Two of the most interesting, and most affordable, humanoid robots that have come on the scene recently are the Darwin MINI (Robotis) and RAPIRO. Both of the new robots have strong/cute personalities and are open-source designs encouraging users to engage, experiment, and learn by doing. They’re extremely user friendly.
Yoshihiro Shibata, a top Japanese humanoid robot designer currently working with Sugiura Machine Design Office, was kind enough to share these side-by-side photos comparing Darwin Mini and Rapiro-
For the past eight years, Kondo RoboSpot has been an Akihabara based mecca for humanoid robot enthusiasts and fans from all over the world. The facility has been featured on numerous televisions programs, both in Japan and overseas, and has hosted regular robot competitions including the KondoCup Robot Soccer matches and KondoLand Multi-legged Robot Obstacle Course races. It has been a feature on tours of the Akihabara area. It became one of the ‘must visit’ robot landmarks in the area.
The company just announced that as of the end of this month, March 31st, the current RoboSpot facility will be closed and will be relocated to the 1st floor of the Kondo corporate headquarters, a few train stops north of the Akihabara location. The new facility, equipped with humanoid robot practice rings, work tables, and fabrication equipment for use by customers, is expected to be open for business sometime in May this year.
Génération Robots in France just announced the new NAO Next Gen package that will enable many individual robot developers and small companies to get involved with the NAO humanoid robot. Up until now, NAO sales were limited to a small community of selected academic institutions, members of the NAO Developer Program, and a few key corporate clients. The NAO Next Gen offers are designed, and priced, to encourage a much larger developer community to get involved with NAO.
Here are the program details provided by our friends at Génération Robots:
Meet NAO Next Gen, the most advanced programmable humanoid robot, now available at Génération Robots
NAO Next Gen key features
If you’re interested in service robotics, there are strong chances that you already met the programmable humanoid NAO robot. Since its creation Aldebaran Robotics in 2007, four versions have already been released, the fourth being NAO Next Gen. NAO Next Gen has 25 degrees of freedom, 2 HD cameras, 4 microphones, 2 hi-Fi speakers, runs an Intel ATOM 1.6 GHz CPU, WiFi connectivity, 9 tactile sensors, 8 pressure sensors, a voice synthesizer and an autonomy that can last up to 1.5 hours. You can see NAO showing its key features in the following video
All of these key features enable him to walk in all directions, talk in 19 languages, detect faces and shapes, protect itself when it falls and localize sound source. Since building robotics application can be challenging, Aldebaran Robotics created a multiplatform (Windows, Linux and Mac OS) and multi-languages SDK (C++, Python, Java and .Net) to create applications for your NAO Next Gen robot. You can also easily take advantage of NAO’s features by using the intuitive programming interface Chorégraphe (included in the software suite).
Génération Robots unique NAO next Gen offer
Programmable humanoid NAO Next Gen robot has the ability to catch attention, showcase your development skills and engage customers in a creative way. Your company can stand out from the crowd, be seen as an innovative partner and acquire customers with NAO Next Gen.
Until now, only academic, individual developers and a few handpicked corporate clients could acquire NAO Next Gen. The good news is that Génération Robots offers individual developers and small companies an unique opportunity to invest in a NAO Next Gen unit:
- A NAO Next Gen,
- A software suite license including Chorégraphe (Programming graphical interface), Webots for NAO (a 3D simulator) and the SDK
- A 12 months NAO store (NAO application distribution platform Application Validation service subscription)
- A 1 year manufacturer’s warranty
- An exclusive application “NAO plays football” created by Humarobotics,
Génération Robots close partnership with Aldebaran Robotics started in 2010 when our founder Jérôme Laplace became part of NAO beta testing team. Our company grew and in 2012 our HumaRobotics service team became official training providers for Aldebaran Robotics international customers. We proved our technical and programming expertise by creating among others the famous “NAO plays Connect 4” game in 2011:
To find out more about the «Develop on NAO " offer, join Generation Robots in our booth at Innorobo 2014, the largest European service robotics fair, which runs from March 18th to 22nd in Lyon (France). This is the opportunity to discover our other NAO exclusive applications such as "NAO playing poker.
Génération Robots “Develop on NAO Next Gen” offers range are the following: Essential, Premium and Expert, giving you more licenses (5 for our “Develop on NAO Next Gen-Expert” offer), warranty and NAO store application validation service years (2 years for our Premium and 3 years for our Expert offer).
Develop on NAO offers
The new DARWIN MINI humanoid robot from Robotis is definitely the easiest, and most straight forward, assembly process I’ve ever experienced. Over the years I’ve assembled about a dozen different humanoid robots from manufacturers all over the world. As far as assembly is concerned, the DARWIN MINI beats them all, hands down.
Here’s a photo gallery with detailed images documenting the entire process:
Bandai announced that "Chogokin Hello Kitty” with Rocket Punch will go on sale in Japan this June. Pricing and availability outside the country isn't available at this time.
Deagostini Japan and Mitsui Sumitomo bank are introducing a Robi branded VISA credit card in Japan next month. The introductory campaign includes Robi branded items including a mini Robi figure and Quo prepaid cards featuring an original Robi design.
Needless to say, the promotion is only open to Japan residents.