Flower Robotics has increasingly become involved in work unrelated to robots to make ends meet. Palette, however, manages to carve a niche for itself as their most practical robot, serving as an animated mannequin. Posing in shop windows in Paris, New York art galleries, as well as the Leonardo Da Vinci exhibit in Milan, she gracefully models clothing from top designers and jewelry of the finest quality.
The award-winning robot’s face is featureless – a conscious decision to prevent on-lookers from focusing on her rather than the product she advertises. Besides her programmed movements she has infrared sensors which allow her to position herself towards onlookers, even serving as a surveillance camera connected to a security network. Male and child models are also in development.
”Palette is a mannequin. A mannequin’s function is to bring publicity to a store. Add robotics, and you have something new. If all store windows in town had robotic mannequins, it would be a first step in bringing robots to the masses.
”In my opinion, robots don’t belong in the lab. They can contribute to society. A robot doesn’t have to be something that costs tens of billions of yen. It might have only a few simple functions, but they can perform their roles far better than any person can.” -Tatsuya Matsui
Seeing Palette in motion, it’s hard to believe that animatronic mannequins are not yet commonplace. The main obstacle is price, but their goal is to reduce the cost to that of a standard mannequin. Unfortunately they have a long way to go judging by their prices, but if they manage to do it, it will surely make the future a more interesting and animated place.
On June 9th 2009, Flower Robotics began a rental service allowing interested parties to rent Palette for 4 days at a rate of 300,000 JPY (approximately $3,000 USD), or buy one for 5,000,000 JPY (~$50,000 USD).
[source: Impress Robot Watch]
- Flower Robotics, Inc. (official website EN/JP)
- SGI Palette official press release (EN) (JP)
- Palette @ Impress Robot Watch (JP)
Impress Robot Watch