Dan Kara with Robotics Trends recently posted an interesting interview with Byoung-Soo Kim, the president of Robotis (see link below). Robotis is most well known for the Bioloid kits that enable their customers to easily construct a number of different robots including walking bipeds, dogs, spiders, and dinosaurs. The Bioloid robotics kits have a good reputation in Korea where they have been used extensively in teaching and classroom situations. Now Robotis is starting to deliver the same kits to distribution channels overseas, and seems to be targeting a much more general class of potential customers.
It’s too early to tell how the Bioloid robot platform will fare. From what we saw when Robotis exhibited at the ROBO-ONE 9 competition in Tokyo two months ago, the kit looked quite interesting - interesting enough that we took the time to right up our initial impressions and post a short video clip (see link below.)
Robotis distributors, like RoboSavvy.com, have begun shipping the first Bioloid kits to early customers. It won’t be long now before the online forums start to yield up early observations and opinions. We’re really anxious to hear what experiences the first customers have with the kits.
The kits, using the unique Robotis Dynamixel servos, should present some interesting opportunities. Here’s how Mr. Kim described the Dynamixel approach:
“I should first mention the purpose of a Dynamixel, not about specific functionality. A Dynamixel is an element of a robot, designed to all robot developers to quickly build robots without specific knowledge of the underlying hardware. You can say that it is similar in concept of object-oriented functions in C++. With C++, software developers can use encapsulated routines without knowledge of their internal structure. In the same way, by considering a Dynamixel as a basic object, robot developers do not need to waste time dealing with details like the hardware or gain tuning. This allows them to build robots easily. You can see how this relates to the meaning the robotic Platform I described earlier. To play this kind of role, an ID is assigned per unit, input/output devices in units have their own addresses and a formal packet is used. Therefore, when expressing a Dynamixel, the word ‘networked servo’ is also used. Presently, it gives weight to the actuator, but there is also Dynamixels with functions of sensor.“
The concept sounds great, very similar to object oriented program design only with the same concepts applied to the servos and associated hardware. At the same time, unique concepts are often hard to sell since people have to change their deeply engrained perceptions about what a robot is, how it should be constructed, and how it should be programmed.
You can bet, Robots Dreams will be tracking their progress closely, and hoping for the best.