Exclusive Close-up Look At The World's Fastest Half-size Micromouse Robot (Video)

100925 Kato half size micromouse 002

The annual All Japan Micromouse robot competition is just a little over a month away, so everyone here has been watching the regional preliminary contests like a hawk. And, the one builder that everyone has their eye on is Kato-san, who demonstrated unbelievable expertise in all categories of last year's competition, but due to a small miscalculation ended up not winning the big prize.

We were lucky enough to get an exclusive close-up look at his latest half-size micromouse design, named "Egg Torte". (more…)

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ROBO-ONE 17: A look at the pit area (Photo set)

After an intense set of morning matches that slashed the competitors from 32 down to only the top 16 robots it was time for a well earned lunch break. Most of the fans, and the defeated robot builders just relaxed, walked over to the restaurants in the next building, or just sat outside to enjoy lunch boxes they packed from home.

Upstairs, on the 9th floor, the situation was completely different. The


There was no time to rest, relax, or even catch your breath. The action would crank up again in just over an hour, and everyone had to be ready to do battle. No excuses, and no extensions. The robot builders were focused on repairing any damage from the first round, charging their robots batteries, exchanging observations with the other builders to see if they could catch some hint to improve their fighting tecniques and strategies.


Some builders were even hurridly reprograming their robots to adjust for the techniques they expected their next competitor to use. This often happens when a tall robot plans to go head to head with one that’s much shorter. Suddenly all the great moves and arm swings that had been quite effective turn utterly useless as they go way over a short robots head.


Some of the larger robot designs demand constant care and attention. It’s easy for the aluminum frames used by most competitiors to twist, warp, or even bend to the point of breaking in the heat of battle.


It’s also a time for quiet reflection and thinking about their next opponent. Maeda-san, pictured with OmniZero above, seems deep in thought. The recent changes in the ROBO-ONE format have eliminated the Technical Demonstration phase where he always shines, head and shoulders above most of the other builders. Now the competition centers completely on the head-to-head battles. Of course Maeda can compete successfully, but his true nature and spirit is more “builder & creative artist” than the “Gladiator” type that it takes to win the top prize and championship belt.


Of course there are exceptions to every rule, and not all the robot pilots were stressed out. A few seemed very relaxed, laid-back, and took the whole thing in style:


You’ll enjoy the full ROBO-ONE 17 Pit Area photoset.

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Real G: Gundam Statue Photo Book


It isn’t listed on Amazon Japan yet (otherwise we’d already have it on order), but Kadokawa will be releasing the “Real G” photo book documenting the construction of the life sized Gundam figure built to commemorate the giant robot’s 30th anniversary.

The photo book will be B5 size with 100 pages of full color photos by Noriko Yamguchi documenting the entire process from conception, design, construction, and unveiling this weekend. The projected release date is July 31 with a price of 1,200 yen.

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