What happens when an experienced video game animator, with extensive experience and a natural instinct for complex mechanical linkages, gets their hands on a humanoid robot for the first time?
The simple answer, as you can see from the video clip below, is total magic.
A little over a week ago, we were chatting with I-Wei from Crabfu Steamworks, the creator of those wonderful steam robots, at RoboGames 2007. We know from his comments and questions that he didn't have a humanoid robot built then, but was seriously considering the Kondo KHR-2HV as a way to get his feet wet in our favorite hobby/sport.
After the competition ended, I-Wei didn't waste a moment and plunged headfirst into building and experimenting with humanoids. He did get a KHR-2HV (via Trossen Robotics), and must have been burning the midnight oil, because his "first walk test" is amazingly good. Extremely good actually.
Pay special attention to the way the feet lift, and the angle of the soles as they move. Really sweet. This probably comes from his long experience as a top level video game animator.
Keep in mind that I-Wei's KHR-2HV is still a stock kit at this point. He's using the standard RCB-3J controller and Heart to Heart 3J for all the motion sequence creation and programming. And, he's confirmed that he doesn't read any Japanese.
What will he be able to do with his new humanoid after a few weeks or months of practice? We can hardly wait to see! We'd love to put him together with a bunch of the top robot builders/hobbyists here in Japan to see what new tricks and techniques they come up with together.