ROBOTIS-MINI Faces Tough Opponents at ROBO-ONE Light in Japan (Video)

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Although the ROBOTIS-MINI entry level humanoid kit robot is considerably smaller and lighter than the typical ROBO-ONE competitor, it still features speed and agility that ensure that with an experienced operator it can survive in the competition ring.

At the ROBO-ONE Light event, held mid-March in Atsugi, Japan, one of the ROBOTIS-MINI robots clearly demonstrated the robots potential. Of course, in the end the laws of physics have to prevail, and as you might expect, the robot was eliminated by a stronger competitor. Nevertheless, the ROBOTIS-MINI managed to duck and weave while avoiding what might have been killer punches from its opponents.

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Think about it for a moment. Here’s a low-cost, under USD$500, humanoid robot that is Open-Source/Open-Hardware, as easy to put together as an IKEA bookshelf, Arduino compatible, targeted at STEM and robotics learners as well as researchers and hobbyists, and it turns out that almost out-of-the-box it is capable of going head to head with ROBO-ONE class humanoids. That’s pretty amazing. The ROBOTIS-MINI is making humanoid robots accessible, affordable, and exciting. You can’t beat that combination.

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ROBO-ONE Light is open to all humanoid builders at an entry level and features pre-qualified robot kits that are typically around 1 kg. in weight. Competitions are held the day before the ROBO-ONE events.

ROBOTIS-MINI was formerly marketed as the DARWIN-MINI humanoid robot kit.

Related links: ROBOTIS #robotsdreams

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Japanese Robot Pro-Wrestling Invades RoboGames 2015 (Video)

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Robot Pro Wrestling during RoboGames 2015 in San Mateo, California. Ryuketsu-Kamen, piloted by Yoshifumi Omata, and Thunderbolt, piloted by Yoshihiro Shibata face off in the ring to give the crowds a taste of what real robot pro wrestling in Japan is like.

Omaha and Shibata love introducing their humanoid entertainment robots to children of all ages in hopes that it will inspire some of them to get involved in robotics and STEM learning opportunities, or even purse a career in engineering or science. They are so dedicated that they took vacation time off from their regular day jobs, bought plane tickets, and flew half way across the globe just to compete in RoboGames.

Via: Robot Pro-Wrestling Dekinnoka!23 -Thunderbolt VS Ryuketsu-Kamen- - YouTube #robotsdreams
More information at Robots Dreams

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Japan ‘Robots in the Home’ Guru to Headline at Innorobo 2015

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Fascinated by robots as a young child, Yuki Nakagawa, founder and CEO of RT Corp, has been involved in Japanese humanoid robotics and robots in the home for almost her entire career. Her life’s mission is to improve and enhance people’s quality of life through the use of robot technologies.

This July she’ll be sharing her unique observations, insights, know-how, and vision for the future at Innorobo 2015 in Lyon, France. It’s a rare opportunity to meet and interact with a Japanese expert in the field to gain insight into why Japan has earned a high reputation for human/robot interaction and co-working, and to talk about what the future may hold. 

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Via: Innorobo conferences | Innorobo and RT Corp. #robotsdreams
More information at Robots Dreams

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New Co-Working Space in Chiba

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It’s not unusual to find good co-working spaces around Tokyo, or most major urban areas for that matter. However, I was pleasantly surprised to discover a very large and comfortable co-working space just a short distance from my home in the suburbs of Tokyo.

Located less than 2 minutes on foot from Inage Kaigan JR Station in Chiba, the SHI TSU RAI Co-working Space is an excellent shared office space. Open 7 days a week from 10 am until 7 pm, in addition to a clean, well lit work area, the facility offers free high speed WiFi, power, coffee/beverages, plus attractive discounts. You can use the facility by the hour, day, or month.

Basically, for ¥1,000, about what you would spend for a coffee and cookie at Starbucks, you can use the facility all day . It’s so reasonable and pleasant, that I’m signing up for a monthly membership.

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The staff is extremely pleasant, knowledgeable, and helpful. Keeping in mind that this is the suburbs, their English speaking level was certainly sufficient to handle all of my needs and requests.

