boomer-robot-maker-faire

KC Robot Builder Featured in Maker Faire Promo (Video)

boomer robot maker faire

Michael Overstreet has been a good and respected friend since the first time we hooked up several years ago at RoboGames in California. So, I hope he doesn't mind if I make some frank, and well deserved, comments.

When we first met Michael seemed like a typical robot geek, very talented with lots of expertise, but a bit shy and withdrawn. You really had to push him to get him to tell you what he thought. I'm sure he had lots of valuable and useful things to share, but they didn't flow easily.

Over the years, with experience, learning, and success, Michael has really blossomed and come out of his shell. He's become a key member of the Cowtown Computer Congress - Kansas City's leading hackerspace, a frequent exhibitor and participant in Maker Faire events all over the US, and a strong proponent of the DARwin-OP humanoid robot platform.

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Robot Pro-Wrestling Dekinnoka 8! (Video)

robot pro wrestling

I'm really looking forward to the mega Robot Colosseum event coming up in a few weeks in conjunction with the 50th Japan SF Convention in Shizuoka. It's going to be an absolute blast. One of the reasons that gets me so excited is that one of the main robot attractions will be the 8th Robot Pro-Wrestling Dekinnoka competition.

I'm sure you can easily imagine what it's like to have humanoid robots battling it out in the ring with all the energy, excitement, posing, and costumes that make real pro-wrestling such a blast. But, don't take my word for it, or depend on the limits of your own personal imagination. Check out the Dekinnoka promotional demonstrations and press conference videos below.

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Data the Robot Comedian and his Comely Creator (Video)

data the nao robot

A couple days ago I blogged a photo of Data The Robot doing stand-up comedy routines at the Lincoln Center. Data's owner/operator/muse is non-other than Heather Knight, a.k.a. "Marilyn Monrobot". Heather modestly describes herself as a "Social Roboticist" but her talents go way beyond that humble title. She's pursuing her doctoral research at CMU in Pittsburgh, doing applications design with Aldebaran Robotics, creating interactive installations, while somehow finding the time to put on engaging and entertaining robot and technology gigs that artfully combine traditionally cold/sharp/hard technology with soft/feeling/emotional art and creativity.

Check out Data The Robot, and Heather, in the video below recorded live at the Gramercy Theatre in New York City earlier this summer.

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DARwin-OP Robot Is Open Source and Open Can (video)

darwin-op robot drinking problem

I've asked robot builders from all over the world about their ultimate purpose in building a robot. German builders often respond saying they want to improve performance, to design a robot that is better, faster, more reliable, or more precise than others. Japanese builders, especially those involved with humanoids, typically say "I want to build a real Gundam." And, Americans jokingly say they want to design a robot that will "Bring me a beer."

As Andrew Alter at Trossen Robotics found out, there's a problem with that. What if your robot has a serious drinking problem? You better make sure that he can't figure out how to open the can...

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Mega Hobby Robot Event Coming Up

hobby robot event

It's been a long, hot, and extremely humid summer here in Japan. The weather, the economy, and the general mood has been depressed and languid to say the least. As I have mentioned before, a lot of the plans for regular robot competitions, like ROBO-ONE, had to be cancelled or postponed indefinitely after the triple disasters (earthquake, tsunami, & nuclear) that took place on March 11th.

All of that is about to change big time, and all the pent-up robot energy and enthusiasum is going to explode on the scene over the next few weeks in a frenzy of exciting competitions with a new mega robot battle double-header that promises to totally blow away all standing records.

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Telepresence Robot Sets New Ease of Use Standard (Video)

telepresence robot

I've been a very vocal critic of most of the telepresence robots already on the market, primarily because many of them look like they were cobbled together from an Erector Set, or tend to have non-intutive user interfaces.

So, which one do I favor?

At the moment, my front running selection is the Gostai Jazz robot. The styling, while not perfect, would look right at home in any office, conference room, or factory tour. More important, the Gostai Jazz user interface seems almost intuitive. Like all 'good' tools, the Gostai Jazz robot, appears to facilitate and encourage communication in contrast with competitors from other robot companies.

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Kondo Robot Battles Set for August 27th in Tokyo

kondo robot battle

Back in March of this year everyone was really anticipating the 19th ROBO-ONE competition, and all of the ROBO-ONE partner organizations were busy staging events that would pre-qualify the winners as seeded entries into the world's most famous humanoid robot competition. Then the northern Japan earthquake took place and everyone's plans went right out the window.

It's been just five months since that horrendous disaster, yet most areas of Japan have quickly recovered and are coming back even stronger than ever. Not only have most businesses rebounded, the robotics sector has regained its momentum also. Later this month, on August 27th, Kondo Robotics will stage a double header series of humanoid robot competitions - the 5th and 6th Kondo Robot Battles attracting top robot builders from all over Japan.

The Kondo competitions, which are limited to designs utilizing Kondo components, will take place at the Kondo RoboSpot facility in Akihabara. Player check-in will start at 11:00 am with the Opening Ceremony scheduled for 13:00. Matches will continue throughout the afternoon with the awards ceremony tentatively set for 16:30. Attendance is open to the general public and admission is free, though space will be limited so be sure to show up early if you intend to get in.

(Via 第5回,第6回 KONDO €BATTLE 詳細発表&お申込開始!.)

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J, Robot Documentary Segment Looks Behind the ROBO-ONE Scenes (Video)

robo-one robot battle

The ROBO-ONE video footage below may seem a little dated to fans that follow the game closely, but we really like it because it provides a glimpse behind the scenes and into the personal lives of some of the top competitors. The video segments are part of an upcoming documentary, "J, Robot" by Michael Garrigues that focuses on some of the key aspects of Japanese culture that have enabled them to lead the world in robot development and deployment.

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