People often write in to ask us which robot we think is "better." Of course, that's a very subjective question, and the answer depends a lot on what they expect of a robot and what they want to do with it in the future. They usually try to compare the number of degrees of freedom, or servo torque, or some other set of performance parameters that are more objective and easily measured.
That's fine, and with our engineering background we can definitely appreciate that approach. We do the same thing when we are considering the purchase of some new technology or a new robot. But, and this is a very important "but", the most critical question that needs to be answered is simply, "Is it a heck of a lot of fun to play with?"
Based on our own, personal experience, the answer to that question for the new MANOI AT01 robot is "Absolutely!"
Following an extensive review of the MANOI AT01 design and specifications, and after watching the Sugiura Family members put the robot through its paces, we took over the remote control and tried our hand in combat against Dynamizer Jr.
If there was any lack in performance it was totally due to our slow ability to figure out which button on the control triggered which robot function. Once we got the hang of it, and could operate the robot without having to constantly glance down at the remote control, playing with MANOI turned out to be a tremendous amount of fun.
The robot responds quickly and easily, almost instantaneously to your commands. It's a huge improvement over fixed motion sequences that were totally un-interruptible with earlier generations like the KHR-1 robot. You quickly get absorbed in the 'game' rather than getting frustrated because it doesn't do what you want it to. It's very much like playing a fast and challenging video game, only its for real, right there in front of you, and you are in control, in the game.
As Sugiura-san said right at the end of the video, "MANOI is a great robot." We definitely agree. No question.
Project M Reports (English)
MANOI AT01 Website (Japanese)
Dynamizer's Official Website (Japanese)
Sugiura Brothers weblog (Japanese)