Tomotaka Takahashi unveiled Murasaki on July 24th 2008. Murasaki Shikibu was an 11th century court lady and author of The Tale of Genji, which takes place during the Heian period (A.D. 794-1185). The robot is being displayed in a permanent installation at a new temple built to commemorate the tale, which is generally considered the world’s first true novel.
At a height of 31cm, and weighing only 1.5kg, Murasaki moves on wheels hidden beneath her sweeping kimono. Her blue eyes and red lips light up as she approaches her awaiting audience and recites the introduction to her famous tale, which is filled with romance and political intrigue. With a total of 8 DOF, she can move her head and arms, and holds a concealed fan in her right sleeve which can be unfurled. She was constructed to be compact and sturdy so as to require as little maintenance as possible despite a rigorous schedule of daily performances.
Robots have a futuristic and modern image, but Takahashi-san said that,”In the near future, general household robots will coexist with people, but you shouldn’t worry that traditional Japanese-style buildings like this (shrine) will disappear.” With a production period of only 5 months, Takahashi-san was tasked with producing a truly Japanese-styled robot, which makes use of traditional color combinations, hair, and dress to better complement the shrine.
- ROBO-GARAGE (official site JP/EN)
- Ishiyamadera (official site JP)
- Murasaki @ Impress Robot Watch (JP)
Impress Robot Watch