‘murata boy’, created by murata, rides through a public park image courtesy of emiko ogawa

designed by japanese tech company murata, the latest ‘murata boy‘ and ‘murata girl’ models incorporate recent energy-efficient and sensor improvements into the bike-riding and unicycling robots. both new editions were demoed at CES 2011.

in addition to being able to move forwards and backwards and stop without falling over, the new ‘murata girl’ can unicycle along curves, including on an S-shaped balance beam just 2cm wide.

CES 2011: murata boy + murata girl robots full view of ‘murata boy’ image courtesy of plasticpals

two gyroscopic sensors keep the robot upright: one that controls the forward/backward motion of the wheels, and the other that manages the fly wheel in the robot’s chest to retain side-to-side balance. the newest model employs a third gyro sensor to aid in navigating curves.

CES 2011: murata boy + murata girl robots full view of ‘murata girl’ image courtesy of plasticpals

ultrasonic sensors provide the foundation of the robots’ obstacle detection capabilities. the robots also use an infrared sensor to detect human movement, so that they return automatically from standby mode when people are present. wi-fi and energy-efficient close-distance bluetooth modules enable interaction with a range of devices, including the custom remote control that murata has designed for the robots.

CES 2011: murata boy + murata girl robots detail view of ‘murata girl’

both robots measure 50cm tall, ranging in weight from 5kg for ‘murata boy’ to 6kg for ‘murata girl’. a digital meter records battery usage, power consumption, and the general state of the robot in real time. showcasing a range of murata products, the robots are designed to be as energy-efficient as possible, both in their basic technological components and through features like automatic sleep mode.

CES 2011: murata boy + murata girl robots ‘murata boy’ being positioned for a demo in which he bicycles along a 2cm balance beam on his own

CES 2011: murata boy + murata girl robots ‘murata girl’ unicycles on a 2cm balance beam

having cost about 500,000 USD each to make, the robots are not being mass produced, but you can create your own paper model of ‘murata boy’ using the company’s papercraft plans.

the murata robots are debuted to the west at CES 2011 (english coverage)

murata demos the features of each robot at this year’s CEATEC in japan (japanese coverage)

the ‘magic stick’ remote control uses bluetooth to interact with the robot

demonstration of murata boy’s ability to climb inclines