Thunderbolt Robot’s Realistic Walking Comes From Innovative Design (Video)

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Humanoid robot walking is difficult, much more difficult than most people think. We assume that it’s easy because we, and most people we know, can do it without thinking. But we forget all the months, even years, of practice, trial and error, bumps and bruises, that we put in as children before we got to the point where we could walk smoothly without effort and without having to focus on what we were doing.


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Surprising ROBO-ONE Light Robot Design Pushes The Rules (Video)

Robo-one Light

ROBO-ONE was originally conceived as “Humanoid Robot Entertainment” with the unstated goal of stimulating a whole generation of Japanese, and international, developers to get involved in the humanoid robot movement. Everyone knew it would be impossible to replicate the performance of Honda’s ASIMO robot on a hobbyist budget, but it would be fun to see how far they could push the envelope in that direction.



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ROBO-ONE Light 10 Humanoid Robot Competition Behind-the-Scenes Tour (Video)

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Everyone knows how crazy the Japanese are about humanoid robots, but it's hard to really appreciate how extreme the mania is unless you can go behind the scenes and experience it first hand. In mid-March we were lucky enough to have access to all the pit areas for the 10th bi-annual ROBO-ONE Light competition.

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Keep in mind that this is just one of the many humanoid competitions that take place regularly in Japan. There are regional competitions across the nation, some colleges and universities stage regular competitions, and some robot companies like KONDO hold competitions as well. It’s hard to get a good estimate of how many people are actively involved in the sport, and learning experience, nationwide. We can only judge from the large crowds of participants and audience that turn out in force for events like this.

Moreover, each one of those robots represents an investment of typically USD$1,500 or more plus countless hours of assembly, testing, motion creation, modifications/improvements, and practice. It’s not unusual for a fan dedicated to the sport to invest USD$10,000 or more constantly evolving and improving their robot over a period of many years.

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Competitors come from all walks of life, age groups, and genders. While some of the participants are professional engineers, many are students, housewives, and even truck drivers. The one thing they have in common is a passion for robotics.

Related links: ROBO-ONE 10 #robotsdreams

More information at

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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

More information at

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Robosavvy Robotics Founder Limor Schweitzer Featured on Fox Business (Video)

 Creating a robot with a 3D printer | Fox Business Video

Robosavvy founder Limor Schweitzer was featured on Fox Business discussing the impact of 3D printing on robot design and manufacturing.

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Schweitzer compared the cost of some well known research robots, which can run from $30k to over $1 million, versus much more accessible 3D printed humanoids in the $1,000-$3,000 range.

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To illustrate his points, Schweitzer brought along two robots - Franky, a surprisingly complex and capable humanoid (closeup below), and Fonzie, a dancing and entertainment humanoid featuring the 3D printed head of Jason Bradbury - host of the UK Gadget Show program.

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Here’s the full interview:





Via: Creating a robot with a 3D printer | Fox Business Video

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24th ROBO-ONE Competition Regulations Released

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The latest revision to the ROBO-ONE humanoid robot competition regulations is online, and surprisingly there is lots of red ink. The ROBO-ONE organising committee always highlights any changes from the previous version in red to make it easier for competitors to find the differences, and to avoid any disputes or confusion at the events.

For the most part, most of the changes in the revision for the 24th ROBO-ONE competition are fairly minor, but a few may cause some heartburn or controversy. Nevertheless, it’s surprising to see so many changes in the regulations for a competition that’s been held every six months for the past 11+ years.

Some of the changes that immediately caught my eye are:

1) Robot weight is limited to a maximum of 3 Kg or lighter. There are some heavier robots that actively compete, and they usually have a strong advantage, so this change will probably make the matches more equal and interesting. At the same time, it’s really a shame that the larger robots over 3 Kg will be deprived the chance to compete.

2) The length of the 9 meter pre-qualifying sprint course may be changed depending on the venue. Does this imply that they are considering moving the event to another location? Perhaps.

3) There is more definition about the center of gravity and angle of attack during matches. The clarification is probably good, but will be hard to understand clearly and for the referee to administer. 

4) There’s an added section with regard to start/stop buttons on autonomous robots which seems to imply that they expect more autonomous competitors. In the past there has only been one or two autonomous entries that made it into the finals.

5) They seem to be very concerned about attacks from a squatting position, and also robots that deliberately throw themselves off balance to attack. They even characterize that strategy as a ‘desperation technique.'

Via: ROBO-ONE Regulations (PDF)

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King Kizer Z Designed to Take on and Destroy Full Sized Humaniod Robot Opponents (Video)

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Nao Maru, the creator of the King Kizer series of ROBO-ONE champion humanoid robots, is taking the game to an entirely new level. As a part of Nippon Television “Real Robot Battle” competition, Maru put together King Kizer Z, a super sized humanoid robot that should be able to more than hold it’s own in the ring, and potentially take home the crown.

King Kizer Z stands just over 2 meters tall and tips the scales at 230 kg (506 lb.) which makes it a very formidable opponent, especially since Maru always plays to win.

Maru’s massive robot is equipped with pneumatic air cylinders in each arm and programming that enables it to throw a killer combination punch:

And, if that wasn’t enough, King Kizer Z has built-in canons capable of firing up to 12 shots per bout:


Via: MARU Family

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