Less than a year ago, Rook's Pawn was just a box of parts and servos in a Hitec Robonova kit box. Then Matt Bauer got his hands on the kit, assembled the robot, created some surprising kung fu/karate moves, then started hacking to improve it. A few months later, Rook's Pawn was climbing ropes and swinging from the trees.
The next stop was RoboGames 2006 in San Francisco, where the robot actually metaled. Not satisfied with what he had already accomplished, Matt completely redesigned Rook's Pawn from the ground up, adding additional DOF and functionality. Then he and his team (wife and brother-in-law) flew over to Japan to compete at ROBO-ONE 10. Now we're hearing rumors that Matt and Rook's have actually setup a real business back home in Defiance, and even have a machine tool or two on order. The most recent feather in their cap? Rook's Pawn, raising Matt's totally awesome gripper design high in the air (an act of defiance?) is currently featured on the ROBOT Magazine website banner in the same company with ASIMO! How cool is that?