Dancing robot swan touches viewers' emotional chords

Written by: Abdul Nisar
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Washington, Sep 22 (ANI): A robot in the form of a swan left many people with wet eyes after it performed a four-minute-long dance routine recently.

Created at Malardalen University and choreographed by professional dancer Esa Unander-Scharin, the ballet performance triggered reactions like "touching", "fascinating" and "beautiful" from some of the viewers.

" We want to explore the limits of what a robot can do, what human expressions it can mimic, and how it affects people's perception of the robot when it makes an appearance in art and dance," said Lars Asplund, Professor of Computer Science at Malardalen University in Vasteras, Sweden.

His research field is robotics and he has designed the approximately one-metre-tall dancing swan on the basis of a robot that was previously a student4s degree project.

The robot was built by a modular system and in the white wings, neck, beak and feet there are a total of 19 different joints, which makes it very flexible.

And it was Lars Asplund and his colleague Kerstin Gauffin, who works with theatre at Malardalen University, who came up with the idea for the dancing robot.

"With our swan we are showing that we can use robots in new ways simply because they are beautiful and give the audience new experiences," said Kerstin Gauffin, who wants to see robots appear on stages along with "ordinary" actors.

She got in touch with the professional dancer and choreographer Asa Unander-Scharin, who now has designed the robot's special dance to the tunes of the famous composer Tchaikovsky.

By systematically having the robot swan perform each movement by itself - right wing up, neck down, etc - Unander-Scharin has "taught" the robot swan her choreography because the computer inside it "recalls" the movement pattern and then plays it as an entire dance program.

"I think it's exciting to see how emotionally touched people can get by machines, and to do the choreography for the swan robot has been great fun," said Unander-Scharin.

On September 23-26, Malardalen University4s dancing robot will be shown for the first time in public, at Sweden's largest book fair in Gothenburg.

And it is hoped that the swan robot will be a great success with the public. (ANI)

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