Kondo, the Japanese humanoid robot kit company, is about to add a new robot kit to its already impressive line-up. In mid-December the new "KHR-1HV" humanoid robot kit is scheduled to hit store shelves in Japan.
Although the model name is similar to the popular KHR-1 robot, the KHR-1HV includes some really dramatic improvements to the KHR-2HV robot, as you can see from the preliminary Kondo 2007 robot catalog page below.
The KHR-1HV features 19 degrees of freedom with additional 2 DOF that allow the legs to rotate at the hip, the Kondo tub style foot/soles, KRS-4024SHV shoulder servos that have metal gears and a larger rotational range, and the full blown RCB-3 controller board.
These improvements position the KHR-1HV as a higher performance version of the KHR-2HV rather than just an upgraded KHR-1. And, as you might expect, the higher performance comes at a higher price. Although Kondo intends on releasing the robot kit as an 'open price' item, the target list price is 126,000 yen which positions it nicely between the KHR-2HV and Kyosho's MANOI AT01.
One other observation - the preliminary 2007 catalog doesn't have any mention of the original KHR-1 robot kit. We don't want to read too much into this, but it may indicate that Kondo is ready to phase out the classic kit that started the whole hobby humanoid robot revolution just a little over two years ago.
That doesn't mean that KHR-1 robots will become obsolete - far from it. In fact, original KHR-1 robots can be easily upgraded to take advantage of the RCB-3 controller performance improvements and ease of programming. We're currently in the process of upgrading Gulliver, our KHR-1 robot to use the RCB-3 board and will publish a detailed report as soon as we complete the project.
Kondo Robot Website (Japanese)