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Mimebot: spherical robot visually imitating a rolling sphere

Shuhei Tsuchida (Department of Engineering, Kobe University, Kobe, Japan)
Tatsuya Takemori (Department of Engineering, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan)
Tsutomu Terada (Department of Engineering, Kobe University, Kobe, Japan)
Masahiko Tsukamoto (Department of Engineering, Kobe University, Kobe, Japan)

International Journal of Pervasive Computing and Communications

ISSN: 1742-7371

Article publication date: 3 April 2017




When designing a performance involving people and mobile robots, the required functions and shape of the robot must be considered. However, it can be difficult to account for all of the requirements. The purpose of this paper is to discuss a mobile robot in the shape of a ball that is used in theatrical performances.


The paper proposes a mobile robot that can give the audience the optical illusion of the unique movements of a sphere by mounting a spherical light-emitting diode (LED) display on a high-agility wheeled robot.


It was found that movements that are difficult to implement with existing mechanisms can nonetheless be visualized through the use of light.


The paper proposes the concept of using pseudo-physical movements in performances with robots. The authors built a robot that visually reproduces the movements of a rolling sphere and is capable of faster movements and easier position estimations in comparison with previous spherical robots.



This research is supported financially by IPA Exploratory IT Human Resources Project 2014 (The MITOH Program 2014), the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) Super Cluster Program (Kyoto Area, Construction of Highly-Efficient Energy to Achieve a Clean and Low Environmental Impact Society) Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research(A)(23240010) from the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology and Program for Creating STart-ups from Advanced Research and Technology from Japan Science and Technology Agency, JST Tateishi Science and Technology Foundation.


Tsuchida, S., Takemori, T., Terada, T. and Tsukamoto, M. (2017), "Mimebot: spherical robot visually imitating a rolling sphere", International Journal of Pervasive Computing and Communications, Vol. 13 No. 1, pp. 92-111.



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