*Updated with video:
Electronic parts maker Murata Manufacturing Co., Ltd., creators of the popular Murata Seisaku-kun (a.k.a. "Murata Boy") robot bicyclist, have developed a self-balancing robot unicyclist named "Murata Seiko-chan," it was announced on September 23.
The 50-centimeter (20 in) tall, 5-kilogram (11 lb) Seiko-chan -- which Murata says is modeled after a female kindergartener -- features a pair of gyro sensors that detect her posture angle. A single wheel moves the robot forward and back, and a rotating flywheel in the chest helps turn the unicycle left and right and maintain balance. In addition to ultrasonic sensors that detect and measure the distance to potential obstacles, Seiko-chan is equipped with built-in Bluetooth capabilities and an embedded camera that transmits live video.
According to Murata's press release, Seiko-chan is described as Seisaku-kun's younger paternal cousin. Born in Shiga prefecture on September 23 (and thus a Virgo), the "active but very shy" robot enjoys practicing her unicycle skills in the park. Her dream is to cycle the world with Seisaku-kun.
In her first public appearance, Seiko-chan will ride alongside Seisaku-kun at Japan's upcoming CEATEC trade show.
(Video of cousin Seisaku-kun demonstrating his bicycling skills)