Ever since we first got a look at MANOI, the "Athlete Humanoid Robot" from Kyosho last fall, we've wanted to take a peek under the covers to see how this amazing robot was actually designed. Last Sunday evening, thanks to some thoughtful friends here in Tokyo, we had the opportunity to not only see MANOI up close, we were actually allowed to watch and photograph as the robot was completely disassembled.
Note: This is part 1 of a 4 part report. In part 2, we'll look at how MANOI comes apart and its overall body structure. Part 3 covers the basic robot mechanism including its limbs and servos. Part 4 features a video of the basic robot mechanism going through its motions.
Kyosho introduced the MANOI robot at the "Plamodel Radicon Show" here in Japan last September, and really wow-ed the press, including us. The robots movements are surprisingly lifelike and fluid. Its character is straight out of the pages of a Japanese manga. And, it's projected price point is just a little higher than what you would expect to pay for a Kondo KHR-1 or a Hitec Robonova-1 kit.
"Plamodel" = Plastic Model
"Radicon" = Radio Controlled
MANOI looks just like the robot stepped right out
At the time, many of the foreign press that picked up the news story incorrectly jumped to the conclusion that MANOI is simply a KHR-1 based robot enclosed in a cute shell. But as we found out on Sunday, and as you can see from the photos in this series, MANOI is much, much more.
In fact, the things that MANOI has in common with the KHR-1 design is that both of them are bipedal, and both of them use Kondo servo mechanisms. That's about where the similarity seems to end. MANOI traces its ancestry not from KHR-1, but from CHROINO, another robot creation by Tomotaka Takahashi of Robo Garage in Kyoto.
MANOI is incredibly cute and life like. Even Okamoto-san,
who has worked with MANOI for a long time, still breaks
into a big smile when he holds the robot.
Yuki Nakagawa, founder of RT Corporation invited Masayuki Okamoto, Kyosho's manager of the Robot New Project Division to bring the robot over so that some of the Robo-One robot builders and friends of RT could see what MANOI is all about. If MANOI thought he was just going out on the town to do a few dance moves and have a good time, he was in for a huge surprise.
We have to wonder if MANOI knew that in a little over an
hour he would be in pieces as the avid robot fans at the
RT Corporation hosted event took him apart screw by screw.
Yuki Nakagawa (right) founder of RT Corporation gets excited
knowing that she'll get to do most of the robot disassembly.
The robot's mechanical design and linkages are
extremely flexible and fluid - much more so than
what we are familiar with from experience with other robots.
Since many of the attendees were Robo-One competitors,
they just couldn't pass up the opportunity to pretend that
their robot had just defeated MANOI in the ring.
Before we got down to the serious surgery, Nakagawa-san
spent some time getting familiar with the robots movements
Even standing still, MANOI definitely has an attitude!
If you compare MANOI's posture between the various photos
you can get a feel for how lifelike its movements are. You can
get a better understanding of this from the video in the
fourth post in this series.
We're not sure, but Nakagawa-san may be trying to see
if MANOI can duplicate Arakawa's gold metal performance
in figure skating during the Torino Winter Olympics.
Part 4 of 4 - MANOI on video
Kyosho - MANOI Website (English)
RT Corporation Website - Robot training, kits, and accessories