Yes, We Dance! "Smarter Inclusive Dance" Performance in Tokyo

Tohoku University Professor Yasuhisa Hirata, together with long-time collaborator Professor Eric Monacelli from the University of Paris-Saclay in France, recently co-hosted an event in Tokyo titled "Yes, We Dance!"

The performance demonstrated Hirata's "Smarter Inclusive Dance" and Monacelli's "Volting" techniques - both of which use AI robot technology to enable people to dance together, regardless of their age or the presence of disability.

Musicians Alain de Campos (drums) and Rina Kohmoto (piano) accompanied members of the NPO Minna no Dance Field - Hiroko Nishi, Yukiko Akita and Hinano Toda - in the performance, which featured new dance expressions that combine AI robot technology and music.

"Smarter Inclusive Dance" is a project funded by the Japan Science and Technology Moonshot R&D Programme, whose mission is to develop adaptable and flexible AI robots that can lead to a more inclusive and vibrant society by 2050.

"Our ultimate goal is to create AI-enabled robots that are accessible and adaptable, that can provide optimal assistance to their users," said Hirata, who is the national project manager. "We want to make it possible for everyone to actively participate in life by using AI robots anytime, anywhere and without anxiety."

Ahead of the performance in Tokyo, a two-day workshop was held in October at the Graduate School of Engineering on Aobayama campus. Hirata and members of the Moonshot project, as well as Monacelli's Volting team, shared updates of their work.

They also discussed the future of robotics research and its application to life training and rehabilitation.

"Dancing is an exercise that stimulates physical activity, and it also helps to improve the mental state of participants through the feelings of exhilaration and enjoyment that come from dancing. So this could be a new type of rehabilitation activity," said Hirata.

Enroute to Tokyo, the group visited the Chiba Rehabilitation Centre, and introduced the "Smarter Inclusive Dance" robot to physio therapists and nursing care professionals there. "People with disabilities, children, therapists and doctors at the rehabilitation center got to experience our robot, and the reaction was very positive," Hirata said.

Monacelli plans to take "Yes, We Dance!" to more countries, including South Africa, Canada, and Brazil next spring. The innovative project is also expected to be on display at a fan event on the sidelines of the Paris Paralympic Games in September 2024. Hirata says his team hopes to also demonstrate the Tohoku University robot at the Paris event.


(Regarding the research)
Moonshot Research Promotion Office, Department of Robotics
Tohoku University Graduate School of Engineering
Tel: 022-795-6940

(General enquiries)
Public Relations Office
Tohoku University School of Engineering
Tel: 022-795-5898

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