MANOI – Athlete Humanoid Robot – Under The Covers – Part 1 of 4

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 humanoid robot from kyosho
 MANOI looks just like the robot stepped right out
 a manga.

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 humanoid robot from kyosho
 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.

manoi humanoid robot from kyosho
 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.

manoi humanoid robot from kyosho
 Yuki Nakagawa (right) founder of RT Corporation  gets excited 
  knowing that she'll get to do most of the robot disassembly.

manoi humanoid robot from kyosho
 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.

manoi humanoid robot from kyosho
 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.

manoi humanoid robot from kyosho
 Before we got down to the serious surgery, Nakagawa-san
 spent some time getting familiar with the robots movements
 and flexibility.

manoi humanoid robot from kyosho
 Even standing still, MANOI definitely has an attitude!

manoi humanoid robot from kyosho
 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.

manoi humanoid robot from kyosho
 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.

 In Part 2, we take a close look as MANOI is completely disassembled, and in Part 3 we'll show you the robots underlying structure and servos.

 Related links:

Part 4 of 4 - MANOI on video

Kyosho - MANOI Website (English)

RT Corporation Website - Robot training, kits, and accessories


2 thoughts on “MANOI – Athlete Humanoid Robot – Under The Covers – Part 1 of 4

  1. Does Manoi have a serial port that would attach a Pocket PC?

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