CEATEC - Murata Boy climbs a hill

Murata's cycling robot is being demonstrated at Ceatec cycling up a hill.

Murata Boy, the cycling robot from Japan's Murata Manufacturing, has made it up a hill.

Before a large crowd of curious onlookers, the sensor and component maker demonstrated the latest version of its robot at the Ceatec electronics show in Japan this week. Developed to showcase the company's sensors, the robot includes gyro sensors for detecting its position and the slope of the terrain, an ultrasonic sensor and a shock sensor.

It first appeared at last year's show where it cycled an s-shaped curve. That may seem simple until you think back to the first time you tried to ride a bicycle; balancing on two wheels is difficult enough for humans. For robots, which have far fewer sensors sending information to a less powerful brain, it's quite a feat.

To out-do last year's ride, Murata's robot cycled up a 25-degree incline. The robot achieved the task in several demonstrations Wednesday without a problem. Murata also showed the robot backing up the bicycle into a parking space, and how the robot could be controlled from a cell phone using a Bluetooth link.

The robot is about more than just technology. Sensors aren't particularly sexy products and companies like Murata compete for the attention of show-goers with the likes of Sony Corp. and Toshiba Corp., who put on glitzy stage-shows filled with shiny gadgets. Maruta's robot helped the company attract Ceatec attendees and boost its brand-image.

More details of Murata Boy can be found at http://www.murataboy.com/en/

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Martyn Williams

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