At a conference chock-full of tablets, e-readers, and other new gadgets, makers of embedded passive electronic systems, such as the gyroscopes necessary for smartphone trickery, hardly stand a chance of garnering attention. That is unless they showcase their products in cycle-riding robots.
Yesterday, at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, "Murata Girl"--developed by Murata Manufacturing Company--made her first appearance in the United States. She blushes, nods her head, and rides a unicycle, even along a narrow bar, a feat usually reserved for Cirque du Soleil performers a little farther down the Vegas strip. Her older, bicycle-riding "cousin" Murata Boy also made a cameo. Show demonstraters controlled both bots like puppets--with the waves of specially designed wands.
Murata Boy rides a bicycle and has gyro sensors for position and slant detection, ultrasonic and shock sensors, and an MTC module used for two-way, wireless communication. Murata Girl includes similar ultrasonic and gyro sensors, and Bluetooth modules for communication.
Other Murata technologies showcased at CES will include wireless power transmission, LED lighting, RFID, and vital sign sensors--though, I have to admit, the sway of other gizmos was too much to keep me at the booth once the mini Murata family had finished their act.