EMMA-U0A Humanoid Robot: Small in Size, Big in Performance (Video)

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.

Related links:

Robo-Engine website (Japanese)


3 thoughts on “EMMA-U0A Humanoid Robot: Small in Size, Big in Performance (Video)

  1. Wow — I have so much to learn from this one! Please do tell us more about this robot, in particular the servos used. It should be a great inspiration to the Lynxmotion builders, who already have convenient ball-bearing joints to work with but often have to use lower-end servos. My own 4DOF robot is of this sort, but I didn’t imagine I’d be able to scale it up to something like this.

    One thing I noticed from the video was a fairly constant humming. My bot does this when one or more joints can’t quite reach the target position; usually it’s off by just a tiny bit, and whacking the robot shakes things loose enough for it to reach its position and stop humming. But, if what I hear in the video is the same thing, it seems that Nakano-san just ignores it, and his robot is clearly none the worse for wear.

    EMMA-U0A’s walking and side-stepping moves actually didn’t seem very efficient, but its other moves were beautiful. I especially love the way it gets back up from lying on its back. I also note that it tends to come to a high fighting stance, rather than a neutral position as most Robo-One robots do between moves. Seems like that would give it more stability against attack, just as with human fighters.

    Thanks for posting this, and please don’t stop there — we want those details!

    – Joe

  2. I live in the U.S. and was wondering if there was an English website for the EMMA /Nakano Robot. Can people purchase these robots online?? If so I would love to get one, and I’m sure many of my friends would buy one as well.

  3. Michael,

    This particular robot is a full custom design hand built, so unfortunately there isn’t any kit for it.

    There are quite a few humanoid robot kits available on the market now like the Kondo KHR-2HV and KHR-1HV, the Kyosho MANOI AT01 and PF01 models, the Hitec Robonova-“, and a bunch of others.

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