Our next major competition is coming up in just a few weeks - the Kyosho Athlete Humanoid Cup event in Tokyo. So, it's time to get really serious and do some tuning on the performance of Mondai-Noid, our MANOI AT01 robot. He's been doing pretty well, but there were a few areas that we thought could benefit from some 'professional' advice. Luckily, on Saturday we were able to participate in two excellent classes given by Kondo at their Robo-Spot facility in Akihabara.
The classes, and the results we were able to obtain with our robot, were much better than we had expected. Good enough to win a metal at next month's competition? Perhaps - that remains to be seen. Nevertheless, the classes gave us a lot of new techniques, and confidence. And, more important, Mondai-Noid is beginning to act like a real 'competitor'.
In addition to providing conveniently located practice facilities, and expert consultation by the Kondo staff, the new Robo-Spot facility offers regular classes covering different aspects of Kondo and Kondo-based robots.
Yesterday's morning class focused on the basics of motion creation for robots using the Kondo RCB-3 controller. Although we were already familiar with a lot of the material, there were lots of pleasant surprises and 'wow' moments that suddenly made sense out of things that had been puzzling us from the manual.
To use a metaphor, it was as if we had been able to ride a bicycle, but suddenly learned how to shift the gears. The RCB-3 motion creation technique and strategy is actually a pleasure rather than a frustration, once we were able to grok it. We'll cover the specifics in some upcoming posts here on Robots Dreams.
The afternoon class covered two major topics - the remote control setup and use with the RCB-3; and using gyros with RCB-3 programs. Both sections of the class were useful, but the most exciting and useful learnings came when we covered gyro operation. The KRG-3/RCB-3 combination is a huge improvement over older designs. Of course, the final result is better robot stability - that's to be expected. But it's much more than just improved stability. Kondo has managed to make it much, much easier to integrate gyros into the robots motion programs - and to change their effect dynamically under program control.
Here's a short example of Mondai-Noid's walking ability and gyro action after graduating from yesterday's classes. The simple walking motions in the beginning of this video were created from scratch during the morning class in about 30 minutes. The faster walking motion from Kyosho can be downloaded from the AT01 website.
We want to offer special thanks to Naoko Hikima, our instructor for the two classes. In addition to managing Kondo Robo-Spot, Hikima-san is also a very accomplished ROBO-ONE competitor and the creator of Kumataro - the cute bear robot we featured in a ROBO-ONE 10 video post about a month ago.
Kondo RoboSpot Facility Website (Japanese)
Kyosho Athlete Humanoid Cup Competition (Japanese)