Modeled after it's larger brother, the famous HRP-2 Promet humanoid robot developed at the Japan Advanced Industrial Science and Technology Institute (AIST), the HRP-2m Choromet robot is smaller in size, yet retains a lot of the functionality and performance at a fraction of the cost.
Starting with the Promet example, and taking advantage of a technology transfer of core software from AIST, Chromet was developed by joint cooperation between the institute and four private companies. And, it turns out that Jin Sato played a key role in the design, programming, and release of the robot for sale. When we visited Jin at his workshop in Tsukuba recently, he fired up one of the Choromet robots and put it through its paces for our camera.
The full sized Promet robot is capable of achieving some amazing performance, including 3D vision and object recognition, strikingly realistic dancing, or more mundane tasks like opening the refrigerator and retrieving a cold beverage of your choice.
But all of that functionality doesn't come cheap. Most universities, research labs, and private companies can't afford the significant expense and expertise involved. And, frankly, a lot of the research AI and robotics projects don't really require a full size robot. By downsizing the robot to approximately 1/5 scale while retaining as much of the core functionality as possible, the developers have come up with a very function rich robotics research platform at a fraction of the cost.
The Choromet robot stands 35 cm tall, tips the scales at 1.5 kg, yet has 20 degrees of freedom. As Jin explains in the video below, its feet include special triaxial force sensors in addition to accelerometer and gyroscope sensors.
The robots specially designed miniature controller uses Linux (ARTLinux) and supports the basic AIST software including the well known OpenHRP package.
Size comparison between the Choromet (left), one of Jin's earlier humanoid creations, and MIBO in the background.
How well does the robot perform? Judge for yourself. The voice in the background belongs to Jin:
AIST HRP-2m Choromet webpage (English)