stands at 50cm tall, and his star-sign is Libra. His dream is to ride around the world, presumably on his bicycle, and his motto is, "When you fall off a bicycle, get right back on."

MuRata Girl weighs 6kg, dreams of riding around the world with MuRata Boy, and her personality is described as "physically active but shy". Aww. And if you're wondering about the relationship between these two androids, MuRata Girl is MuRata Boy's younger cousin on the father's side.

While you can't own a real MuRata Boy, MuRata has made a papercraft guide available online, so you can forge your own boy robot out of paper. How cool would it be if all manufacturers did this with their products?

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MuRata girl sets off.
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MuRata Boy gets ready to perform death-defying feats of balance.
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And he's off! Look at that concentration.
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MuRata Boy and his younger cousin, MuRata Girl.
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Here's the computer that monitors their progress -- check out the camera that shows the robot's point of view.
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