UMKC unofficially breaks Guinness World Record for largest robot dance

Sept. 27 event commemorated UMKC Libraries’ new book robot, began homecoming week

It’s official — the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) unofficially broke the Guinness World Record for the most people robotic dancing at the same time and place. At 7:15 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 27 at UMKC’s Stanley H. Durwood Soccer Stadium and Recreational Field, 658 people moved to a robot routine designed by Conservatory of Music and Dance students and emceed by Hot 103 Jamz DJ JT Quick. To view a video of the event, visit

Within the next several weeks, London-based Guinness World Records Limited will verify UMKC’s record. London’s Whitgift Independent School set the previous record of 429 in May.

The UMKC Student Government Association (SGA) invited the general public, students, faculty and staff to participate in the free event, which kicked off UMKC’s homecoming week and celebrated Miller Nichols Library‘s new robotic book retrieval system.

In addition to breaking a world record, participants donated to the YMCA Young Achievers program, which encourages minority high school students to pursue higher education and focus on professional careers.

“This event was about bringing the community together and celebrating the growth of UMKC,” said Klassie Alcine, SGA president. “The new robot, soccer field and Student Union have created a college life experience for students.”

The ceremony dedicating the Miller Nichols Library Robot Addition will take place at 3 p.m. today on the library’s Robot Plaza (west lawn), 800 E. 51st St. Chancellor Leo E. Morton will dedicate the building and Dean Bostick will announce the robot’s name, which UMKC faculty, staff and students selected. The event is open to the public and everyone is invited for a robot demonstration between 4 and 6 p.m.

Miller Nichols Library is the 17th academic library in North America to install a robotic storage and retrieval system and the first in the region. Once the robot is fully loaded, it will hold about 80 percent of the library’s collection, freeing up space for student, researcher and community use. Renovation of the original library structure is underway. By the spring of 2011, the library will feature more areas for individual and group study, collaborative learning areas, a new space for presentations and performances and an expanded cafe. Though a significant portion of the collection will be stored in the retrieval system, more than 150,000 books, music recordings and other recorded materials will remain on open shelving and available for browsing.

Items stored in the robot’s various-sized shelving and storage bins take up only about one-seventh of the floor space used by conventional open-stacked shelving. By constructing the robot as an addition to the library’s existing structure, materials can be housed on-site and remain easily accessible. The robot has been built to accommodate an additional 15 years of growth. Storage in the retrieval system is environmentally-friendly and secure.

The robot’s manufacturer, HK Systems, produced the following video to explain how the robot works:

The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 14,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a four-part mission: life and health sciences; visual and performing arts; urban issues and education; and a vibrant learning and campus life experience. For more information about UMKC, visit You can also find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and watch us on YouTube.

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