Mechatronics students build dancing robot in tribute to pop star Robyn

“Some of the sequences in the dancing are really suggestive and unexpected and that gets me going," Robyn said of Robyt.
By Brooks Hays   |   March 13, 2014 at 10:38 AM
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A dancing robot, a technological homage to the pop star Robyn, was unveiled today to a select audience of journalists and bloggers in Stockholm, Sweden.

A team of mechatronics students at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) built the robot as part of their final year project. They named it "Robyt."

“When we started, we wanted to use Robyn’s music in order to get her attention for the project,” said Elias Flening, one of the nine KTH students on the project. “But then Robyn contacted us.”

People that play with robots don't usually get to hang out with pop stars. But Robyn took an interest in the project and came to visit the students twice.

“Some of the sequences in the dancing are really suggestive and unexpected and that gets me going. But my favorite move right now is probably the head nodding,” Robyn said of Robyt.

The students wanted to build a robot that danced in a way others could recognize and relate to, not in a way reminiscent of robotic movements. But they also wanted to please Robyn. The pop star offered some suggestions on her visits -- suggestions the students used, such as keeping much of the wiring exposed and allowing for the arms to tremble, an effect Robyn said made the robot more human.

Another student on the project, Kim Öberg, said the experience was a good primer for what it might be like to fine tune a mechanized product in the real world.

“We worked with the kind of requirements you’ll be faced with in product development because they tend to be open and not really refined,” Öberg. “You’ll get an idea from the customer but it’s up to you to specify what that means in hard requirements.”

[Royal Institute of Technology]

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