Building One Of The ROBO-ONEs: Learning How To Dance (Video)

building one of the ROBO-ONEs and teaching it how to dance
We wanted to perform a practical test of our theories regarding expanding and modifying the KHR-1 robot motion sequences. Something pretty simple and straight forward, yet challenging enough that it would uncover any major problems with our approach. At the same time, we've gotten a little bored with all the home videos of human beings trying to dance the "Robot". So, why not try teaching Gulliver, a real robot, a few snappy dance moves?

Keep in mind that Gulliver, our Kondo KHR-1 ROBO-ONE J class robot, is still very young and totally a virgin. He only saw the light of day about a month ago, and hasn't under gone any modifications or redesigns - at least not yet. We haven't even installed the two gyro's we bought - that will come later.

We started with a very simple shuffle step to the left similar to the one that comes on the KHR-1 CD or can be downlaoded from the Kondo website.

To get more resolution, and to be able to have greater control over the motions, we pulled the motion CSV file into Excel, reformatted it to improve readability, then doubled the number of distinct positions or poses.

To fill in the new positions we used a very simple interpolation approach - we just averaged the commands for the positions just before and after each new row. Without changing any of the speed settings we extracted and downloaded the new motion data to Gulliver using the HearttoHeart software (we're currently using release v1.3 in Japanese).

While the static positions were fine, the dynamic movement turned out to be slightly more erratic. A little testing and adjustment - primarily by changing the speed settings, and Gulliver was pretty stable once again.

From that point onward, we made small adjustments to individual servos and speeds to get the robot's dance moves just the way we wanted.

In every case we made sure to make the changes we wanted to the Excel file first, then extract and reformat the data for transmission to the robot. That approach not only allowed us to retain the labels for each motion, it also allowed us to add additional notes and comments to each motion sequence. Over time we would like to build up an extensive library of poses, motions, and scenarios that can be quickly inserted into whatever move sequence we want to create at the time.

Here's the result of our labor:

He's certainly not a Sammy Davis Jr., Gregory Hines, or Fred Astaire. Still, we think that sooner or later Gulliver is going to turn into a dancing fool.


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