One of the most surprising and delightful robots that appeared at the 9th Robo-One competition held here in Tokyo on March 18-19th, 2006, was RAYERD-X (LAYERED-X) developed by Asurada. Its unique design allows it to reconfigure and transform itself into some really amazing configurations. At first it looks like a short tower, then becomes a carousel, then a walking spider, then into a tall biped battle robot. It can even transform an arm into a new leg and keep on fighting.
Asurada is no stranger to the Robo-One competitions, and entered the unique clear plastic bodied RAYERD robot design in Robo-One 8. This time around they made a complete and astounding departure from their earlier efforts and created RAYERD-X (pronounced LAYERED-X).
The robot is based on four extremities. We can’t call them arms or legs since they can transform into either, or into something else entirely. Each extremity consists of seven servos, giving the robot 28 degrees of freedom.
Ignoring the cost of the intense engineering and design work that went into the robot, the parts cost alone has to be around USD $3,000.
Unlike its predecessor, this robot uses a custom aluminum frame. It’s 50 cm. tall when standing erect, not including its antenna, and weighs just over 4 kg. (8.8 pounds.)
The user interface and control strategy must be quite interesting. After all, how does the operator control the robot when what was an arm suddenly has to be used as a leg or vice versa? We plan to dig into this in more detail and find out how Asurada has managed to solve that particular challenge as time and opportunities permit.
The robot really surprised the crowds, but may have puzzled the panel of judges to some extent. It’s hard to make a direct comparision between RAYERD-X and the more conventional robot designs. Nevertheless, it did capture the 24th position during the initial Demonstration phase of the Robo-One 9 competition and was awarded the Sunrise Special Prize.
Here’s a video of the robot in action that we took during its Demonstration for the official panel of Robo-One judges:
Asurada's RAYERD-X Website (Japanese)