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:
Black Blade/Black Seed Official Website (Japanese)