Flash News Report [Tokyo, Japan 9/24/2009]
RT Corporation, a leading developer of custom robotic systems, as well as a major distributor for hobby and research robot development kits, officially announced the release of RIC, a 1.2 meter tall, highly functional, humanoid robot that may even give ASIMO a run for his money.
RIC, which stands for “Robot Inside Character” is approximately the size of a small boy, roughly 1.2 meters tall and 95 cm shoulder height. The standard configuration weighs 7 kg, and is equipped with 20 servos (DOF) that can easily be expanded to 30 DOF (see photo below) as the application requires.
Utilizing the latest Futaba Robot servo motors, the robots ability to walk in a stable, realistic manner is really surprising. For example, it can get up from a prone position laying on the floor and stand up straight without busting a sweat, or seeming to strain in the least. While the smaller ROBO-ONE type humanoids find this type of move relatively easy, as the robots weight and size increases the “wake-up” move becomes more and more difficult. Major Japanese university robotics research labs felt that achieving satisfactory performance levels required developing extremely expensive custom motors and sensing systems.
However, utilizing their years of humanoid robot development experience, and working closely with the Futaba robot servo group, RT was able to bring the base configuration RIC robot to market at a price of 2,00,000 yen (USD$20,000) which is approximately 10% of the university creations.
According to Yukiko Nakagawa, RT’s founder and representative director, the initial target customer for RIC will be event and exhibition companies who will utilize it to promote festivals, new store openings, and other special events and promotions. The company has designed RIC so that it’s exterior appearance can be changed in minutes, and it can be easily reprogrammed with different movements, sounds, and other character behaviors.
Unlike ASIMO, RIC can be quickly deployed without a large support staff or other equipment. In fact, Ms. Nakagawa told us that she personally has delivered RIC to venues and operated it by herself.
RT will be showing off RIC’s ability this weekend at the Robot Festa in Toyama, and at the end of November at the IREX (International Robot Exhibition) in Tokyo.
RT Corporation RIC Webpage