The simple bloblike shape of “Keepon” belies its subtle complexity. Inside the dancing blob are 4 motors that control its side-to-side and forward and back head bobbing, the rotation, and the up and down motion as Keepon interacts with people. Using cameras located in the eyes, Keepon is able to recognize faces and actively interact with people using dancing or other supportive gestures to display simple emotions. By looking at an object, Keepon can also direct attention to something bright or colorful.
This little robot is a large advancement in social robotics and is being used to help developmentally challenged kids learn to interact with their environment. I couldn’t help but wonder… is Keepon a boy or a girl? I struggled and eventually had to use “Keepon” to describe the lovable robot instead of he/she/it for lack of a better word.