Apparently, Hajime Sakamoto — the president of the Hajime
Research Institute (a Japanese company that has been building humanoid
robots since 2002) — is unhappy with the world famous 1:1 scale
Gundam statue. It’s nice and all, but it’s still just a statue, and he wants to
build the real deal. In 2009, he built a 210 cm ( 7 ft) tall robot – one of the
tallest in the world – and now he’s attempting to build a working four
meter ( 13 ft) tall version. The robot will even sport a built-in cockpit.
Next, he plans to build one that is eight meters ( 26 ft) and if all goes
according to plan, he’ll eventually build one that is 18 meters ( 59 ft) tall –
the size of a Gundam mobile suit. It may sound impossible, but a dream is
The company is looking for sponsors to help them complete the
current project, and is working with NKK Kyousei and contractors to
build the parts. In the meantime, you can become a fan of the project on
its official Facebook page.
E-One is a remote monitoring robot developed by EOS
Innovation — a French company founded in March 2010. The
company says the robot is still only experimental, but is
intended to patrol on its own and alert its owner if it detects
anything unusual. The robot may also serve the elderly and
disabled in the future, and could function as a telepresence
robot. Although it looks somewhat similar to NEC’s PaPeRo, its
face displays video.
At 60 cm ( 2') tall, the E-One is relatively small compared
to similar robots, but has a low weight ( 8-10 kg [ 22 lbs]) and a
decent battery life of four hours. It comes equipped with two
high-resolution cameras (one of which has a fish-eye lens), as
well as a mobile (pico) projector. It has two speakers and two
omnidirectional microphones, and can communicate over Wi-Fi
and USB. For obstacle detection, the robot uses eight
ultrasonic sensors and four infrared sensors.
“Right now, the biggest weakness in robotics is battery life.
The batteries have to last for several hours, so our robots
must use energy efficiently. Speech and visual recognition are
also two domains where there’s a lot of work to be done. In
my opinion, we’re heading towards specialized robots that can communicate with one another to make things easier. Whether
it’s a robot vacuum cleaner, lawn mower, or butler, they’ll be able to take orders and divide up the work. But a machine that
can replace a person, that’s not for right now. I think we should make simple robots that are optimized for specific tasks.” —
David Lemaitre, Director and Founder, EOS Innovation.
The company has also developed a smaller, semi-autonomous surveillance robot called E-Vigilant. The idea is to have the
robot patrol on its own, but if it detects something suspicious a human operator would take over. Due to its low profile, the
robot could follow an intruder undetected. The E-Vigilant is due to be commercialized in 2012.
Cool tidbits herein provided by Evan Ackerman at www.botjunkie.com, www.robotsnob.com, www.plasticpals.com, and other places.
SERVO 02.2012 25