ROBO-ONE Light: My Personal Favorite Image

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Of all the photos I took at the ROBO-ONE Light competition in Kawasaki last Saturday, and I took over 400+, this particular image is my hands down favorite.

That might seem a little strange, especially since there aren't any battling bots in view. There are several reasons why it speaks to me so deeply and completely. First, it shows two different generations, separated by several decades, yet sharing the same pure pleasure and concentration, connected by their love of the sport and the sense of accomplishment that comes from competing at this level.

Second, the gentleman smiling with intense pleasure behind the table is Terukazu Nishimura, the founder of the ROBO-ONE humanoid robot entertainment movement.

Over ten years ago he had a dream. That, in itself, isn't unusual. Everyone has dreams and aspirations. But Nishimura took it on himself to make his dream a reality. It didn't come easy. He had to take a lot of personal and financial risks, and he put his own personal credibility on the line as he convinced, cajoled, and encouraged everyone from major companies like Bandai and Sunrise, to smaller companies including Kondo and Futaba, plus a raft of hobbyists to get involved.

Of course it took the hard work and dedication of over a hundred volunteers and participants over the past decade to make the ROBO-ONE movement the success it is today.

Without Nishimura, without his dream, and without his unflagging focus and commitment, none of this would have happened. The lives of so many robot fans and builders, not just in Japan but all over the world, would be less enriched and a little sadder. His gift, his dream, has already blessed and inspired several generations.

So, when I see this photo, when I see the broad, happy, engrossed smile on Nishimura's face, I know, and I'm sure he knows, that it's all been worthwhile. I hope he understands the debt of gratitude and appreciation that all of us owe to him.


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GAROO Retains ROBO-ONE Championship in the Final Match (Video)

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There have been many ROBO-ONE Champions since the well-known humanoid robot competition first started 10 years ago, but I'm sure that back in 2002 no one ever imagined that the same builder would win the title twice in a row, and that the competitor that did would be a woman.

That's exactly what happened this afternoon when GAROO, the reigning ROBO-ONE 19 champion, went head to head in the ring against Gargoyle Mini for the ROBO-ONE 20 championship, a huge trophy, and a cash prize worth approximately $12,000.


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Japanese Science Magazine Features Doka Harumi Humanoid Robot (Video)

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Gakken, a leading Japanese publisher of science related magazines and low cost kits just released Volume 33 in the popular Otona No Kagaku series. I was surprised, and very pleased to find Kazuki Sumi's humanoid robot creation, Doka Harumi with a feature article in the magazine.

Like most of the Gakken publications, Volume 33 centers around a simple kit, this time it's a miniature version of the Roomba robot that includes enough functionality to effectively mimic it's real life counterpart. The design is rather unique in that it can accomplish all of that with just minimal electronics and only one drive motor - but more on that in another post.

In addition to the robot kit, Gakken always includes a beautifully executed full color magazine chock full of articles to interest and inspire readers. Doka Harumi, a top competitor in the ROBO-ONE Humanoid Helper Robot Project competitions, was an excellent choice.


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Robot Yuenchi Announces High Performance Custom ROBO-ONE Competiton Robot Kit (Video)

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The Robot Yuenchi group organizes robot events and competitions including the popular Robot Athlete Cup series that started almost five years ago. While the primary robot type featured in their events are humanoids like the Kyosho MANOI and Kondo KHR series, they also promote other types of robots including competitions that have multi-legged bots playing Beach Flag - a variation of the Capture the Flag game we played as kids.

In order to stimulate even more interest in robotics, and with the 10th anniversary ROBO-ONE 20 competition coming up this March, Robot Yuenchi announced a new high performance humanoid robot kit that will go on sale in February.


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20th ROBO-ONE Humanoid Robot Competition Scheduled

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The ROBO-ONE organizing committee officially announced the dates for the 20th ROBO-ONE Humanoid Robot Competition. The event, which marks the 10 year anniversary of the popular movement, will be held at the Kawasaki City Industrial Promotion Hall on March 24th and 25th, 2012.

While the exact time schedule hasn't been released for each day yet, we do know that the 24th (Saturday) will feature the 9 meter qualifying speed trials, and the primary attraction on the 25th (Sunday) will be the traditional ROBO-ONE humanoid robot battles for the championship.

I'll post more information about the event as it becomes available.


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ROBO-ONE Management Reorganizes

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The exact implications aren't clear yet, but today the management of the popular ROBO-ONE humanoid robot movement officially announced a structural reorganization.

According to the new organization chart posted on the ROBO-ONE website, the movement's major events, including the twice annual ROBO-ONE competitions, technical conferences, Humanoid Helper Project, and others, will be organized under Tokyo International Television. This appears, from the chart, to include all the ROBO-ONE Entertainment activities.

Event management and the related technologies/hardware/software will be organized under Best Technologies. No specific mention was made of some events, like the ROBO-ONE Gran Prix series.

The management reorganization may be laying the groundwork for the next phase of ROBO-ONE. The next major competition, ROBO-ONE 20, will mark the 10 year anniversary and will be the perfect occasion to revitalize and re-energize the ground breaking movement. No date has been announced for ROBO-ONE 20, though if it follows the traditional ROBO-ONE pattern the competition will take place sometime in late March or early April.


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Toku Toku Maru Brings Joy for Christmas (Video)

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Azusa Amino, the creator of Toku Toku Maru and one of the top ROBO-ONE humanoid designers since his college days, has a wonderful sense of humor and unbridled creativity. His talents extend far beyond robotics. It seems like he is constantly exploring new technology applications and building leading edge devices, like multi-prop autonomous helicopters.

Since the recent Robot Pro Wrestling Dekinnoka 10! event was held on Christmas Day, and he knew that there would be lots of robot loving children in the audience, he came up with a surprising, and surprisingly cute, fusion of robots, technology, and the spirit of the season.


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