"Life is what happens when you are making other plans." That has turned out to be particularly true this week, and as a result we haven't made much progress in assembling our MANOI robot for the past couple of days. No technical hang-ups - it's just that there haven't been enough hours in the day. The good news is that it's Friday morning here already so we should be able to finish the mechanical assembly and testing this weekend (fingers crossed).
In the meantime several things have taken place on the MANOI front that we think you might find interesting.
SHARED MANOI MOTION FILES
One of Kyosho's key objectives with the MANOI AT01 is to build a strong user community around the new robot. They have already announced the Kyosho Athlete Humanoid Cup competition scheduled for December 10th here in Tokyo. Of course, we are planning to enter, but haven't decided which specific events to compete in.
The 5 meter race will have two classifications - RC and autonomous. The RC competition should draw a lot of entries, but there should be a lot less competition in the autonomous category (and we might have a better shot at taking home some prizes) but the technical challenges are far from trivial.
The Demonstration event is also very appealing. It might be a great opportunity to do something very creative, especially since we can draw on a lot of experience outside of Japan that might not occur to or be available to many of the competitors. On the other hand, our Japanese language ability, especially presentation skills in Japanese, is pretty limited. In any case, we still have some time to make up our minds before the entry deadlines.
In order to help the new Kyosho robot owners get up to speed as quickly as possible, they have started to post downloadable motion files on the MANOI AT01 website (see links below). The initial motion files have all been contributed by Kyosho, and they are encouraging all users to submit motions they want to share. Kyosho has committed to testing the user submitted motions and will then make them available on the website.
Personally we're really excited about the opportunity to share motion files with other users. Creating new motions from scratch is challenging, perhaps one of the most challenging aspects of working with the Robo-Ones. But, if we can download a motion file that some other user has already created and then use it as a base to modify, then it should make things a lot simplier.
It should also accelerate the learning process quite a bit. There have been many times when we watched a robot execute some really trick moves and wondered how it was done. If we can share the motion files then we can learn by looking at real examples rather than trying to puzzle things out of the manual.
MANOI ASSEMBLY MANUAL ONLINE
With other products we've purchased in the past, the manual can be an oversight or given short shrift. For example, we absolutely love Sony digital cameras (all most all of the Robots Dreams photos and videos were shot with Sony cameras). But, the manuals supplied by Sony are a total waste of time at best, and at worst they just create a lot of user confusion and frustration. When we have a problem or want to know how to use one of our Sony products the first place we visit are the online review sites and user forums.
Kyosho, with the MANOI AT01 manual, has gone to the other extreme. As we have mentioned before, the assembly manual is extremely through and detailed with lots and lots of diagrams and illustrations. In total there are 104 pages covering everything from parts lists, exploded parts assembly drawings, initial software setup (the full software manual is a separate document that is also supplied with the kit), preparing the body shells, and even sections on future option kits that haven't been formally announced yet. It's a real tour-de-force.
Surprisingly, and it was a very pleasant surprise, Kyosho has made the entire assembly manual available on the MANOI AT01 website for download. The total manual, as it ships on the robot kits CD, is a 45 megabyte pdf file. For the online download version Kyosho has gone to the trouble of splitting the manual up into a series of sections with their own pdf files.
MANOI DEMONSTRATION EVENTS
Here in Japan, the Kyosho robot group has been extremely active promoting the PF01 and AT01 robots. Almost every week, and most weekends, they have put on demonstrations at different public events, exhibitions, and shows. This coming weekend they have a two day event scheduled in the Meguro area of Tokyo, and the following weekend the MANOI robots will be strutting their stuff at the ROBO-ONE 10 event in Nagai. If you happen to be in the area, please stop by and check out the new robots. It goes without saying that we will, and will post about it here on Robots Dreams.
Other MANOI Articles & Information (English)
MANOI AT01 Motion Webpage (Japanese)
MANOI AT01 Motion Downloads (Japanese)
MANOI AT01 Assembly Manual Downloads (Japanese)
MANOI Robot Demonstrations September 9th & 10th - Tokyo (Japanese)