The 'AT' in the MANOI-AT01 robot's name stands for athlete, so what would be a more natural test of its abilities, and agility, than for it to practice a few soccer moves? With almost no prompting, and with a lot of enthusiasm, the Sugiura Family tossed a ball out onto the closest available soccer field (the floor in the family room) and let MANOI have at it.
Is MANOI AT01 a Robo-Beckham just waiting to be signed by a professional team? Perhaps not yet, but the potential is certainly there. See for yourself in the video below.
This particular demonstration took place on July 15th at the Sugiura Family's place about an hour from Tokyo.
We should mention that the MANOI AT01 in these photos and videos is functionally identical to the version that Kyosho plans to release to the market.
The only significant differences were that most of the frame brackets and hardware will be black in the production version. Also, these tests were run before MANOI's new external skins arrived. Mechanically, electrically, and software wise, the robot is the same.
You'll notice in the video that many of the robot's movements look much smoother than what we are used to seeing from other robots in this class. This is especially noticeable when MANOI poses then kicks the soccer ball. To give you a better feel for it we've included several slow motion repeats that show that the robot's kick is smooth and not jerky at all.
How was this achieved? We believe that the combination of the Kondo KRS-4024S HV servos and the RCB-3 controller was directly responsible. Earlier humanoid robot designs, like the KHR-1 and Robonova-1, used servos and controller combinations that moved effectively in 1 degree increments.
For example, the KHR-1 uses the KRS-786 ICS servo, rated at 180 degrees of operational rotation, along with the RCB-1 controller. The controller, naturally enough at the time, allows you to specify the servo position from 0-180 (or -90 to +90).
The gray brackets and other hardware will be black
for the production robots so that they don't detract
from the robot's shells/covers.
The RCB-3 controller, in contrast, allows you to change the scale factor used to control the servo positioning. While there are practical limits on how small a movement the controller/servo combination can handle, we've been told that MANOI AT01's effective resolution is 10 times better than the previous generation. A good estimate of the working range would be roughly 0 - 2,000. Since the 4024 servos are capable of 260 degree operational rotation (versus 180 degrees for the servos used in the KHR-1 and Robonova-1), the range is probably 0 - 2,600.
We haven't been able to confirm it yet, but we definitely suspect that there is also some interpolation taking place between the move positions, perhaps built into the RCB-3's internal software or the Heart To Heart 3 application that's used to create programs and scenarios for the robot.
A good comparison would be to think about the difference in the movement of a second hand on a regular quartz wristwatch versus the hand on a fine Rolex mechanical watch. The second hand on a quartz watch moves in tiny little jumps driven by its internal stepping motor. The Rolex second hand also moves in tiny increments only its jumps are more than 10 times faster and 10 times smaller, so it gives the appearance of incredible smoothness.
Here's what MANOI AT01 looked like as he practiced his soccer moves:
Project M Reports (English)
MANOI AT01 Website (Japanese)
Dynamizer's Official Website (Japanese)
Sugiura Brothers weblog (Japanese)