In Japan and abroad, hobbyist robot kits are becoming more and more popular, with new models being introduced to market regularly. Kyosho, a company specializing in R/C cars, planes, and helicopters, sells a kit designed by Tomotaka Takahashi (ROBO-GARAGE) called the Manoi PF01 (Humanoid Performance type 01). The design is loosely based on his Chroino humanoid, but features its own distinct look. Standing 38cm (15 inches) tall, it’s also one of the largest hobbyist kits available.
You’ll have to assemble more than 100 parts, including the 17 Kondo-brand servo motors that drive the Manoi’s joints. The included LiPo batteries last 25-40 minutes depending on the actions performed. The exterior shell is pre-painted in cream and black (the first 150 came in special editions painted silver and gold). If you’re after a different color scheme, you’ll need to do it yourself. Optional parts like gyro sensors can help the robot maintain balance. It takes around 8 hours to put together, and afterwards you’ll have some fine-tuning to do using the included software to get your robot moving.
Unlike most hobbyist kits, which are aimed at competition events like Robo-One, where various custom robots compete in sumo and football matches, the Manoi PF01 is meant to be a fun showpiece. As such, it comes with a variety of motion files like dancing, balancing on one foot, and so on. That said, Kyosho holds tournaments where Manois face off against each other, and the more savvy owners have customized their ‘bots with higher grade servos for better performance. The main event is a footrace, as combat might damage the outer body, which is kind of the Manoi PF01′s primary selling point.
So how much will the Manoi PF01 set you back? Well depending on what extras you buy around $2000, making it one of the most expensive hobbyist kits available. Remember, you are paying for the servo motors (which quickly add up) and the beautifully designed outer body (one the best looking kits on the market). Buyer beware; the instructions are in Japanese, so the company is hesitant to sell it to anyone outside Japan (they can’t provide customer support if things go wrong). Still, I’m mighty tempted to save up and get my own Manoi PF01!
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