The television camera crews were almost bumping into each other trying to capture the best shots at the ROBO-ONE J and Eagle competitions held earlier this month in Kawasaki. One crew, from the Osaka area, was taping a special that will feature Maru Family and their King Kizer series of ROBO-ONE champion robots. The crew, armed with their professional video equipment, followed members of the Maru Family almost everywhere, except into the restrooms.
Tokyo TV also had a camera crew at the event, and some of the video they shot ended up as part of a 30 minute special program broadcast on Thursday this past week. The program was positioned primarily as entertainment, and featured typical Japanese television 'talento' doing role play pretending to be robot competitors. Not only was it a lot of fun to watch, it also gave some interesting insight into the relative strengths and weaknesses of the robots.
The basic program premise was a Robot Competition or festival made up of three events - a sprint, a fight, and an obstacle course.
Each of the three 'talento' were given a ROBO-ONE robot to manage, and for each event they had to compete against a different ROBO-ONE champion that was specially selected. Of course, as you might expect, the game was rigged, but that just added to the fun and excitement.
The three events were a Robo-Dash, Robo-Fight, and Obstacle race.
Each of the robots were introduced with a chart that gave a really useful and easy to understand overview. For example, Retro (Sugiura Brothers) was shown as the Dash Champion, won the ROBO-ONE Special Dash, 35 cm tall, weighs 2.2 kg, approximate development cost was 500,000 yen, and is strongest in speed and balance.
Each of the 'talento' were matched with a ROBO-ONE robot with unique characteristics. Shinagawa-san, for example, controlled Pento who is well known for its ability to speak. At the appropriate moment during the competition, Pento turned to face Shinagawa-san, and encouraged him by saying, "Good Job Shinagawa-san!"
WR-07, the amazing robot that transforms itself into a car then back into a humanoid, got a chance to show off some of its unique abilities in the sprint and fight events. The robot is the brainchild of Nakamura-san from Himeji Soft Works, but was piloted during the program by Shoji-san. The producer, putting the emphasis on humor, had Shoiji put the robot into car mode to win the sprint against Retro, and used a similar strategy against Majingaa in the fight event. Of course that strategy wouldn't be allowed during the official events, but it worked quite well and was very entertaining on the program.
"Petit", created by the Toin Phonix Humanoid Team, was piloted by Kato-san during the program events, and wowed viewers by doing a robot break dance routine.
Majingaa put in a 'great' performance, as always, as the robot to beat in the Robo-Fight event. As you can see from the chart, the robot's design is extremely well thought out. The only parameter that was a little less than the max was balance. The 'estimated' development cost shown on the chart is 2,000,000 yen, which isn't surprising at all given all the time and effort the robots creators have put into it over the past few years.
During the official ROBO-ONE Special competition, Retro won first place in the dash, and Dynamizer literally aced the Eagle event. As a result, the Sugiura Family ended up being very high profile in the TV Tokyo television special.
Dynamizer has a really surprising overall balance of performance parameters that allows the robot to really excel at robo-sports. Still, we have to believe that the 3,000,000 yen estimated development cost is really understated when we consider all the technology, know-how, and expertise involved.