The Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies of Pisa recently showcased some of their projects for the media. Included in the presentation was the Sabian humanoid, codeveloped with Waseda University (based on the Wabian). It’s part of “The Robot Companions for Citizens” project, which is one of six research projects competing for a billion euros ($1.2B USD) in funding from the European Union. That’s a huge chunk of change, which will be doled out over the course of the next ten years. Currently the humanoid lacks arms and uses the child-like Robot Cub (iCub) head, which looks slightly bizarre on an adult-sized body.
“The idea is to get robots out of factories where they have shown their worth and to transform them into household machines which can live together with humans,” said Professor Dario, director of the college’s bio-robotics department.
The Kuratas mecha (aka Vaudeville), an outrageous art project by Suidobashi Heavy Industry, made its official public debut at Wonder Fest 2012 this weekend. Built by iron worker and artist Kogoro Kurata (right, above photo), Kuratas stands 3.8 meters (12 ft 5 inches) tall and weighs 4,500 kg (9920 lbs).
Kurata has some experience building giant robots, having previously created a statue based on the Scopedog mecha from the anime Votoms. He was also involved with JFE’s project to build a life-sized statue of Tetsujin 28-go (Gigantor), but had to quit the project due to various circumstances.
In January 2010 he built a vehicle for Castrol Japan that could kick a soccer ball at 200 kph (see here). It wasn’t long after that that he got the idea to build a real robot that could be driven by a human passenger, and by September 2011 had built much of the main chassis.
The researchers at the German Aerospace Center love their robot Justin so much they even spend some of their free time playing with it. Take this video, for example, of Justin performing the iconic dance moves seen in the diner scene from Pulp Fiction. Now if they would just connect Justin’s torso to that pair of legs they’re working on…
[source: Bram Vanderborght @ YouTube]