i-SOBOT: World's First i-SOBOT Robot Competition (Video)

Robot

We know from personal, first hand, experience that the robot builders in Osaka are totally over the top. They are, without a doubt, the most creative, most fast and loose, and most gung ho of all the Japanese humanoid builders.

So, it made total sense that the World's First i-SOBOT Robot competition events would take place during Robo Fight 6 last weekend. Thankfully, Holypong was there in person and captured the action in video (see below) for all of us to enjoy.


You might also enjoy:

  1. Humanoid Robot Remote Control Using a PS2 Game Controller (Video)
  2. Robo-One Competition
  3. i-SOBOT in Training
  4. Robo-Fight 3 – Osaka: Second Day Photos
  5. RCS BRAVE Robot Competition Rocks!
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5 comments

  1. Neat — thanks for the video! I have some questions: (1) Since i-SOBOT uses IR control, how are you able to control multiple bots close together without interference? (2) Can you control these little guys from any direction, or do you have to be (say) behind them? (3) Were there any i-SOBOT events here besides the foot race? Thanks again…

  2. Hi Joe,

    These are based on my experience since I wasn’t able to personally attend the competition in Osaka this time. Hopefully Holypong or one of the other participants will add their comments also.

    > (1) Since i-SOBOT uses IR control,
    > how are you able to control
    > multiple bots close together
    > without interference?

    Unlike the Robosapien and some other IR controlled bots, the i-SOBOT supports two separate IR channels that are switch selectable. As for running the whole course, my impression is that they created long motion sequences to just keep walking as long as possible.

    >(2) Can you control these little
    > guys from any direction, or do you
    > have to be (say) behind them?

    The i-SOBOT’s IR receiver is mounted in its right shoulder and is capped by a special plastic lens that helps to catch and focus the IR. It isn’t totally omnidirectional, but it is good. You can control it from almost any direction as long as you are higher than the robots shoulder, and don’t let its head block the signal.

    >(3) Were there any i-SOBOT events
    > here besides the foot race?

    I’ll try to find out, or perhaps some of our Japanese readers could answer. I really expect there to be a lot of i-SOBOT events at upcoming competitions. It’s a natural for simple games.

  3. Thanks for the answers, Lem. I really dig the i-SOBOT from what I’ve seen so far; it’s affordable, well-designed, and well-programmed.

    But I do wonder whether competitions for it will catch on, given that all units are pretty much identical. Anything you do to customize it (i.e. adding stuff) is likely to make it perform worse, and you as I understand it, it’s not really programmable. So that leaves only the skill of choosing which motions to execute, which is interesting, but for how long?

    I wish there were a fully programmable controller for it… then at least hobbyists could pit their custom motions against one another.

  4. > Thanks for the answers, Lem.

    You’re very welcome.

    > I really dig the i-SOBOT from what
    > I’ve seen so far; it’s affordable,
    > well-designed, and well-programmed.

    I think so. So far I have two of them – one Japanese and one US version.

    > But I do wonder whether competitions
    > for it will catch on, given that all
    > units are pretty much identical.

    Well, so are baseballs and bats… !8-)

    > Anything you do to customize it (i.e.
    > adding stuff) is likely to make it
    > perform worse,

    There are some folks that are trying very hard to prove you wrong on that point. We’ll see how successful they are. They have already disassembled and analyzed everything, including all the servo internals and signal protocols.

    > and you as I understand it, it’s not
    > really programmable.

    Out of the box that’s true enough. The basic functionality just provides for stringing commands together in a serial fashion. But…

    > So that leaves only the skill of
    > choosing which motions to execute,
    > which is interesting, but for how
    > long?

    Well, I know owners here and in the US that are still fascinated and exploring their i-SOBOTS more than a month after they first got it.

    By the way, the motions aren’t completely pre-programmed. For example, you can use the joysticks to move the arms to a position, then capture it into a program.

    > I wish there were a fully
    > programmable controller for it…

    There is, and you already own it… !8-)

    > then at least hobbyists could pit
    > their custom motions against one
    > another.

    Here’s the deal: the i-SOBOT IR format can be easily captured from the controller and broadcast from your PC to the robot. The vast majority of the i-SOBOT’s intelligence is in the controller. It’s a simple matter to replace that with a program running on a PC. I use the USBUIRT for both the capture and transmission, but there are other IR devices that would work just as well.

    At that point you can add any programming functionality you like – conditional branches, sub routines, etc. If you want to, and have the programming skill, you can add sensors, voice recognition, and even video.

    A purist (like you perhaps?) might argue that doing it remotely isn’t robotics in a true sense of the word. Perhaps, but there is still a tremendous amount that can be accomplished with this sub $300 device.

  5. Thanks again, that’s neat info I hadn’t known before. In particular, I didn’t know you could make and save your own poses — I thought you could only select from a built-in set of poses/motions. That does indeed open up a lot of opportunity for custom work. It’s definitely on my Christmas list!

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