Keepon is a small yellow robot designed to perform emotive and attentive exchange with human interactants (especially children) in the simplest and most comprehensive way. Keepon was developed by Hideki Kozima (小嶋 秀樹 Kojima Hideki?) of the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) in Kyoto, Japan. Keepon has four motors, rubber skin, two cameras for eyes and a microphone in its mouth. In appearance it resembles a yellow snowman or a Peeps chick.
In the context of Kozima's "Infanoid" project, Keepon is used to study the underlying mechanisms of social communication. Its simple appearance and actions make it possible for infants and children to interact with it as well as adults. The robot, usually under the control of a teleoperator, interacts with children in schools and remedial centers for developmental disorders.
Keepon achieved popularity after being featured on BoingBoing, Engadget, Metafilter, YouTube, and other web sites in April 2007. The small robot was depicted dancing to the song "I Turn My Camera On" by the band Spoon. Numerous video responses and comments were made by fans who imitated the robot's dancing or expressed their admiration. The original video was made by Marek Michalowski of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, US, after programming Keepon to dance according to the rhythm of music. The dancing behaviors were developed in the context of Michalowski's "BeatBots" project, the goal of which is to study the rhythmic properties of social interaction. More recently, Keepon has been featured in the official music video for the band Spoon's single "Don't You Evah".
Keepon is not available for purchase at this time.
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