Friday, April 24, 2009

Greatest Thing of Anything: Keepon

Hey, remember those dancing plastic roses? Sure you do. My computer teacher had one in elementary school. It was the coolest thing in the world; of course, this was a time when computers had green screens that you could control with the color and contrast knobs, and you usually had to go and yell at your classmates to check the little red light next to the envelope symbol to make sure they got that message you sent them about how they're a jerk.

But just in case you don't remember, these things were potted plastic roses with guitars and sunglasses and little microphones in them, and if you played music near it the plant would wriggle around and the petals would open and close to make it seem like Elvis Petaly (yeah, well, you come up with something better) would open and close his stamens and pistols to make it seem like it was singing.


It was...meh. It ran on batteries, as far as I remember, and those usually ran out pretty quickly. And it wasn't long before you realized that the flower had about all the dance moves as your average white high school freshman and it got kind of boring.

Enter the 21st century, and Keepon!

It's Keepon. I just said that, dumbass.

Keepon was developed by Hideki Kozima, and it's basically the dancing rose taken to the next level, namely sophisticated robotics for scientific study. Keepon's eyes are cameras, and there's a microphone in its nose. Despite its appearance (I believe a friend once described it as a "creepy Peep snowman") it has much more of a range than a dancing plastic flower. In addition, this is evidently being used to study the interactions with children and autism and whatnot.


Kozima, now a professor, could be a friggin' millionaire with this thing (and maybe he is), but it seems the only way you can obtain a Keepon is for educational or research purposes. Which means that you can't just write in the creators and say that you want a Keepon to keep at your cubicle to add some entertainment to your soul-crushing work day by making it dance to Spoon. Which is completely hypocritical on the part of the creators, of course, since they realized the full potential of Keepon to dance to Spoon. And not just one song, but two. Observe!

In conclusion, I want a dancing robot. Preferably Summer Glau, but Keepon will do.

Keepon vs. will be a ratings smash hit

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