ROBO-ONE: Mega Dynamizer Close-Up

robot

We spent a wonderful afternoon yesterday visiting with the Sugiura Family and getting briefed on Mega Dynamizer, a super-sized ROBO-ONE champion robot. Based in part on the outstanding Dynamizer humanoid robot, Mega Dynamizer is taller (50 cm), heavier (5.0 kg), and even more awesome - if that is possible.

Mega Dynamizer features 23 degrees of freedom and takes full advantage of the Dynamixel RX-64 servos and CM-2 Plus control board from Robotis (Bioloid). Control communication uses 2.4 Ghz RS232C (ZIGBEE).

The robots technology and design are extremely impressive from a specification perspective, and even more so when you see Mega Dynamizer in action as we did (see video below). If Mega Dynamizer is any indication, ROBO-ONE 13 next month is going to be the most exciting ROBO-ONE competition ever.

(more…)

Read More

Kondo Rolls Out New Robot Controller Board

Robot
Here's the scenario: A few years ago we bought a Kondo KHR-1 (the original version) and took a two day class covering how to assemble, test, and program the humanoid robot. As fate would have it, we also had the opportunity to sit in on a pre-release private seminar on the RCB-3 robot controller board. The board was released for sale within about a month, and was quickly followed by the new KHR-2HV humanoid robot that used the controller board.

Now, a couple years later, Kondo has just announced a brand new controller board, the KCB-1, that looks pretty sweet, at least from the published specifications (see below). Will history repeat itself? Will Kondo release a hot new humanoid robot in the near future? It's any body's guess. We don't have any inside info on this one, but we would sure love to...


(more…)

Read More

iHobby Expo: Robots, Robots, Robots! (Video)

robot
  Left to Right: Futaba RBT-1, RoboPhilo, RoboNova I

Although we weren't personally able to make the trek all the way from Japan to Chicago, thanks to all of our great readers that sent in reports, photos, and videos it feels like we were actually there enjoying all the fun and excitement. The latest contribution was lots of great video footage sent in by Marc Lampcov, the CEO of RoboFactors, LLC.

Marc must have spent countless hours capturing all the participating robots on camera because his footage (see below) includes great performances by the RoboPhilo, Robotis Bioloid, Futaba RBT-1, Robonova I, and much, much more.

(more…)

Read More

RoboGames 2007: Gold Metal Robot Builder Interview – Chris Farrell (Video)

Robot
We're always fascinated by the way that people are motivated and excited by robotics, so when we recently had the opportunity to interview double RoboGames metal winner, Chris Farrell of Farrell Robotics, we immediately jumped at the chance.

Chris, and his dad - Rob, have done some surprising work developing Oro and Zog - their competitive robots - completely from scratch, to the point that between them they won a total of four metals at RoboGames 2007 in San Francisco last month - Gold and Silver in Wrestling along with Silver and Bronze in the Biped Race.

Chris was kind enough to share their story with us, along with a lot of insight into their motivation and dreams.  

(more…)

Read More

3rd Wonderful Robot Carnival – Keeping the Spirit Alive (Video)

Robot


The 1st Wonderful Robot Carnival, held just one year ago, was an absolute blast. Free of the stress and high pressure environment that's built up around the ROBO-ONE competitions, the Carnival participants could just relax and have a ball playing with their robots in events that were specifically designed to generate the most fun possible. It immediately became our favorite robot competition in the Kanto area.

But, what do you do for an encore? How do you keep a robot competition fresh and exciting, yet keep the rules fairly stable so that entrants don't have to completely rebuild their robots for each event? It can be a major headache, but thankfully Ishikawa-san, the founder and guiding spirit behind the Carnival, was up to the challenge.

For the first two Carnivals, the lead-off event was a 2 meter dash where the robots competed in sets of two, but the scoring was against the clock. To keep the event interesting, and to be able to accommodate the over 40 entries, Ishikawa-san converted the Dash 2000 event into a one meter out, one meter back dash around a pylon (see video below).

(more…)

Read More

ROBO Virus Spreads in the UK

Robot
We don't want to give the false impression that our favorite humanoid robot hobby/sport is only being enjoyed in Japan or at RoboGames in the US. Far from it. People all over the world are involved, and although their numbers are still relatively small, they are growing rapidly.

For example, several builders in the UK, who met each other via the RoboSavvy forums, took the initiative to organize a ROBO-ONE type competition. They contacted the TIC micromouse organization, and arranged to share a part of their event space, promoted the gathering via RoboSavvy, pulled together some prizes for the winners, and made it all happen. It's a great example of what can be done if people that care get involved and take ownership.

Their robots, by the way, represented all of the popular, well-known kits including Robonova (Hitec), KHR (Kondo), MANOI (Kyosho), and Bioloid (Robotis). The background information and event photos can be viewed on the UK ROBO thread. We're sure that they would be happy to share their experience and learning with others that want to organize a similar event.

Read More

RoboGames 2007 – Stair Climbing (Video)

Robot
At first glance the challenge looks deceptively simple. Have your robot climb a short set of stairs, take a few more steps, then descend a similar set of stairs. In real life it quickly turns into a major challenge - one that might drive you over the edge trying.

At RoboGames 2007 in San Francisco last week, many of the competitors attempted the stair climbing challenge, and several of them achieved very respectable results, as you can see from the video below.

(more…)

Read More