ROBOT COMMUNICATIONS opened its doors in 1986 as a television commercial production/facilitating agency and graphic design company. ROBOT has since expanded into producing feature films, animation, web and mobile contents. No one in the industry would have imagined such diverse expansion at the time of ROBOT’s establishment. ROBOT has achieved excellence in each of these areas, culminating in the Animation production division winning an Academy Award in 2009.
Here are some cute photographs of the company’s robot mascot out and about:
[source: Robot Communications]
Takara Tomy has unveiled the latest in their line of Omnibot toy robots at Tokyo Toy Show 2012. The I-SODOG is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, but boasts 15 servo motors that can reproduce realistic movement.
When activated, its eyes light up and users can interact with it through more than 50 voice commands or with a smartphone thanks to a Bluetooth connection. Using a custom app, it will perform tricks on command such as shake a paw, dance to songs you’ve downloaded, or move intuitively by simply tilting the phone. There’s also a Tamagotchi-style artificial life component, allowing you to scold bad behavior or reward it with digital doggy treats, which will foster different “personalities” over time.
The robot pup comes equipped with touch sensors, microphones, and a 3D accelerometer to prevent it from falling over. If its younger owners don’t have access to a smartphone, they can command it with the included remote controller. It also includes some practical features, such as a voice mail system and an alarm function. And if two I-SODOGs are brought together, they will exchange data with one another.
At just 15 cm (6″) in height and length, and weighing 400 grams (0.8 lbs), the I-SODOG is considerably smaller than SONY’s ill-fated AIBO. But thanks to its smartphone connectivity, it has the potential to outsmart all of the older robot dogs in the kennel. According to Takara Tomy, it will have some autonomy similar to the AIBO, and operate for between 1~2 hours on AA batteries. The I-SODOG is expected to retail for around 30,000 JPY ($380 USD) in spring 2013.
In 2007, the company released a miniature humanoid robot toy called the I-SOBOT, which revived its brand of home robots that were popular in the 1980s.
[source: Gigazine (JP)]
We’ve all seen MABEL, the biped robot built at the University of Michigan that can run at 6.8 miles per hour (10.9 kph). Now, thanks to a collaboration between Professor Mingguo Zhao (Department of Automation, Tsinghua University) and researchers at the Italian Institute of Technology, MABEL has a miniature cousin. The two projects aren’t really related, but they do share much in common: both are incredibly fast and are capable of negotiating unforeseen changes in terrain, and both rely on a boom to maintain balance along the Sagittal plane (for now).
According to the video description, Prof. Mingguo Zhao is the professor of the Robot Control Lab who developed the fast walking/running algorithm base on the Virtual Slope Walking, which belongs to the realm of the limit cycle approach. If they can achieve similar results in their free-standing humanoids (Tsinghua’s Team Hephaestus’ RoboCup robots can be seen in the background), they could run circles around their opponents!
[source: Alebotics @ YouTube]