In the week between last Christmas and New Years, we had the great opportunity to visit Nao Maru and his family at their home in Hikone, Japan. They were kind enough to answer all of our endless questions about the development of King Kizer, the ROBO-ONE Champion robot for ROBO-ONE 10, why they feel so strongly about robotic competitions, and how that has lead to an amazing winning record at events here in Japan over the past two years.
Thanks to their patience and cooperation, the Summer issue of Robot Magazine, due to hit bookstores and news stands in the US on May 1st, will feature a four page, detailed article titled "Playing to Win!" - Nao Maru's core philosophy and a major driving force behind the success of Maru Family and their King Kizer series robots.
It's a well known fact that having the best technology is not a guarantee of winning. It's not unusual to find companies or individuals with the highest skill levels, or most advanced equipment, finishing in the middle of the pack. At the same time, other competitors with fewer resources or less capable equipment somehow manage to win consistently, often against incredible odds.
What does it really take to become a 'winner', and to keep winning time after time? What kind of balance between design, practice, equipment, team management, and spirit works best? What is the role of 'competition' - what does it teach you, and how does it motivate you to grow and improve?
Using an interview format, the article provides considerable insight into those questions while at the same time offering the rare opportunity to learn the technical details and design choices incorporated into one of the top ROBO-ONE champions.
In addition to the King Kizer/Nao Maru interview, the summer issue also contains several other exciting humanoid robot articles. For example, the cover article focuses on the full size Vecna Battlefield Extraction Assistance Robot (BEAR), Brian Nave provides a detailed review of the Kondo KHR-2HV humanoid robot kit, and Harry Mueller contributed an article on the new RCMART NX-25Q robot kit from Taiwan.
Robot Magazine Summer 07 Issue webpage (includes photos and table of contents for the issue)