Chrome Kid: Little Humanoid Helper With A Big Heart (Video)
When we think about humanoid robots evolving to the point that they can be useful and practical assistants in the home, clinic, or senior center, large, usually heavily funded robots developed by major institutions immediately come to mind. At the same time a lot of useful work to advance the state of the art, and to inspire public imagination and acceptance, is being done at the hobby level.
While individually funded robot projects like Doka Harumi may lack the resources of a university laboratory, their builders are able to emulate a significant percentage of the functionality at just a mere fraction of the cost.
A great example is Chrome Kid, a child-sized humanoid robot developed by KupaKuma. Of course, "Chrome Kid" is a generic name used for a group of their robots sharing the same spirit and character that compete regularly in events as diverse as the major ROBO-ONE competitions, KondoCup Robot Soccer, Wonderful Robot Carnival, and many others.
For the 3rd ROBO-ONE Humanoid Helper Project event held at the end of December, 2010, Chrome Kid was reincarnated roughly the same height as a very young elementary school boy, not quite capable of dealing with challenges like full sized refrigerator doors. Instead, Chrome Kid greeted party guests, asked them to take a seat, then retrieved hot towels from an electric heating cabinet in the kitchen and politely offered them to the guests. He also planned to serve them cake, but unfortunately the clock ran out before he could complete his tasks.
You may notice a slight "growth" on Chrome Kid's shoulder - a video camera used by the operator located in another room completely out of sight to guide the robot.
In addition to the project challenges, entrants also have to face a very knowledgeable cross-examination by the judges. While the judges are always supportive, sometimes their questions can be rather pointed, but everyone takes it as constructive criticism.
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- Vlog 3/19/2010: Humanoid Helper Robots Advance (Video)