People frequently put-down the hobby humanoid robot movement by pointing out that the robots are operated by remote control. Apparently they feel that the design is similar to controlling an R/C car or plane. Based on our own personal experience, nothing could be further from the truth. Humanoid robotics, even at the hobby level, is much more complex, challenging, and demanding, than driving an R/C car.
Nevertheless, the whole debate is about to become totally irrelevant. Over the past two years many of the humanoid robot designs have incorporated more and more autonomous operation. A good example is King Kizer with his autonomous opponent detection. In the heat of battle it's common for the operator to become so excited that they attack in the wrong direction. King Kizer automatically detects opponent positioning and attacks in the right direction every time.
Now we're starting to see totally autonomous designs come out of the workshops. At the recent Kondo Robot Battle competition we watched Black Tiger Neo autonomously hold its own against some tough opponents (see video below).
’Hobby Humanoid Robots Turn Autonomous (Video)’ continues
In the early ROBO-ONE competitions there was always a 'Rumble' competition featuring the top robots trying to knock each other totally out of the ring. It was a robot version of 'King of the Hill' or 'Last Man Standing', and it was always a tremendous amount of fun.
Somewhere around ROBO-ONE 10, the Rumble was dropped from the lineup. But, thankfully, it's still a key part of independent competitions like the Wonderful Robot Carnival. Last weekend, at the 4th Wonderful Robot Carnival, 40+ robots participated in the Rumble, though they were split into 4 individual groups since it would have been total chaos if they all tried to fight at once.
Thanks to the genius and creativity of Ishikawa-san, the Wonderful Robot Carnival has turned out to be an extremely unique and exciting robot competition. Without a doubt it's our favorite in the Kanto area of Japan.
In just a few short hours last Sunday afternoon over 40 robots battled their way through a whole series of different events like the dash, bottle traction (pull), die shoot, balloon survival, and rumble. Only the top competitors would qualify to fight in the ring for the right to pre-qualify for ROBO-ONE 13.
The outcome was surprising and suspense filled. At the end of the day Naaga and Garoo fought for the regulation three minute ROBO-ONE battle, and the result was a 2-2 tie. That threw the match into Sudden Death Overtime, and the fun was just beginning.
Normally after all the competitions are said and done, and the builders aren't worried about some minor damage keeping them from participating in the next round, we have a rumble event - the humanoid equivalent of Kind of the Hill or Last Robot Standing.
At RoboGames 2007 there were finally enough active competitors that we had the first rumble, then a little while later everyone decided they just hadn't had enough fun, so we had a second hilarious rumble.
’RoboGames 2007 – Humanoid Robot Rumble (Video)’ continues
We found our way to Fort Mason late in the afternoon, got checked in, and spent a couple hours chatting with other competitors and the setup crew. We also took some initial RoboGames 2007 photos.
The overall schedule for the infividual events still hasnt been published, though they dd indicate that it should be available first thing in the morning.