Although we're fascinated by robotic technology in the rapid advances being made, we have started to take for granted some of the amazing tools and technology that have already become integrated into our daily lives. Things that would have been astounding to people just a couple of decades ago, are now commonplace to the point that we use them almost without noticing how wonderful they are.
A good example is the Internet and some of the social networking applications like Facebook. Even though I live just outside of Tokyo, and Andrew at Trossen Robotics is on the other side of the world near Chicago, we can, and do, chat regularly online using Facebook almost as if we were next-door neighbors.
Here's some snippets from our latest chat that included an update on several exciting projects and new products that are in the works at Trossen:
Andrew: heya Lem, how goes?
Lem: Hi Andrew. It's going fine. How about on your side of the world?
Andrew: working day and night to be ready for IRC2010 at the end of the month
new lightweight humanoid in the works, just built the first leg:
Lem: Sweet. What's the target weight?
Andrew: under 2kg i'll hit that by... about 2g to spare haha
Lem: Trossen seems to be the only one seriously cranking out new exciting robots recently.
Andrew: Well, the market is a bit stagnant right now. We've been hit a bit by the economy, but my job focused more towards R&D solely instead of catalog management/tech support and so we've been seriously working day and night to launch this product line. Our hexapods are debuting this week. Humanoids mid-late November
Lem: It's the best time to get recognition and gain market share. You gain attention because everyone else has cut back and isn't releasing new products. Then when the economy recovers you'll be in the best position to benefit.
Andrew: Well, I'm just happy my job title went from Tech Support to R&D Lead. Nothing like getting to actually build robots for a living. I built a 1m diameter hexapod using RX-24F's this weekend, this thing is HUGE.
Lem: It also creates new assets for the company, and is better than having you sit around waiting for a supplier to come up with a new product.
Andrew: yup. Agreed entirely. Basically, Matt and I saw potential for cool robots that nobody else seemed to be stepping up to the plate to make kits for. And as strictly a reseller, we were at the robot manufacturers mercy. So, might as well take the market into our own hands and have fun while we're at it
Lem: Given the maximum torque from the top Robotis servo series, what's the most humongous hexapod you think you could build?
Andrew: Funny you mention that. I already have cad designs for a double ex-106+ hexapod, which is actually in the plans for next year's R&D budget. Right now it's approx 1.8m in diameter, but we might scale it down a bit so it can practically carry a payload rather than just be 'big'.
Lem: That would be big enough to play Mech Warfare lifesized.
Andrew: haha! BTW, we posted updated rules for Mech Warfare and the introduction of the Open League which is flexible enough for the Robot Survival Game competitors to compete in it even allows for wheeled and treaded bots
Lem: Great. I'll check them out.
Andrew: http://forums.trossenrobotics.com/showthread.php?t=4131 for your bookmarking pleasure.
Lem: When do you think the new rules will be posted on the official site?
Andrew: Sometime this week I'd guess, I just need to format them and get them posted
Lem: Quick question - Is it OK to blog about what we discussed above? - except for the huge hexapod since I guess that's still totally confidential.
Andrew: You can even post the huge hexapod absolutely. We already launched the pan/tilt kits (and teamed up with Roborealm), the hexapods (AX-12 and AX-18F are coming this week), humanoids are next. We're making AX-12/AX-18F, as well as RX-24F models, and then off to arms and rovers after that
Lem: How about calling it "hexapoid" - like Layered-X?
Andrew: haha, that'd be awesome! Oh I dont know if I showed you this:
Andrew: that's the render of the humanoid I'm building for IRC2010 and also the prototype for one of our RX-24F humanoid kits due out next month. Thats what the leg I showed you earlier is going to.
Lem: Looks awesome! Thanks for the chat.
Andrew: Thank you.