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RT-RIC30 & BioROBO Get Kinected

Two brand new humanoid robot kits are using Microsoft’s Kinect sensor to mimic human body movements right out of the gate.

First up is RT Corporation’s new RT-RIC30, which is their brand new 28cm (11′) tall, 720g (1.5 lbs) humanoid kit.  It’s a bold move for the robotics distributor, which sells a much larger RIC robot for promotional and research purposes.  The new kit uses just 16 Futaba RS304MD servos (expandable), the same servos used in the G-DOG and JO-ZERO kits (torque: 5kg/cm, 300 degree operating angle).  The RT-RIC30 will set you back 99,800 JPY (approx. $1,300 USD), and is compatible with the Kinect and V-Sido software.  The following video shows just how easy it is to control the robot’s movements.

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And here’s the BioROBO, which we introduced in late June, being used in a similar fashion.

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The main problem with the Kinect sensor from a robotics perspective is that it’s rather large. Mounting one onto the PR2 isn’t a problem, but good luck fitting one onto smaller robots like the NAO or any hobby kits without it looking ridiculous. If you look at the actual sensor hardware developed by PrimeSense (the guts of the Kinect), it looks like it’d fit neatly onto smaller robots. The rub there is that it doesn’t come with the user-friendly Kinect software.

[sources: V-Sido, RT Corporation (JP)]

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