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Murata Girl (and Boy) Wheelie Their Way to CES

For us humans, riding a bike takes a while to learn, unicycles doubly so. Your need to learn small adjustments, how to stay upright and not end up grinding the pavement face-first. Since robots have rigid bodies, it's safe to assume that they'll take to bikes like a fish out of water, right? Well, you'd be wrong.

This is little ladybot is called Murata Girl, and she's got one wheel to the ground and nothing else. The secret to her almost magical balancing act? A little flywheel right where her heart should be, which rocks left-to-right to keep her dead center. Murata Girl and her bicycle-riding older "cousin"—don't ask, they're from Japan, after all—showed up at the recent CES in Vegas to demonstrate their wheeled robotic acrobatics.

Aside from their spinning steel hearts, the robotic cousins also sport ultrasonic sensors to help them keep a proper distance, as well as a wiimote-like three-axis control that allows you to direct them according to your whims. Finally, Murata Girl is equipped with a camera under her skirt. No, this isn't to detect nasty perverts looking for a robo-panty shot; it actually lets her cross a balance beam, all without looking down.

[source: Murata Manufacturing via IEEE Spectrum]