D+ropop - the eager robotic mannequin
The unrelenting digitization of the commercial world has left few industries and professions untouched, with the latest robot from Japanese developer Eager looking set to make an impression on the world of modeling for the first time. Apart from being made almost entirely made of recycled corrugated cardboard and hence cheap to produce and eco-friendly, the D+ropop is incredibly elegant and will perform a host of new and existing modeling tasks very cost-effectively. At an all-up price of around USD$5500, the D+ropop will work 24/7, won’t throw tantrums, get involved in scandals and damage your brand, or be perpetually late.
D+ropop can obviously be customized, painted and re-purposed in many ways, though if there’s a weakness we can see, it’s that the whole model including eight lightweight motors weighs just 6kg, and may fray around the edges a bit if worked hard as a storefront mannequin.
I’d never really thought about the use of robots as mannequins prior to seeing the D+ropop at iRex – let’s face it, for all the strengths of a robot, elegance and gracefulness are not the first you’d think of, but the cardboard D+ropop was one of the first exhibits I saw when I walked into iRex and it stopped me in my tracks due to its graceful movements.
I can see robots playing a significant role in displaying clothes, and how they might hang and “fall” on a human. Like most Japanese robotic companies, it’s difficult to determine an exact cost of ownership for a robot at present, and all of them offer some form of rental – the best I could ascertain regarding D+ropop was that it can be rented for around US$1800 a week.