Science

You can’t handle the cute.

I was a little bummed out yesterday to discover that FHM Magazine (what does that even stand for?) totally ripped me off. In Trial by Fryer, they got a celebrity chef to dunk foods in a deep fryer. Sound familiar? That’s right, that’s my idea. No one else may have it. It gets even worse, though: he deep-fried gummi worms. To my horror, he actually made it work. When I tried it, the worms dissolved fairly quickly, so of course I’m skeptical that he was able to do it. The next time I get the urge to coat my apartment in a fine layer of grease, I’ll try it again.

After reading the FHM article, I descended into a deep depression, the likes of which could only be cured by one thing: a tiny dancing robot.

When I first read about Keepon the Robot last week, I was unimpressed. “Socially rhythmic robots” were being touted as a huge breakthrough in technology by a researcher at Carnegie Mellon University collaborating with NICT. The article I read described a small, cute machine that bops around to music. Big deal, I thought. I had one of those in the 3rd grade (shown at right).

Then I saw the video. Keepon is, in all honesty, a miracle of science and a great leap forward in the field of Cutology. Keepon is about the size of a fat chipmunk, shaped like a tiny owl, the color and squishiness of the traditional yellow marshmallow Peep. He has two round eyes that really see, and a tiny round nose. He swivels his head around to pay attention to what’s moving around him, and he bounces up and down to express emotions like happiness and excitement.

Believe me when I tell you that the above introduction cannot come close to describing the amusement you should derive from watching Keepon dance to Spoon’s I Turn My Camera On. Click here and make sure you choose “Keepon dancing to Spoon” under the video screen. If you haven’t laughed by 1:30 when he begins swinging his little head back and forth and jamming like it’s his job, you are far less human than Keepon himself.

[EDIT: here’s the video!]

Keepon dancing to Spoon’s “I Turn My Camera On” from BeatBots on Vimeo.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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15 Comments

  1. It's pretty sad that an oversized marshmellow Peep can drop it like it's hot, when I can only muster the rhythm to lay it down slowly. Why am I not surprised that the creator is Japanese? When I lived there, it was the land of cute. Hello Kitty was actually on construction gates. Sort of Krusty the Klown-ish in that kat's marketability.

    Anyhoo, I'm sure that Keepon will keep on, long after I lay down with a bowl of chips and a root beer.

  2. Truly the Japanese are ultimate masters of cuteness. They must be stopped . . . but not before the researchers create the little blue triangular fellow they're working on, who threatens to be even cuter than Keepon.

  3. This looks like bad news for backup dancers everywhere. How long will it be before we see Christina Aguilera on stage surrounded by 6 foot tall Keepons? And you know what comes after that:

    "Britney Spears secretly married to Keepon in Las Vegas ceremony!"

  4. For Him Magazine, but it is essentially Cosmo artificially flavored with testosterone. I don't know how it works for the ladies, but as a guy, whenever I see one I can feel my IQ being drawn out of me.

    The few times I have opened one I have found the articles lacking any kind of informative substance whether they are discussing exercise, wilderness travel or whatever. And soft core porn always annoys me. Don't tease me. I am not 12 anymore. Drew

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