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• Niño, Lubie, & Ricordo

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Left to right: Monsieur, Niño, Lubie, Ricordo

Seiko Epson’s microrobot Monsieur had already won Guinness Book’s record for smallest robot.  In 1994, Epson released the smaller 0.5cm Niño (Spanish for ‘boy’), followed by Ricordo and Lubie in 1995.  Like Monsieur, they have light sensors built into their eyes.  By stimulating the sensors with sunlight or the beam from a flashlight, they zip forwards (now at a rate of 5.2 ~ 20.8 mm/sec).  The main difference is that the robots have now been given some individuality through a ‘personality mode’.

Like his name suggests (Italian for ‘memory’ or ‘recollection’), if you stimulate only Ricordo’s right eye, he can remember a course (up to 64 seconds worth of recorded data) and will retrace his steps, after which he reverts to standard mode.  Lubie (French for ‘caprice’ or ‘whim’), on the other hand, acts out by shaking, sulking, or hesitating.

The overall size of these robots is slightly larger than the original Monsieur (about 1.2cm cubed) containing 102 parts, but despite their miniscule size they seem to have plenty of personality!  They came individually priced between $400 and $600 USD.

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Image credits:
Impress Robot Watch | Garakuta no heya

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