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HomeEconomyDancing robots: Japanese researchers develop robotic arm to 'unleash creativity'

Dancing robots: Japanese researchers develop robotic arm to 'unleash creativity'

TOKYO (Reuters) – What would society look like if robot body parts were as free to use as roadside rental bicycles? Masahiko Inami’s team at the University of Tokyo tried to find out by creating a wearable robotic arm.

Inami’s team is developing a range of technologies rooted in the idea of ​​”jizai,” a Japanese term. “Shuo” roughly expresses autonomy and the freedom to do whatever you want.

The aim is to foster a relationship between musicians and instruments, “between a human being and an instrument, in the same way that an instrument can be part of your body.”

Inami said he was inspired by traditional Japanese puppet shows and a quasi-horror short story by novelist Yasunari Kawabata about a man who borrows the arm of a young woman and spends the night with her.


“It’s definitely not a competitor to humans, but it helps us do what we want, like a bicycle or an electric bike. It supports us and can unleash creativity,” Inami explain.

The promotional video for “Jizai Arms” shows two ballerinas performing dances with robotic arms extending from their backs and torsos – man and machine moving together. The dancers ended up embracing, including the robotic arms.

After a while, some wearers get attached to the arm, Inami said. “It’s kind of sad to take them off after using them for a while. That’s what makes them a little bit different than other tools,” he said.

But the potential goes beyond turning a novelist’s fantasy into reality, he added, such as helping with search-and-rescue missions. “In the future, we might see wings growing out of people’s backs, or drones attaching to people… maybe someone will come up with a sport that requires six arms, or invent a new type of swimming,” Ipo said.



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