It's been a while since Richard Heene has been in the news, but he's back, firing on all cylinders, and pumping what he claims to be a heavy duty truck transformer robot that features everything a truck driving craftsman could ever dream of, with the possible exception of a built-in bar, though anything is possible. Heene's promotional video (see below), which reminds me a lot of Cal Worthington in his TV commercial heyday, lays it all out for you.
’Heavy Duty Truck Transformer Robot (Video)’ continues
Ever wonder what it's like for a novice micromouse robot builder to compete in Japan?
Yukimi Hayafune, an intelligent young woman with a day-job supporting the accomplished robot builders at RT Corp in Japan, wanted to try robot construction and competition for herself. After assembling and testing a Pico Classic micromouse robot, she entered three major competitions here, starting with the Chubu Area Micromouse Beginner's Contest in September. She has another major competition scheduled for October, and then plans to try her luck at the All Japan Micromouse competition held in Tsukuba towards the end of November.
Hayafune-san was kind enough to share her experiences, along with a video, in the report below.
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.
Technology development today faces some serious limitations that constrains its application and successful deployment, especially in non-traditional sectors. The two biggest limitations, at least from my perspective, are battery capacity/life and sensors. While there has certainly been a lot of progress in both areas over the past two decades, the core technology and design approach hasn't really changed very much.
In order to achieve radical improvements in the way we put technology to practical use some significant breakthroughs in both areas will be critical. Along those lines, one of the most interesting and surprising "thinking out of the box" sensor developments I've run across recently is the FuwaFuwa sensor module developed as a part of the Igarashi Design Interface Project under the auspices of the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) ERATO.
"FuwaFuwa" in the Japanese language is a kind of onomatopoeic word that roughly translates as light/airy/fluffy, and that's exactly what the FuwaFuwa sensor module does.
Michael Overstreet has been a good and respected friend since the first time we hooked up several years ago at RoboGames in California. So, I hope he doesn't mind if I make some frank, and well deserved, comments.
When we first met Michael seemed like a typical robot geek, very talented with lots of expertise, but a bit shy and withdrawn. You really had to push him to get him to tell you what he thought. I'm sure he had lots of valuable and useful things to share, but they didn't flow easily.
Over the years, with experience, learning, and success, Michael has really blossomed and come out of his shell. He's become a key member of the Cowtown Computer Congress - Kansas City's leading hackerspace, a frequent exhibitor and participant in Maker Faire events all over the US, and a strong proponent of the DARwin-OP humanoid robot platform.
I had a fantastic time at the Robot Japan 2 event on Sunday and am just working through all the great photos and videos from the day. Check out the photo gallery below to get a feel for the event. I should have some videos up soon.
’Robot Japan 2 Competition Photo Gallery’ continues