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HRP-4C Robot Cosplays, Sings as Hatsune Miku Virtual Idol

posted on by Egan Loo
Government-sponsored humanoid robot takes songs requests by iPhone

Not-So-Daily Buzzword-Compliant Link of the Day: Yamaha's booth at this week's CEATEC Japan 2009 exhibition is hosting the HRP-4C Miimu humanoid robot — which is cosplaying and singing as the virtual idol singers Hatsune Miku and Megpoid. The robot takes requests via an Apple iPhone application and sings the requested songs. The National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology's Humanoid Research Group created the HRP-4C Miimu robot as its newest demonstration of bipedal walking and human-like behavior. Yamaha developed the Vocaloid vocal synthesis software engine that allows Hatsune Miku and Megpoid to sing songs from scratch.

With Hatsune Miku and Megpoid's synthesized voices, HRP-4C can sing supercell's "Melt" and "World is Mine," Sayuri Ishikawa's "Tsugarukaikyō Fuyugeshiki," and other songs upon spoken requests via Tonchidot's Sekai Camera app for the iPhone. (Megpoid is named after the voice actress who provided the character's vocal sampling data, Macross Frontier's Megumi Nakajima.)

Yamaha is also demonstrating a separate, modified app called Finger Piano which allows users to remote play a real piano by tapping the iPhone's screen. CEATEC Japan 2009 runs from Tuesday to Saturday at the Makuhari Messe convention center in Chiba City east of Tokyo.

This is not the first otaku culture tie-in for the Humanoid Research Group; Patlabor mechanical designer Yutaka Izubuchi drafted the external features of the earlier HRP-2 robot .

In a separate development, Google has unveiled the customizable theme feature for its Chrome web browser with official themes for Hatsune Miku, K-On!, and Good Smile Company. Jiji Press reports that Asimo, Honda's bipedal humanoid robot, appeared at the Monday world premiere of David Bowers and IMAGI's Astro Boy film in Tokyo.

Thank you to Dinoguy1000 for the Google Chrome Themes news tip.

Sources: ASCII.jp via Canned Dogs, Rocket News 24, Robot Watch, Frederik L. Schodt

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