In 2009, researchers at fuRo (a division of the Chiba Institute of Technology) began development on a prototype bipedal vehicle called Core that can carry up to 100kg (220 lbs). Unveiled today, Core sits in the same category as KAIST’s HUBO FX-1, and has 40kg more carrying capacity than Toyota’s i-foot. The robot is approximately 2m (6’6″) tall and weighs 230kg (507 lbs), and has specially developed shock absorption that absorbs 80% of the ground impact. They also developed large and powerful brushless motors at 1,200W – 3,000W (a scooter motor is 600W or less). The motors have been designed specifically for use in robot walking, with magnetic absolute angle sensors, unlike standard commercial motors.
Takayuki Furuta, fuRo’s Director, was inspired by Astro Boy when he was only three years old to become a robot doctor. When he was confined to a wheelchair at the age of 14 due to a spinal cord disease, he dreamed of making a pair of robot legs for transportation. Luckily, he regained his ability to walk and went into robotics research. By May of 2000, he had developed the Mk. 5, a small bipedal humanoid robot. In 2002, after a few more evolutions, his team at fuRo had created the Morph3.
Wheelchairs can’t go everywhere that legs can. This has inspired the researchers at fuRo to create some very cool vehicles that have a unique wheel-leg hybrid design (see Hallucigenia-I, Halluc-II). Perhaps someday robotic vehicles like Core will give people legs? More photos and more movies of Core in action can be viewed after the break.
- Official Core press site (JP)
- Core @ Impress PC Watch (JP)
- Core @ RoboTimes (JP)
- Core @ ROBOCON Magazine (JP)
- Core @ Robonable (JP)