Kitano Symbiotic, with fuRo & Leading Edge Design, began work in April of 2001 on a testing platform for developing safe humanoid motion control technology through small humanoid robots. In 2002 they finished the Morph 3, dubbed the Metal Athlete. The name Morph comes from the custom-built Morph Motor Modules and flexible Morph Cables which drive the robot’s movement.
Pursuing the design concept of “a fusion of beauty and function”, Morph 3′s body takes a minimalist approach, with parts of the internal structure exposed. This was a conscious decision and is meant to reflect the lean muscles of an athlete.
The forearms have retractable fingers which can grasp objects or pop out quickly to dampen a fall. The duralumin frame provides protection to the 30 servos (duralumin is an age-hardened aluminum alloy commonly used in aircraft and auto body panels).
Despite the somewhat unstable look of the Morph 3, it has a total of 138 sensors embedded inside its sensing network system and a CCD camera with image processing technology to help it adjust to the world around it. For example, tactile sensors under the panels tell the CPU where the body is touching the floor. Designed using three-dimensional CAD software and fabricated in semi-translucent plastic, implanted blinking LEDs signal the status of the CPU.
- Leading Edge Design’s Morph 3 portfolio page (EN)
- fuRo’s Morph 3 info page (JP)
- fuRo official blog (JP)
- fuRo @ Chiba Institute of Technology (EN) (JP)
- Interview @ PingMag Make (EN)
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