Diary of a Mad Roboticist (Video)

With the clock ticking, and less than 72 hours left before they have to get on their plane to Korea, Andrew and Matt decided to tear down one of their humanoids, change their strategy, build a new lightweight design, and create all the motions.

It might seem a little bit crazy, especially to those of us who are used to spending a week or more just creating a simple walking sequence, but for this gang of mad roboticists at Trossen Robotics, it's all par for the course. Once they hit the ground in Korea they'll be facing what has to be some of the toughest humanoid robot competitors in the world. And, it appears that this time they are likely to be the only team representing the skill, power, and winning spirit that the US is known for worldwide.

They even managed to take a few minutes out of their extremely hectic schedule and created this behind-the-scenes video to let all of their fans get a glimpse of what it's all about:

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Trossen Robotics Rushing To Finish New Humanoid Robots For The Korean Competition (Video)

Trossen robotics

The time pressure in Chicago must be unbelievable right now for Andrew and the Trossen Robotics team. Not only are they actively participating in the robot portion of the iHobby show taking place this weekend, they are they're one of the key supporters and competitors in the Chibots competition, and -- get this -- in less than 30 hours they have to pack everything up, get on a plane, travel to the other side of the world, deal with the jet lag, set up their robots, and be ready to go head to head against the best Korean humanoid robot builders the world has ever seen.


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Sneak peek at exciting new robot projects in the works at Trossen

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:


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UncleBot’s Humanoid Robot Walking Tutorial (Video)

To say that Robert Lam has a talent for humanoid robots would be a gross understatement. Not only does he build robots, he also blogs under the nickname “UncleBot” about what he discovers to help others, and he even creates tutorial videos to share his know-how. 

Robert recently modified a Bioloid Premium Robot kit to give it proportions closer to the classic Kondo KHR series. Of course that mean that all the existing walking motion sequences had to be tweaked, modified, or completely recreated from scratch. Here's his latest tutorial on creating walking motions for humanoid robots:

We're guessing that it won't be very long before we see a completely custom humanoid robot, designed from the ground up, walking proudly out of Robert's workshop. It's the natural next step.

Via: Trossen Robotics blog

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New Lightening Fast Hexapod Robot Kit In The Works (Video)

We've always been interested and intrigued by the potential of hexapod robots, but didn't feel the “Oh Wow! I've really got to have one of these”… until now.

Andrew Alter at Trossen Robotics is working on a new hexapod design, the PhantomX, that uses Robotis AX-18F Dynamixel servos and the Vanadium Labs ArbotiX Robocontroller. This little puppy is lightning fast, and surprisingly sleek. With this level of speed, manuverability, and flexibility, we can easily imagine a new RoboGames XXtreme Obstacle Course competition.

The new kit release schedule isn't available yet, but according to Andrew it will be “… in the very near future.” We can hardly wait.

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Robosavvy Giving Away OLLO Educational Robot Kit

Robosavvy, one of the oldest and most well known robot forums and online store, is giving away a brand new Robotis OLLO Explorer kit. To enter visit Robosavvy, create a free user account (if you don't already have one), then go to the OLLO Robot Kit Give Away post in the forum, read the instructions, and describe how you would put the kit to good use.

Here are the official rules:
It's not Christmas yet but we are giving away an OLLO explorer kit for free (you'll have to pay for shipping). A lucky person will introduce OLLO to equivalently lucky kids and blog the whole process with pictures and videos. If you want to introduce your kids to Korea's answer to the LEGO monopoly, this is the opportunity.

To receive the OLLO explorer, please post here why you would like to receive it for free, how you plan to use it (weekend with kids, classroom, Lego club..) and how you plan to blog the process so that everyone will see how wonderful OLLO really is. please post your ideas and questions on this tread.

Good luck, and good robotting!

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Gladiators, Ice Cream, & Robots (Video)

Robots are an instant attention getter, and in a country like Taiwan where a huge percentage of the population is instantly turned on at the sight of a humanoid robot, they're a natural star for television commercials.

Duroyal ice cream is running a special summer promotion with winning sticks in a few their ice cream treats that entitle the lucky purchaser to a brand new Robotis Bioloid Premium humanoid robot kit. It's almost enough to get us on the next plane over there.

Via Ro-Botica.com

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Robot Pioneers Documentary (Video)

All of us have seen the smashing, crashing combat robots, the kung fu fighting humanoids, the unique and sometimes crazy artbots, but what few people stop to realize is that behind everyone of of those robot creations is a dedicated, often passionate, robot builder.

Trossen Robotics, a big supporter of the robot community worldwide, definitely appreciates and values all the builders that make the sport what it is today, and what it can become tomorrow.

To share some of the background, insight, and perspective of those passionate robot builders, at least those that were lucky enough to make it to RoboGames 2010, Trossen commissioned an excellent documentary video short. We highly recommend it. If you have never had the opportunity to attend RoboGames, then the Robot Pioneers video will probably inspire you to get involved in robotics at some level, perhaps even to join us at RoboGames 2011. Even if you've participated in previous robot competitions, there's still a lot to be learned from these great robot pioneers.


Related links:

Trossen Robotics

Trossen Robotics Blog –  Robot Pioneers Documentary post

RoboGames Website

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Robot soccer promise becoming real… (Video)

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The “promise” that robots would eventually be capable of playing soccer at the same level as their human counterparts has seemed almost like a pipe-dream. Humanoid robot performance has improved over the years, no question. But most of them have either been extremely expensive, or required a lot of support infrastructure, and their autonomous operation appeared quite hesitant and questionable. That's all about to change.


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