Dancing robot has an iPhone 3GS for a face

Meet Robochan, a desktop-sized dancing humanoid robot with an iPhone 3GS for a face. She can entertain you, interact with you, wake you up via the alarm function with a cute little robot dance, and twirl scallions like a pro. The face displayed on the 3GS screen is actually that of Hatsune Miku, the anime girl depiction of a vocaloid software created by Yamaha that continues to be a huge hit among Japanese web geeks. The music she's singing is Levan Polkka, a Finnish folk song. Videos of Hatsune Miku singing Levan Polkka became a huge meme on the web video site Nico Nico Douga, which I wrote an article about in Wired Magazine last year. The scallion-twirling, someone explained to me, is a symbol of dumbness &mdash only a really brainless person would stand there and twirl scallions all day. The creator of this robot calls himself Tamakin &mdash Japanese for Balls. [via Pink Tentacle]

About Lisa Katayama

I'm a contributing editor here at Boing Boing. I also have a blog (TokyoMango), a book (Urawaza), and I freelance for Wired, Make, the NY Times Magazine, PRI's Studio360, etc. I'm @tokyomango on Twitter.
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6 Responses to Dancing robot has an iPhone 3GS for a face

  1. Takuan says:


  2. btb says:

    Wow, that meme sure has been through the “telephone” game.

    It’s “Ievan”, not “Levan” and I hope everyone knows that the Hatsune Miku version is just a remix of the original with Orihime Inoue, scallion (or leek) and everything.

  3. PlushieSchwartz says:

    Yes, but it takes a genius to build a robot to twirl your scallions for you!

  4. caffeine addict says:

    So… is the iphone just a face or is it providing the CPU to drive the robot and the accelerometers to keep it upright?

  5. coop says:

    His Steveness must hate that – on a jailbroken phone. Woz OTOH would. I’m sure, love it.


  6. Francesco Fondi says:

    Robochan is basically a Kondo KHR2 controlled by an iPhone (both the robot and the iPhone got a serial port so they can be connected directly). The Apple phone is used as interface, control unit and as a sensor for the robot.

    In this old video is possible to get more details about the robochan appli that is the brain of this bot:


    Wow, seems yesterday when I saw the promo flyer of Vocaloid 2 Hatsune Miku (produced by Crypton) and posted it on my GAMERSWEB blog:


    It’s incredible how after 2 years Miku is still on top of Otaku memesphere. For me it’s not clear if she deserves her success to NicoNico or is it the opposite but it’s sure that thanks to “her” NicoNico is considered the MTV of the otaku generation…

    Miku is a clear example of the power of a 2D girl in Japan!

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