Besides being a totally awesome humanoid robot designer, Azusa Amino is also a master showman. Well known for his Toko Toko Maru ROBO-ONE champion class robot, Amino never fails to surprise and delight audiences and robot fans with colorful and action packed robot performances specifically designed to fit in with the theme of a competition.
He consistently goes to extremes to make his robot designs, costumes, and performances as realistic as possible, even when that requires developing new techniques. Pay close attention about half way through the video below and you will immediate see what I mean. The video was captured during the Robot Japan 2 Dance competition and clearly demonstrates why Toko Toko Maru was awarded First Place.(more…)
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.(more…)
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.
The ROBO-ONE video footage below may seem a little dated to fans that follow the game closely, but we really like it because it provides a glimpse behind the scenes and into the personal lives of some of the top competitors. The video segments are part of an upcoming documentary, "J, Robot" by Michael Garrigues that focuses on some of the key aspects of Japanese culture that have enabled them to lead the world in robot development and deployment.(more…)
Humanoid robot motion sequences are difficult to create, especially when they require moving several different degrees of freedom at the same time. More often than not, the robot will lose it's balance and go crashing over. Turns involving twisting the upper body via the limited number of servos in a humanoid robot is really tricky to do well. That's why we were a bit surprised, and impressed, by the slick turn executed by robototakuTEAM's design below.(more…)
When human athletes try to change their bodies, muscles, or in rare cases, gender, there is a huge uproar. The officials, mass media, and quite often, the public frequently call for more stringent testing, both for chemical substances, and sometimes DNA tests. But, little things like that couldn't begin to worry Dr. GIY.
Dr. GIY has taken on all comers in the ROBO-ONE ring, has won top medals at RoboGames in San Francisco, and has become a robotics legend worldwide. He never lets anything distract him from his primary purpose. So, when the Lotte Fit's organization announced a major dance competition, Dr. GIY instantly knew that one of his robots could do the job and win the top prize. So, that's exactly what he set out to do.(more…)
We spent a wonderful, and learning packed, afternoon with the Robot Japan team in Tokyo figuring out how to teach the Aldebaran NAO humanoid robot to draw Japanese kanji characters in the traditional calligraphy style called "Shodo". It may look simple, but take it from me, drawing the characters correctly, in the right stroke order, and with the proper energy and spirit can be a real challenge, even for a human.(more…)
Yoshihiro Shibata believes that robot and motion design is an art, and he aspires to be one of the top artists in his chosen field.
He should know. For the past few years he worked for Kondo Robot in Tokyo where he was the product manager for the KHR-2HV and KHR-3HV humanoid robots as well as the frame design for the Kyosho MANOI AT-01 robot.
His skill is very evident in the video above. Taken by a head mounted camera, the video is surprisingly stable showing how smooth and reliably the robots balance and movements are, even while playing a fast game of Blaser robot laser tag.
Shibata recently spun off on his own and is designing robots and taking on projects via his new company named LightFoot. He's also actively involved in staging robot events and is the technical director for the Robot Japan competitions.
He also did pretty well at RoboGames 2011 in California last month: