Every Fall the ROBO-ONE committee stages a series of promotional competitions called the ROBO-ONE Gran Prix. Most of the events are held in conjunction with a regional technology related exhibition or show, and the intent is to generate public awareness and enthusiasm for robotics in general, and ROBO-ONE specifically. Participation in the Gran Prix events is limited to only the top robot competitors like Yokozuna Great, Dynamizer, Metallic Fighter, and a few others.
This time around there's a new kid on the block - King Kizer, the ROBO-ONE 10 champion and crowd pleaser created by Nao Maru and the Maru Family. The final competition is scheduled for this Thursday afternoon at the Tokyo Dome City complex, and should turn out to be very exciting. According to the official website, it will be standing room only - partially because of the expected crowds, but also because no chairs will be provided for the audience.
In preparation to cover the event, we thought it would be a good idea to go back and review King Kizer's performance at September's ROBO-ONE 10 event (see video below).
If you are not already familiar with the ROBO-ONE competition structure, we need to explain that all the competitors are required to put on a 2 minute, autonomous demonstration of their robots abilities and special skills in front of a panel of expert judges. Only the robots that capture the top 32 scores are allowed to move on to the next competition level.
During their demonstrations, no remote controls or remote operation is allowed. However, the operator can have the robot pre-programmed to stop and wait for sensor signals at appropriate points. Maru-san used this technique very effectively during King Kizer's demonstration through the use of an optical sensor, as you can see in the video.
He is also an expert showman. The key theme of the ROBO-ONE 10 event was to do the 'rabbit hop'. Most competitors were happy if they could actually get their robot to do something 'close enough'. A few of them pushed the curve quite a bit. For example, Neutrino-X did rabbit hops and was able to simultaneously rotate it's body by 90 degrees or more while airborne.
Maru-san decided to push things even further in hopes of appealing to the judges. He had King Kizer rabbit hop up a set of stairs, then jump off the edge and successfully land on its feet.
Maru Family Website (Japanese)
Neutrino-X ROBO-ONE 10 Demonstration (Japanese)
ROBO-ONE Gran Prix Website (Japanese)