Recently the costume pictured above, a prefab $400 ASIMO-like suit, has made the rounds on various sites. It’ll turn heads, but upon closer inspection it’s just not realistic enough to pass for a real robot. But have a gander at this one:
Now this is what I’m talking about. Yamamoto Katsura, an alumni of Waseda University, made this ASIMO costume himself, mostly out of wood. Apparently, one of the most famous events held by Waseda University is the annual Honjo-Waseda 100km Hike, which takes 2 days and typically gathers a thousand participants. In keeping with the hike’s spirit of pushing one’s physical limits, some participants decided to take it one step further by donning costumes as a kind of handicap. Pretty soon people were trying to one-up each other to see who could make the best costume, and the World’s Longest Costume Parade was born, with the hike’s organizers fanning the flames by handing out awards. More pictures and a video of the suit in action after the break.
Part of the fun of the ASIMO costume appearing at the Waseda University hike is the seething hatred felt by Waseda University’s robotics team towards the Honda robot, which largely stole their thunder in the bipedal robot achievement history books.
Led by the late Prof. Ichiro Kato, Waseda University engineers built the first walking bipedal robot in 1973, long before Honda began its own secretive bipedal experiments in the ’80s. Another sharp blow to Waseda’s roboticists came when SONY shut down their robotics division, which had a secret partnership with Waseda University’s Professor Atsuo Takanishi and his laboratory. Had SONY actually commercialized QRIO, they would have beaten Honda to market with the first household bipedal humanoid robot, but sadly that was not to be. They still hold ownership of QRIO’s motion control technology though, so who knows?
Anyway, the ASIMO costume, built out of several wooden pieces, is but one of 12 amazing costumes Katsura has created for the event over the years, which can be browsed at your convenience at his website. They include such delightful flights of fancy as Pepsi Man, Oyajichi (a play on the once-popular Tamagotchi virtual pet), and a walking iMac. Genius.
[source: 100 High Road Masquerade (JP)]