Robot Japan Set To Invade The US

Robot Japan

In less that two weeks a major contingent from Robot Japan will land at San Francisco airport, rapidly cover the distance to San Mateo, unpack, deploy their robots, and prepare to amaze, delight, and entertain the crowds at RoboGames 2011.

They will be staging regular demonstrations several times a day at their booth in the main hall at RoboGames as well as competing in a host of events including Kung Fu, Freestyle, Robot Soccer, Mech Warfare, and many others. And, they fully expect to return home with their luggage stuffed with RoboGames metals.

You've seen many of their champion level robots on Robots Dreams and on television. Now you can see them in person and meet the builders that created them.

Here are just a few of the robots from Japan that will be at RoboGames from April 15th-17th:



100711 Wonderful Robot Carnival-132

Robot Japan

Robot Pro Wrestling



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Let's Get Ready To Robot Rumble! Mech Warfare at RoboGames 2011

Giger alien tonemapped

A little over two years ago, just prior to RoboGames 2009, Andrew Alter and a few of his colleagues were toying around with the idea of battling robots, both multi-legged and humanoid. Since they were all dyed-in-the-wool Mech fans, they naturally thought it might be a lot of fun to try and stage a "Mech Warfare" competition.

Their first attempt turned out to be more fun, and much more of a challenge, than they ever dreamed. They did manage to stage some battles and certainly proved the concept. More important, they generated tremendous interest and excitement. Robots stomping through downtown, ambushing the opposing forces, fighting to the death using bullets (air-soft pellets), giving and asking no quarter. The excitement, and the adrenaline/testosterone was so thick you could cut it with a knife. Suddenly the other robot builders started to stand up and take notice. They wanted to play too!


One year later at RoboGames 2010, Mech Warfare had grown up quite a bit. The playing field was professionally constructed and looked just like a real city, albeit in miniature. The bots were better too. Their builders had learned a lot from the first competition and incorporated all their learning into their new creations.

Next month, on April 15th through the 17th, they're going back into battle. But this time there's a major difference. Mech Warfare at RoboGames 2011 in San Mateo will be the first time that battle robots designed from the ground up will take the field. These 3rd generation Mech's are hot for blood and they come completely equipped to win, no matter what. There are already 21 robots officially registered to compete, and there is still a week before the registration closes.

This is one competition you won't want to miss! We'll be there all three days, from the time the doors open until they kick us out at night. Be there!

Photo credit: Giger - Andrew Alter

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Robot Japan 2011 – Dance Contest (Video)

One of the most surprising and delightful aspects of hobby level robotics in Japan is the wealth of different competitions and styles. On any given weekend you can find humanoid robots battling it out in the ring, micromouse robots solving and racing through mazes, line followers blazing around the track, underwater robots plunging to new depths, and flying robots soaring skyward autonomously.

Last weekend was no exception. We spend a delightful afternoon with the gang at Robot Japan enjoying humanoid robot fights, including some that were orchestrated as well as professional wrestling matches, and a robot dance contest:

Oddly enough, the competition was held in an auditorium that is a part of the Tsukiji Hongan-ji Buddhist temple in Tokyo. The temple traces its history back to 1657 and is a major pilgrimage destination. After last Sunday's competition, it may become a favorite pilgrimage destination for the robot faithful as well.

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ROBO-ONE Lightweight Division Final: Hammerhead vs. Lucanus

In conjunction with the ROBO-ONE Humanoid Helper Project (more on that later) held this weekend, the organizers staged a Lightweight Division humanoid robot battle competition. The intent was to show of a different aspect of robot design, especially the speed, power, and pure fun generated by involvement with robotics. And, since the event took place at a major new home promotion center in Yokohama, they wanted to expose a wider group of potential players, especially young families, their parents, and children.

The robot battles were definitely first-class, among the best fights that we've seen in the Lightweight Division. Here's the final match between Hammerhead and Lucanus:

Hammerhead seems perfectly designed for battle in the ring. The center of gravity has been deliberately kept low; the stance is wide with extremely strong and stable legs; the robot has a long reach and is equipped with grippers to grab and topple its opponents; and every unnecessary component, including the traditional useless in battle servo head, has been completely eliminated. It's really a sweet design.

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Kondo Land Robot Steeplechase Debuts (Video)

We weren't exactly sure how a robot steeplechase or obstacle course done purely for the fun of it would turn out, but yesterday's Kondo Land competition was a total blast. There were 10 entries, not bad for the first time the event was staged, and they all did quite well at navigating the hazards, even though none of them managed to completely finish the total course within the short three minute time limit.

Here's “Isoko Rescue” turning in the best performance of the day:

The course included some really tough hazards including the initial tilting platform; a Magic Wall with moving blocks; the Motor House where the operator couldn't see the robot directly; a Wobbly Bridge that immediately tilted when a robot made any unbalanced move at all; steeply sloped ramps; and the Reverse Street treadmill that managed to defeat even the best contestants.

Kondo plans to make this competition a regular addition to the line-up of robot competitions sponsored by the company. The next Kondo Land is planned for sometime in March with the exact date to be announced later.

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UK ROBOtic'10 Robot Competition Just 1 Week Away


ROBOtic'10 is coming up on Saturday, November 27th  at Millennium Point in Birmingham (UK). The exciting event, organized by the Birmingham City University Technology Innovation Center, has been going strong for six years running and features robot competitions including Maze Solver, Wall Follower, Time Trials, Mini-Sumo, Line Follower, Drag Race, and Freestyle. It's open to the public, admission is free, and there is no fee for entering your robot –  just show up on the day.

In the meantime, we're headed out to the 31st  All Japan Micromouse Robot Competition this weekend where we expect to see some new micromouse world records set, or at least have a whole lot of fun trying.

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