Friday, November 24, 2006

ROBO-ONE 10 – A Gallery of Humanoid Robot Competition in Japan

by Lem Fugitt, Robot contributor and founding blogger Lem Fugitt recently covered the Robo-One 10 tournament, held September 16 – 17, 2006 in Nagai, Yamagata, Japan. This “inside view” of the rapidly expanding Robo-One competition captures the human interest and technology of this robotics competition, and it suggests the future of hobbyist humanoid robot competitions world-wide.

Out of a field of 113 entries and over 70 robots that passed the initial qualification test, only those that scored in the top 32 places during the preliminary demonstration contest were allowed to compete in the ring on the second day.

King Kizer, developed by Nao Maru from Osaka and his family, captured the championship after a long, hard final match that went into Sudden Death overtime.

Each competitor is assigned a small workspace - barely enough room to setup a laptop and their robot. Eiichiro Morinaga (foreground) is busy setting up Metallic Fighter
for its turn in the ring.

A tiny, yet fully functional humanoid robot designed by robotics students at the Chiba Institute of Technology in Japan.

Maeda, the creator of OmniZero.2, taking a close look at the tiny robot developed by students at the Chiba Institute of technology. One of the real strengths of the ROBO-ONE community is the willingness of all the competitors to share help, guidance, and advice with each other.

Matt Bauer presenting a gift of thanks to Terukazu Nishimura, the founder of the ROBO-ONE organization.

MYRO, the Korean champion robot tips the scales at 5 Kg (also below).

Black Blade, created by Shibata of Team Lillac, was really awesome when it brought its grippers into play during the bouts.

Jin Sato, famous for his unique LEGO Mindstorms creations like MIBO - the AIBO clone, is also an avid ROBO-ONE competitor. Jin is a jocular, friendly, enterprising humanoid designer who you will never forget once you meet him. Editor’s note: Jin proudly showed off a self-righting humanoid at the 2005 RoboNexus event that was very impressive. His work currently includes an AIST (Advanced Institute of Science and Technology) initiative with a Linux based humanoid.

Left: Nao Maru, developer of King Kizer. Center: Ken Maru, a junior high school student that operates the champion robot during competitions. The harness he's wearing is a master/slave unit that transmits his arm and upper body movements to the robot. He is holding a modified game controller that enables him to direct the robot and trigger some surprising dives and back flips.

Arius, developed by the Sumi Family, uses a double servo knee configuration. Unlike most of the other builders that use Kondo servos, Sumi has focused exclusively on Hitec servos.

Center: Nao Maru and his two sons won the championship with King Kizer. Right: Yu came in 2nd place with his robot named 'Ivre" Left: 3rd place went to Myongji Robot's MYRO from Korea.

This group of dedicated ROBO-ONE competitors, including Maeda, Dr. GIY, and Jin Sato, organized a tour bus for the 5+ hour drive up to the venue.

This detailed shot of OmniZero.3's knee shows the dual servo configuration that responds twice as fast as the more popular single servo knees.

Nakamura of Himeji Soft Works always comes up with some very unique robot designs, including the WR-07 transformer robot. For ROBO-ONE 10 he came up with "Garuda" an orange robot design that towered over the competitors.

The Sugiura Brothers, Manabu (left) and Yuta (right) do some last minute emergency repairs on RETRO just before battle.

The defending champion team with Great Majingaa also use a master/slave body harness to control their robot.

King Kizer positioning for the kick-off in a game of ROBO-ONE Rumble Ball, a modified version of soccer where tackling and body blocks are not only legal, they are encouraged.

Ken Maru (King Kizer) surrounded by the press after winning the ROBO-ONE 10 championship.

Robot will bring you more of the latest from Japan – stay tuned!
--the editors

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