The researchers at Tokyo University’s Nakamura & Yamane Lab set out to improve their humanoid robot design and in 2005 completed the Magnum. They settled on this nickname because they felt it gave the robot an even bolder quality than Mighty. This intimidating robot stands 54cm tall and weighs 7.5kg, while retaining the same number of joints (and joint layout) as before.
Magnum improves on the previous model by reducing the interference between mechanical parts and cables, as well as trimming the fat of the exoskeleton. The joint stiffness has also been improved allowing for more precise movements.
The most important area of improvement was in its electronic brain. Normally these systems are crammed into the narrow space of the chest cavity in a small humanoid, which often leads to knotty maintenance or even damage to the circuits and cables. The researchers built a compact, stand-alone core control system called AnimatoCore to remedy this problem. The idea was to organize the placement of all internal parts (including the batteries), to create an ideal ‘black box’ which could be used in any small humanoid robot.
Magnum was displayed at the Aichi World Expo in 2005. The researchers set up a large screen to display a simulated boxing match between Magnum and a human opponent. The human opponent (one of the researchers) was outfitted with a motion-capture suit so that his moves could be interpreted by the computer in real-time. Meanwhile, Magnum’s A.I. was driving both the real robot and the simulation version. The result was a silly boxing match where the fighters never actually came into contact with one another outside the simulation!
Tokyo U. Nakamura / Yamane Lab | Impress PC Watch