The Robot Japan competitions get better and better each time. The 5th bi-annual event, held last Sunday in Tokyo, was the best competition yet from all aspects. The professionalism, showmanship, energy, and excitement was absolutely fantastic.
Here's my photo set of the afternoon. I'll be posting several videos of the action on the Robots Dreams YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/robotsdreams) also.
The ROBO-ONE organizing committee announced that the 6th ROBO-ONE Light competition will be held Saturday, February 23, 2013 at the Miraikan National Museum of Emerging Science in Tokyo.
The qualifying tests for the 22nd ROBO-ONE competition will be held the same day immediately following the ROBO-ONE Light event, with the full competition scheduled for Sunday, February 24th, 2013 at the same venue.
The events, which will be staged in the large 7th floor auditorium, are open to the public with free admission.
This is Japan, so you would think the people wouldn't be surprised to see a robot rolling around in the streets. But, somehow, the TurtleBot-2 managed to surprise and delight quite a few customers and bystanders in the streets of Nagoya this weekend.
William Morris, the founder of Iheartengineering – a great resource for specialty tools, kits, ideas, and even custom parts – dropped in on us last week during his business trip to Korea. William was kind enough to bring along the latest turtle bot configuration and show it off.
I'll be posting more about the turtle bot in the next day or so, including more video, some detailed photos, and a summary of Williams presentation at the Tokyo HackerSpace.
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:
Robot fans have a new mecca and excuse to make the trek to Japan. There's a new 'Robot Restaurant' in the Kabukicho district of Tokyo that will knock your socks off. Featuring giant female mechas, a light show that runs the risk of burning your eyes out, golden toilets, and what appears to be a pretty run of the mill Japanese bento lunchbox. But no one comes here for the food.
Admission, which includes the opportunity to get your photo taken riding/controlling one of the mechas, a one hour show, and the lunchbox, runs just under USD$40. Checkout the full tour in the video below.
After breaking the news last night about Takara Tomy's new i-SODOG robot dog, I was able to get more information plus a set of close-up photos and video of the awesome robot in action.