Robert Oschler has done a fantastic job of single-handedly developing the RoboDance application that allows users of almost every WowWee robot, and some other manufacturers robots like the popular Takara/TOMY iSOBOT, control their bots remotely using their computer, voice, WiiMote, and even mind control using the Emotiv EPOC EEG headset.
For four consecutive years Robert labored diligently to produce each annual feature packed new RoboDance release, funding everything out of his own pocket and contributing all the work to the open source community so that everyone would benefit. It's been a labor of love.
But, as wonderful and powerful as love is, we all still need food, warmth, and a roof over our heads. Even robots have to pay for electricity to recharge their batteries and oil to lubricate their joints. So, to help "keep the lights on" and continue RoboDance development, Robert has put out a call for support.
There are several ways supporters can help. Robert has a number of Internet domains up for sale, including one that should be extremely attractive to anyone in the Google Android community. It's a great chance to lock down a strong domain while supporting a very worthy cause. Or if you prefer just click on the donate link on the RoboDance Fundraiser page and send Robert as much as you feel comfortable giving. I'm sure he will welcome, and acknowledge, all contributions no matter how big or small.
In the week between last Christmas and New Years, we had the great opportunity to visit Nao Maru and his family at their home in Hikone, Japan. They were kind enough to answer all of our endless questions about the development of King Kizer, the ROBO-ONE Champion robot for ROBO-ONE 10, why they feel so strongly about robotic competitions, and how that has lead to an amazing winning record at events here in Japan over the past two years.
Thanks to their patience and cooperation, the Summer issue of Robot Magazine, due to hit bookstores and news stands in the US on May 1st, will feature a four page, detailed article titled "Playing to Win!" - Nao Maru's core philosophy and a major driving force behind the success of Maru Family and their King Kizer series robots.
RT Corporation, founded by Yuki Nakagawa, has always been one of our favorite stops whenever we have the opportunity to visit the Akihabara electronics district of Tokyo. Now she has given us a couple of new reasons to visit the RT showroom as often as we possibly can manage.
As you can see from the photos below, RT has moved to a bigger, and much more spacious, facility just a couple minutes walk from the main Akihabara train station. It's obvious from the size, and the stock in the RT showroom, that they are firm believers in the concept that the robot boom is starting to experience a strong growth explosion, not just here in Japan, but globally.
We have to confess. We've unintentionally been holding out on you. There's an absolutely wonderful online resource, regularly refreshed with great robotic content, that we've been enjoying for quite a while but somehow totally forgot to share with all of our readers.
Every two weeks Markus Waibel, with the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems, EPFL, Switzerland, interviews some of the leading researchers and professionals involved in robotics and artificial intelligence world wide and distributes the audio interviews via the Talking Robots Podcast.
’Robots, Research, Podcasts, And A Dog Named Ken’ continues
Our recent visit with Nakano-san, the creator of EMMA-U0A - the small yet fully functional humanoid robot, drew a lot of attention from our readers. People are very interested in EMMA's design, how Nakano-san did the fabrication, availability of the GWS servos that EMMA uses, EMMA's gaits, and quite a few other details.
At this moment, we're not in a position answer all the questions that were submitted, primarily because of other pressing schedule commitments. But, we don't want to ignore our faithful readers, so to tide them over until we can put together a really comprehensive article covering EMMA, we've included some additional video clips below.
’EMMA Just Gets Better and Better (Video)’ continues
If you're a robot fan who happens to live in Japan there is no better way to spend a gray, rainy Sunday afternoon, then to hop on the train to Akihabara and hang out with other folks with the same interests and passion. It's great to be able to find out the latest news and rumors, pick up some spare parts and accessories, log some practice time, or just chat with each other.
Up until recently the number of 'gathering' spots was fairly limited. The Tsukumo Robot Kingdom is probably the most well known location, and we've certainly run into a lot of friends there from time to time. Still, it is a retail store focused on selling robot kits and components to an ever growing crowd of customers. The staff is certainly very open and helpful, but it really isn't a place where you want to practice with your robot.
Then, just a couple of weeks ago, Kondo, the developer of the KHR-1 and KHR-2HV robots and a charter member of the ROBO-ONE organization, opened a new facility in Akihabara called "ROBO SPOT", about five minutes walk from Tsukumo, that seems destined to become an active center for the robot community here in Japan.
’Kondo Expands The Akihabara Robot Scene’ continues