Miuro iPod robot gets lifelike dance upgrade

We've seen the oddly-shaped ZMP Miuro before – the bonbon-like iPod speaker dock has a WiFi connection built in and can follow you around the house playing your music.  Of course, you could also record the sound of a nagging partner to give you that "married two years and the gloss is wearing off" feeling.  Well, ZMP have been beavering away behind the scenes and giving Miuro the smarts to better justify that stonking $900+ pricetag: the gift of creative dance.

At a demo on Thursday engineers showed the prototype conjuring up its own dance routines, spinning and pirouetting according to a new "chaotic itinerancy" software that uses the same mathematical patterns as a bee uses while hovering around a flower.  Yes, that sounds daft, but the upshot is that Miuro now moves more freely and spontaneously, turning it from a hifi on wheels into a virtual pet of sorts.

Further developments include the spooky – but good for the lazy – alarm clock mode, where Miuro trundles into your room to wake you up and then dashes away before you can hit the snooze button, and the beginnings of the technology for the device to seek out people to play music to.  A little like a child wanting to show you its latest painting, only less of an artistic travesty (unless your iPod is full of David Hasselhoff tracks).

As an aside, apparently ZMP have only shipped 500 of the original Miuro, a fact probably related to the very high price compared to most iPod accessories.  There's no set date for the new version to ship, nor word as to whether existing models can be upgraded with the dance features.

Japanese robot dances to iPod music [Here, we got news!]