Wonderful Robot Carnival – Bottle Traction Competition (Video)

Robot
We've fallen a little bit behind on posting event reports and videos, and are trying to catch up as quickly as possible since there are more exciting events coming up over the next few weeks. At the same time, we don't want to overlook any of the really important, informative, or really fun, topics in our attempt to get caught up.

As we've mentioned before, the Wonderful Robot Carnival competition is an absolute blast - five to six hours straight of over-the-top robot fun. The most recent Carnival was held here in Tokyo in early January, and included competitions like the Die Shoot, Balloon Survival, and Bottle Traction. The first two depend a lot on strategy and speed, while the Bottle Traction event is really more of a test of the robot's design and the builder's skill.


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Giving Your Robot A Voice

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Robot Magazine just posted a detailed 'how-to' article by Gary Smith in the UK that covers adding a Quadravox sound board and interface to a Robonova-1 robot. The article includes building a sound library, how to program the sound card, mounting everything in the Robonova, and how to drive it using the robots BASIC programming language.

We're not sure how easy it would be to follow the same approach with other robots, like our two humanoids, but we're certainly going to give it a try!

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2nd Wonderful Robot Carnival – Balloon Survival (Video)

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One of the benefits of living here in Japan, and being a dyed in the wool robot fan, is that there are literally countless robot events to pick from - either to watch or to participate in. One of our absolute favorites is the "Wonderful Robot Carnival" events staged biannually in Tokyo by Ishikawa-san.

The Wonderful Robot Carnival format includes some traditional robot games, like a 2 meter sprint, a robot rumble, and a ROBO-ONE style battle in the ring. It also includes some totally 'over the top' competitions like the 'Balloon Survival.' The Balloon Survival concept is simple and straight forward, almost like a kids party game. And like many of the games we played at parties as kids, this robot game is a tremendous amount of fun.

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Extending The Robonova-1 Robots Capabilities (Video)

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The Robonova-1 humanoid robot kit from Hitec has sold thousands of units worldwide, and is frequently featured on science, technology, and gadget television and radio programs. Most of the people that buy one are very happy to have the assembled robot walk, do some karate moves, and even a cartwheel or two.

But, for others, that basic functionality is just the beginning of a long, and extremely rewarding journey. They spend countless hours figuring out each new challenge and capability. It might be as basic as creating a new move, or as complex as adding additional degrees of freedom and completely redesigning the robot's frame and geometry.

One challenge that's particularly interesting to us at the moment is adding sensors to the robot and then using their signals to modify it's behavior. It's the first, very preliminary yet necessary, step towards creating truly autonomous behaviors. A good example is the work done recently by "DirtyRoboto", a frequent participant on the RoboSavvy online robotics forums.


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Taking Your Robot For A Walk, Hand In Hand (Video)

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The typical approach to controlling a humanoid robot like the Robonova-1, KHR-2HV, or MANOI AT01 is to utilize a remote control that either looks very much like those used in the R/C plane or car space, or a modified game controller. You stand back, usually a few feet away from the robot, and punch buttons on the remote to put it through it's paces. That's fine - after all it works and works well. Still, it's very 'arms length', not up close and personal.

But what if you could interact on a warmer, more personal level with your robot? What if you could bend over, take it's hand like you would with one of your children, and kind of lead it around by the hand? Wouldn't that be cool? We think it would be very, very cool, especially after seeing how 'Bullit" from the RoboSavvy forum managed to implement it with his Robonova-1.


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