Chroino (a name derived from “to chronicle” and “kuroi” [lit. black]) is a diminutive humanoid robot designed by Tomotaka Takahashi of Kyoto University’s ROBO-GARAGE. While conventional robot designs are obsessed with practicality, Chroino is a robotic work of art; a kinetic sculpture with a life of its own.
Takahashi-san wanted to eliminate the awkward walking style of robots, which tend to walk and run with constantly bent knees, leading some to speculate they desperately need to relieve themselves (take Asimo’s running gait, for example). With his SHIN-Walk technology (lit. Silky Walk) Chroino walks more naturally with a smooth and steady swagger that earned him a spot on TIME’s list of Coolest Inventions of 2004.
One of the reasons Takahashi-san likes to create smaller robots is to dampen the public’s unrealistic expectations of them. Chroino has a limited repertoire: he can sit up and stand up on his own; dust off his hands; take a few steps; and balance on one foot. He can also kick a small soccer ball around – but he’s not much of an athlete.
Takahashi-san is regularly invited to robot-related expos and Chroino is usually not far away, but Chroino is not for sale. If you are interested, Takahashi-san has designed a pair of similar robots for Kyosho and Volks (the Manoi PF-01 & Neon, respectively). See their entries for more information.
- ROBO-GARAGE (official website JP/EN)
- Chroino toy figure @ Vstone’s online store (JP)
- Tomotaka Takahashi profile @ Impress Robot Watch (2) (3)
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