Rook's Pawn III started off life as a stock, off the shelf Hitec Robonova-1 humanoid robot kit. Over the past year and a half, Rook's has evolved tremendously - to the point that Rook's creator, Matt Bauer, feels as if he has redesigned the robot from the ground up at least two or three times, including redesigning and replacing almost all of the metal frames and other hardware.
And, all of his hard work and dedication has paid off well. Rook's took home metals from both RoboGames 2006 and 2007, and has even made the trek all the way across the planet to join in the activities at last year's ROBO-ONE 10 competition in Japan.
Matt has a two page article in the Fall 2007 issue of Robot Magazine covering the evolution of Rook's, so we won't go into a lot of additional detail in this post, but we do want to point out a few items of interest.
First, the answer to the question everyone always asks - no, the skull isn't real, it just looks amazingly realistic. It's actually resin cast.
The new double servo knee design is surprisingly fast. Logically we knew that since each servo only has to travel half the total rotation. But, seeing it in person at RoboGames this June made it clear how important that design change really is.
We were also very impressed with Matt's use of color coding, especially the way it made it easier to keep oriented in the heat of competition. So, needless to say, we're incorporating a similar blue/red color code into our robots and the supporting software we've developed.
Matt has implemented a robust gyro stabilization system for Rook's that can compensate for some rather abrupt moves and external forces. It's very important since the current Rook's version is quite a bit taller than a Robonova. Here's Matt giving a little demo of the gyro implementation for Rook's.