Iketomu-san, who publishes the great Biped Robot News Japan blog, was able to participate in the 5th KondoLand Multi-Legged Robot Obstacle Race competition held January 8th in Akihabara. The unusual competition features hazards including a large seesaw, moving wall robots that attempt to block or push the competitor off the course, a conveyor belt running against the direction the competitor needs to go, and a swirling whirlpool of styrofoam packing peanuts.
The competition has been going for long enough that some of the builders have started to optimize their robot designs to deliver the best performance over the obstacle course. One that really stood out to me was Amino-san's new TicTac6 robot.
Kondo Robot announced two new multi-legged robot kits expanding their already impressive line of high performance, and highly modifiable, robots. Famous for introducing the first hobby humanoid robot kit, the KHR-1, and the most popular platforms of choice for ROBO-ONE competitors, Kondo has recently branched out into multi-legged robots.
In addition to robot fans and hobbyists, Kondo kits have become extremely popular among technical high schools, colleges, other academic institutions, as well as research facilities here in Japan. Both of the two new robot kits are likely to attract a strong following, particularly since their price/performance is expected to be improved over existing products already on the market.
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.
’Mega Hobby Robot Event Coming Up’ continues
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.
In the early days of hobby humanoid robotics even simple tasks, like walking up a couple of stair steps, was a major challenge. The first robots lacked gyros for balance and used servos that weren't specifically designed for robot use. Later, as gyros became more commonplace, the top robot builders were able to accomplish climbing stairs, with varying results, but the servo power left something to be desired.
Now, with the benefit of high power servos and better, easier to use and program, some off-the-shelf humanoid kit robots, like the Kondo KHR-3HV, can conquer the task fairly easily, as Shibata-san with LIGHTFOOT Robotics demonstrated below.
’Humanoid Robot Stair Climbing (Video)’ continues
Subscribers to ROBOT Magazine are receiving their copies of the latest issue right about now, and the store copies should be in bookstores very soon.
This particular issue, with the Kumotek KT-X humanoid robot on the cover, will prove to be quite interesting and exciting since it includes coverage of robots at the Maker Faire, animatronic dinosaurs, a how-to on programing servos, Arduino Bot Brains, a chance to win a Parallax robot, a look at the latest Kondo hexapod robot, and our detailed coverage of RoboGames 2011.