Remember Dr. Guero, the robot builder that stunned everyone last year with his bicycle riding Primer-V2 humanoid robot? He's back with another astonishing robot feat. This time his Primer-V4 robot is a full fledged tightrope walker!
Pretty darn amazing, especially considering that just a few short years ago many of the hobby level humanoid robot builders were lucky to keep their robots balanced and upright while walking for an extended period or boxing in the ROBO-ONE ring.
The tightrope used for this feat was a 4mm diameter cable suspended 1 meter above the floor. The technical challenges were significant and considerably different from normal humanoid robot walking. When a bipedal robot walks on the ground the standard approach is to apply gyro sensor feedback corrections primarily to the leg servos to shift the center of gravity. The arms don't play a significant role.
With tightrope walking the arms and upper body play a much more critical role in shifting the robots center of gravity to keep it balanced and avoid crashing to the floor. Dr. Guero's blog doesn't mention the use of any safety net, but I'm sure he had to catch the robot quite a few times before he got it working perfectly.
The robot's feet have a small slot for the tightrope, which is fair enough. A human tightrope walker in the circus would cup their feet and use their toes in the same fashion.
Here's Dr. Guero's bicycling robot, for those that haven't already enjoyed it:
The Android Robot Walker STL is available on Thingiverse for download and 3D printing. It uses the Makerbot Windup Walker mechanism.
If you're lucky enough to have an Aldebaran NAO humanoid robot, then you'll want to zip right over to the Apple iTunes App Store and grab the new NAO Control Server iOS app by Tommy Kammerer.
The Nao Control Server app supports starting and stopping behaviors installed on the robot, use of a joystick to control Nao, triggering speech, and other functions. To take advantage of the full functionality you have to pre-install a related Nao app from the Nao Store. But, even without the Nao Store app, you can command the robot to pronounce text and also trigger behaviors.
According to the iTunes app page, the program is compatible with iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPads running iOS 4.2 or later.
ROS.org has a new tutorial posted to help beginners get the NAO humanoid robot up and running with the ROS system including NAOqi and the simulated model in rviz.
All of the software runs on Linux PC (Ubuntu is used in the tutorial) and doesn't require an actual NAO to be connected for the simulation. That being said, the NAOqi SDK needs to be installed, which typically requires being a registered NAO user so that you can download the SDK from the Aldebaran website. The tutorial also mentions that a precompiled NAOqi binary is included with the Webots 6.4.4 simulation software and will be covered in a different tutorial.
I first met Hajime Sakamoto in 2005 during a ROBO-ONE competition in Tokyo. One of the most striking and impressive things about Sakamoto was his total dedication to humanoid robotics
Many of the other ROBO-ONE competitors design excellent, world-class robots but they do it primarily as a hobby. It's a way for them to express their creativity, skill, and passion away from the day to day work grind. It's a pleasant and fulfilling escape from their daily duties. But for Sakamoto, designing and building high performance humanoid robots is a way of life.
IKETOMU, a top level humanoid and multi-legged robot designer in his own right, and one of the few ROBO-ONE competitors to fight autonomously, published a detailed report of the Robot Pro Wrestling organization being featured on the UK Gadget Show TV program and also their expedition to RoboGames 2012 in the U.S.