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This would be perfect for meetings, training sessions, or other similar events. Of course, that type of use would have to be booked in advance.

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The free drink bar is including in your access fee and includes water, tea, coffee, and other beverages.

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When I used to work for big corporations, everyone fought over the offices with windows to the outside world. Now I can enjoy that environment every day.

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The building entrance signage leaves a lot to be desired and tends to be a bit dark, but don’t let that put you off.

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The SHI TSU RAI Co-working Space is on the 3rd floor along with several restaurants. Since it’s located close to a major train station, there is lots of shopping, convenience stores, restaurants, and even a Mister Donut shop just a few quick steps away.

Via: SHI TSU RAI Co-working Space 
More information at Robots Dreams

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Is Wakamaru Alive and Well, or…?


Wakamaru, the mutil-function service robot developed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries close to a decade ago has never seemed to gain much traction or use outside of research labs and universities. While Wakamaru is extremely cute, most observers agreed that it didn’t really address a compelling customer need, especially at it’s USD$14,000 price point.

A tweet earlier today by @rani_chocobreak seems to provide visual confirmation that Wakamaru may have reached the end of its rope. According to the tweet, there are quite a few Wakamaru robots stored in the garbage collection area at an unnamed Japanese university.

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NTV Set to Repeat Real Robot Battle TV Special (Video)

Real robot battle

No specifics yet, but NTV has posted a promotional banner on their website advertising the 2014 Real Robot Battle competition. Last years event, which resulted in a 2+ hour television special, turned out to be extremely popular, and the company is hoping to repeat that success and perhaps even turn it into an annual event.

Assuming that the rules haven’t changed from 2013, anywhere from six to eight teams will field massive robots over 2 meters tall to battle it out in the ring. Each robot utilizes a wheeled mobility platform of their own design, but from the knees up the competitors are quasi-humanoid and powerful enough to inflict significant damage on each other. 

This should give you an idea of how big these robots really are:

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Japanese Government Plans to Stimulate Low Cost Robot Use

Strategic support  the government  Yomiuri Shimbun low cost robot the spread  photo  Yahoo News

Here’s the online version of the Yomiuri Shimbun article reporting on the Japanese government strategy to boost low-cost robots -

Basically the information is the same as we reported in the previous post, though there are a few more specifics. The article also mentions a proposed robot competition, tentatively named “Robot Olympics”, the government plans to stage in conjunction with the Tokyo Olympics and ParaOlympics in 2020. Needless to say the IOC will make them come up with a different name as it has in the past with other robot events.

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Japan Robot Stocks Surge on Rumors of Government Initiative


Japanese robot stock prices surged in Tokyo when the market opened Monday morning boosted by a report that the Japanese government plans to actively promote the sector in conjunction with the 2020 Olympics.

Share prices of Kikuchi Seisakusho, Cyberdyne, Kawada Technologies, Harmonic Drive Systems, and Hihaisuto Seiko all responded positively when the Yomimuri Shimbun newspaper reported that the government will support the dissemination of low cost robots. The initiative appears to be focused on the manpower shortage in dealing with Japan’s ageing population, nursing care, agriculture, disaster response, infrastructure inspection, and more traditional factory automation applications.

The robot market is expected to expand from 700 billion yen in 2012 to about 2.4 trillion yen by 2020 when the Tokyo Olympics take place. More detailed information on the government’s plans to stimulate growth in the robotics market is expected to be announced later this month.

Related link: Japanese Robot Stocks Surge

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35th All Japan MicroMouse Robot Contest 2014 Announced

micromouse robot

Dates for the 35th Annual All Japan Micromouse Robot Contest were announced by the Japanese New Technology Foundation. The contest, which includes Micromouse Half-size, Micromouse Classic, and Robotrace categories, will be held November 21st-23rd, 2014 at the Atsugi Campus of Tokyo Polytechnic University.

Contest entries will be accepted from September 1st-30th. Admission to view the contest is open to the public with no admission charge.

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