When we first saw EMMA-U0A at the ROBO-ONE 10 competition last September in Nagai, Japan, we were certainly intrigued. The robot, created by Hirofumi Nakano with Robo-Engine, is relatively small in weight and stature, but doesn't make any compromises in performance. It turns out that Nakano is based at the Chiba Institute of Technology near Tsudanuma - very close to where we live. So after work one evening last week we were able to link up for a closer look, some video footage, and a run down on the robots development history.
It's going to take us a while to sort through it all. Nakano's attention to detail and technical design skill is really surprising, and we definitely want to do it justice. In the meantime, we have put together a short introductory video below showing EMMA-U0A in action.
To put Nakano's robot creation in proper perspective, it's only 22 cm high, weighs 850 g, yet is fully functional and has 23 degrees of freedom (DOF) and uses relatively inexpensive GWS servos. But just because the servos were low cost doesn't mean that the robot design quality was compromised in any way. Nakano even went to the extreme of custom designing and machining ball bearing races for all the critical, load bearing joints.
Here's what EMMA looks like going though one if its preprogrammed scenarios. Note: at one point in the video clip the robots arms come together in front like it is trying to grasp something, then it lifts and goes over backwards. For demonstrations Nakano puts an empty plastic bottle in front of EMMA at that point and has the robot execute a wrestling back-drop move that's really neat to watch.
We'll be writing up all of the details and background soon.
Robo-Engine website (Japanese)