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

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  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.

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ROBO-ONE 12: Does 'MON' Mean 'Monster"?






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Originally uploaded by Tempusmaster.





Standing 55 cm tall, and weighing just a fraction under 5 kg, Aerobattler MON is truly a robot monster. Equipped with Futaba servos, the robot has knee extensions that force opponents to keep their distance, large grippers capable of grasping the unwary foe, and a powerful hip servo that allows it to rotate its whole upper body in a circle frequently knocking the other robot completely off its feet.



Before you ask, yes - it does conform to the ROBO-ONE regulations. Keep in mind that while the ROBO-ONE committee does want the builders to follow 'humanoid' style, the consistent ROBO-ONE theme since Day One has been 'Biped Robot Entertainment'.



And, on that score, Aerobattler MON absolutely excels. During the first day's demonstration phase, he racked up 378 points to take 10th position. Then, during the bouts in the ring, he won his first two matches before being defeated by Gadget-F, one of the 4+ kg robots from the Gadget Team. That put him into a play off against King Kizer (3.77 kg) where he did quite well, but lost in the end. Even when he loses there are lots of gasps and muffled cheers of support for him from the audience.

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A Little Different View of the Speecys Internet Robot (Video)

One of the big problems we consistently face as technologists is in recognizing and understanding new advances. We, like most human beings on the planet, automatically seem to classify new objects and experiences into our existing categories. We look at something new, and quickly decide that it is 'just like x...', then we put that label on it, and we quit trying to really understand it for what it really is, or might become.

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A recent example of this is the SPC-101C 'internet robot' introduction held just a couple weeks ago here in Tokyo. Many reporters saw the SPC-101C as just another humanoid robot - not much different from dozens they are already familiar with. Other reporters were impressed by the vision/face recognition abilities of the robot, and quickly, within just a few hours, popular technology sites were trumpeting the news that Speecys had just introduced a "face-recognizing" robot.

Of course both of those views of the robot are true, but in many ways they are like peeking into a room via the keyhole. They only tell a small part of the total story. We'd like to expand those limited views to include much more of what the robot is capable of, and the promise for the future that it represents.

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Speecys SPC-101C Humanoid Robot: A First Look (Video)

We spent most of the afternoon and early evening at the Speecys labs here in the Shibuya district of Tokyo, and thanks to the kindness, and openness, of Kasuga-san, the Speecys founder, we came away with a wealth of information, and a totally new perspective on how humanoid robotics is likely to evolve over the next few years.

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We'll need quite a few posts, over the next week or two, to explain why this new robot is so exciting, and its promise for the future. But, we do want to share a brief video (see below) to give you a taste for the robot's ability.

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Futaba Starts RBT-1 Robot Kit Deliveries In The US

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Thanks to a very timely and welcome heads-up by "cdraptor" from the RoboSavvy forums, we were able to confirm that the long anticipated Futaba RBT-1 humanoid robot kits are now shipping in the US.

We've been interested in the robot since we first saw it in action last Fall at a hobby show in Chiba, and had the chance to do considerable hands-on testing and evaluation of the Futaba robot version sold in Japan through an OEM relationship with HPI under the G-Robot brand name. We definitely liked what we saw, and have been waiting to see how this high performance, high flexibility robot is received by the US market.

Over the past month or so, there have been strong indications that the RBT-1 would start shipping soon since Boss Robot Hobby in Berkeley started offering the robot kit via eBay, and Trossen Robotics also listed it on their website. According to Johnny at Boss Robot, who's really excited about the new kit, Futaba had committed to deliveries starting on July 16th. They must have lived up to their word because earlier today, Trossen posted photos of the first unit they received along with their initial impressions - which appear to be quite positive and excited. "Let the games begin!"

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Exclusive Software Report: HPI G-Robots GR-001 Part III

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The first post in our review of the new HPI G-Robots GR-001 humanoid robot covered the overall design, architecture, and motions, including a video of the robot being put through its paces. The second post in the GR-001 series focused on the 3D display and using it to adjust the robots servo positions interactively.

Now we'd like to show you how the motion editor application makes it a pleasure to work with the robots poses, motion sequences, and scenarios. It's probably particularly timely since the GR-001 robot kit goes on sale tomorrow morning here in Japan.


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Robot Fever Grows By Leaps and Bounds: RT Corporation

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RT Corporation, founded by Yuki Nakagawa, has always been one of our favorite stops whenever we have the opportunity to visit the Akihabara electronics district of Tokyo. Now she has given us a couple of new reasons to visit the RT showroom as often as we possibly can manage.

As you can see from the photos below, RT has moved to a bigger, and much more spacious, facility just a couple minutes walk from the main Akihabara train station. It's obvious from the size, and the stock in the RT showroom, that they are firm believers in the concept that the robot boom is starting to experience a strong growth explosion, not just here in Japan, but globally.


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Exclusive Software Report: HPI G-Robots GR-001 Humanoid Robot Kit

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Our previous exclusive report featuring the new GR-001 humanoid robot kit from HPI Racing covered the overall robot design and hardware along with a video of the robot in action. But hardware is only one part of the total picture, so in this report we'll give you an exclusive pre-sales look at the software application that comes with this exciting robot.

We should point out that our evaluation was based on the GR-001 robot kit that will be released for sale in Japan by HPI later this month. All of our testing was done with the Japanese version of the product and software, so as they commonly say in the automotive business, "your mileage may vary."

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New HPI G-ROBOTS GR-001Humanoid Robot Closeup (Video)

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We first saw an early version of the HPI GR-001 humanoid robot at a trade show here in Japan a couple of months ago, and liked what we saw. Now, since it's almost ready to be released for sale, we tracked down one of the production robots and arranged for an extended hands-on, no holds bared, session. The net result? We like it even more!

We'll be posting detailed information, photos, notes, and some additional videos here on Robots Dreams from our evaluation session with the GR-001. But, just to kick things off, we put together a 3+ minute video clip (see below)  to highlight just a few of the robot's most impressive features.


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