Friday, April 19, 2024

Robots turn into cheerleaders in baseball games in Japan

During the Coronavirus pandemic, many robots in Japan switch functions to help fight the spread of the virus. This time, to fill the empty stadium, these robots became cheerleaders in baseball games.

An impressive performance of “Spot”, the Boston Dynamics‘ robot dog, and “Pepper”, a semi-humanoid robot manufactured by Softbank Robotics, took place at the baseball stadium in Japan to support the players of the Japanese baseball team Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks. The cheerleader squad – consisting of 20 Pepper and 20 Spot robots – danced to the team’s fight song in the otherwise empty stadium before their most recent Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) game against Rakuten Eagles on July 7.

Some of these dancing robots wore Hawks caps and waved flags supporting the team.

No wonder the Pepper robot is encouraging the SoftBank Hawks team, considering this humanoid robot was developed by a subsidiary of SoftBank. This robot is already quite well known in Japan and is widely used in hotels and retail as well as helping care for elderly people.

For its part, Spot from Boston Dynamics is a four-legged robot capable of fulfilling a multitude of missions, according to the needs of its owners. This robot is usually used to supervise construction areas and collect data in dangerous areas. Recently, it was able to operate as a “shepherd dog” in New Zealand, helped enforce social distancing rules in Singapore, and carried out patrols on an oil platform in Norway. Aimed at businesses, it was recently launched for sale officially in the United States for a starting price of $74,500.

The cheerleading robot squad will continue to appear at the PayPal Dome stadium until July 31. Meanwhile, the NPB will begin testing to allow fans to watch live at the stadium on July 10.