ROBO-ONE 10: Black Blade In Action (Video)

Robot
We've been a fan of Team Lilliac's robot creations from the first time we set our eyes on Black Seed. Our initial impressions were re-enforced when we had the chance to actually operate the robot at one of the monthly practice sessions here in Tokyo last April. Later in the summer, we watched (and video taped) as Black Seed almost completely dominated the Balloon Survival contest during the 1st Wonderful Robot Carnival.

But, like most of the top ROBO-ONE robot builders, Shibata-san is never content to just rest on his laurels and past achievements. For ROBO-ONE 10, he redesigned and improved his robot, and christened it with a new name, "Black Blade." As we noted in our coverage of the competition for ROBOT Magazine (Winter 2006 issue), Black Blade's flexibility, strategy, and effective use of his grippers/arms was quite impressive, as you can see in the video below. 

Black Seed stood 42 cm tall and weighed 2.5 kg. The robot featured 24 degrees of freedom (DOF) using 7 servos in each leg and 5 in each arm (including the grippers). All the servos were Kondo KRS-2350HV powered by a MH-Ni 10.8 volt, 1300 mAh battery pack. To maintain stability, the robot used two KRG-3 analog gyros. The onboard controller was a RCB-3, which hadn't been released for public sale at the time.

Shibata-san hasn't posted detailed specifications for Black Blade yet, but it is possible to make some educated guesses based on the ROBO-ONE database, photos, and videos.

While the controller and gyros probably haven't been changed, but the servos appear to be either KRS-4014HV or KRS-4013HV models (the external dimensions are identical with the KRS-4024HV) which would provide smoother operation, improved torque, and a wider rotational range of movement.

Black Blade is approximately the same height as Black Seed, but only weighs 2.2 kg. The servo wire routing has been improved, and Shibata has noted on his website that the routing follows the general scheme used for the MANOI AT01 that we like so much.

One change that really caught our attention is the foot/sole. Black Seed had a unique leaf spring type foot assembly that gave it a lot of bounce and realism when it walked. For Black Blade, Shibata seems to have stuck with the more standard Kondo KHR-2HV sole plate. This may have been a time constraint issue, or it could be related to the stricter foot ratios/dimensions imposed by the ROBO-ONE committee.

And, we were extremely pleased that Black Blade uses the same "Bring them on!" fighting gesture with his hands as Black Seed. Although we've seen it numerous times, we still chuckle every time the robot taunts his opponents with the defiant gesture.

All of Shibata-san's design efforts paid off well. Although the robot didn't win the ROBO-ONE 10 Championship, it did manage to finish in 4th place, and had some great bouts along the way. Here are a few excerpts from some of the final bouts:


Related links:

Black Blade/Black Seed Official Website (Japanese)

You might also enjoy:

  1. ROBO-ONE Robot Profile: Black Seed (Video)
  2. Black Seed Specifications Updated
  3. Robo Country IV: ONIMARU in Action (Video)
  4. ROBO-ONE Action From RoboGames 2006 (Video)
  5. Asimo In Action (Video)
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5 comments

  1. Neat bot! However, it seems to fight mainly by falling on the other bot. That’s something I’ve seen a lot in the Robo-One videos, and it’s always disappointing. I wonder if they should change the rules such that a knock-down doesn’t count if your own bot goes down too.

  2. Joe,
    Given the laws of physics and the current state of the art, it would be difficult to make the rule change you suggested, though there has certainly been a lot of discussion about it.

    For ROBO-ONE 11 next March we can expect to see more realistic (human-like) bouts. The new regulations include weight classes and some limiting ratios. Among other things, that will probably result in shorter arms/reach, which will force the robots to fight at closer quarters and tone down all the diving. There’s a lot of discussion about it going on via the Japanese blogs right now.

  3. Thanks for the response, Lem! It’s good to hear that there is concern about this. I’m sure they’ll make the needed adjustments.

  4. Do Robo-one operators have to write their own movement routines from scratch, servo position instructions and all? Or is there a library they can use or share?

    These two look like lobsters with their giant claws!

  5. Robert,
    About movement routines, it depends on their design. Some of them start off with a kit like the KHR-1 or KHR-2HV and modify it, so they can edit the routines. If they design from scratch, then they have to build their own routines. It’s not too bad if they use servos and a controller that support capturing the positions.

    However, some of the servo manufacturers don’t support that capability so you have to manually position each and every servo – which can be a real pain.

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