Most robot contests award outstanding performance. All the awards and glory goes to the smarter competitors that take advantage of the best, often state-of-the-art technology. Of course, that comes at a price, building champion level robots isn’t cheap. And, more importantly, it leaves out the vast majority of people who are interested in robotics but can’t compete at the top level, or can’t afford the cost of entry.
The answer, at least in Japan, is HEBOCON: The Robot Contest for Dummies!
Although the ROBOTIS-MINI entry level humanoid kit robot is considerably smaller and lighter than the typical ROBO-ONE competitor, it still features speed and agility that ensure that with an experienced operator it can survive in the competition ring.
At the ROBO-ONE Light event, held mid-March in Atsugi, Japan, one of the ROBOTIS-MINI robots clearly demonstrated the robots potential. Of course, in the end the laws of physics have to prevail, and as you might expect, the robot was eliminated by a stronger competitor. Nevertheless, the ROBOTIS-MINI managed to duck and weave while avoiding what might have been killer punches from its opponents.
Think about it for a moment. Here’s a low-cost, under USD$500, humanoid robot that is Open-Source/Open-Hardware, as easy to put together as an IKEA bookshelf, Arduino compatible, targeted at STEM and robotics learners as well as researchers and hobbyists, and it turns out that almost out-of-the-box it is capable of going head to head with ROBO-ONE class humanoids. That’s pretty amazing. The ROBOTIS-MINI is making humanoid robots accessible, affordable, and exciting. You can’t beat that combination.
ROBO-ONE Light is open to all humanoid builders at an entry level and features pre-qualified robot kits that are typically around 1 kg. in weight. Competitions are held the day before the ROBO-ONE events.
ROBOTIS-MINI was formerly marketed as the DARWIN-MINI humanoid robot kit.
No specifics yet, but NTV has posted a promotional banner on their website advertising the 2014 Real Robot Battle competition. Last years event, which resulted in a 2+ hour television special, turned out to be extremely popular, and the company is hoping to repeat that success and perhaps even turn it into an annual event.
Assuming that the rules haven’t changed from 2013, anywhere from six to eight teams will field massive robots over 2 meters tall to battle it out in the ring. Each robot utilizes a wheeled mobility platform of their own design, but from the knees up the competitors are quasi-humanoid and powerful enough to inflict significant damage on each other.
This should give you an idea of how big these robots really are:
Robots Dreams features general robotics, hobby and educational robots, robot contests, FIRST, RoboCup, combat robots, artificial intelligence based DARPA robots, robot software and code, robot hacks, robot reviews, LEGO Mindstorms NXT, VEX, and Lynxmotion. Robots Dreams also reports on space, military, industrial and medical robot news. The robot centric website focuses on hobby and educational robot products and projects, including robot and robotics technology news from Japan, the US, and around the world. Arduino, pic, Basic Stamp, and other micro-controller robot designs are of particular interest.
Entertainment robots, domestic helper robots, health care and senior care robots, and other robot applications in assisting mankind are covered regularly. The Robots Dreams video channel on YouTube includes new robot product news, exclusive coverage from major robot events including ROBO-ONE, the Wonderful Robot Carnival, and RoboGames. Robots Dreams is a member of the ROBO-ONE press, and an official corporate sponsor of RoboGames and the Wonderful Robot Carnival. The Robots Dreams Flickr photo gallery includes over 30,000 unique robot images taken by our dedicated staff covering robot news and robot competitions for the past ten years.