into the DRC competition. Teams have
from October 1, 2012 until the end of
2013 for the first phase of the
contest, and a year later to complete
the second phase. Teams in Track A
will develop both the robot’s
hardware and software for DARPA
funding, whereas teams in Tracks B
and C will develop control software
with and without DARPA funding.
Teams in Track D will develop a
robot’s hardware and software at
their own expense. All will be eligible
for prizes varying from one to three
million dollars, depending on the
Track level and support requirements.
Some really great robot designs
should result from this competition.
FIGURE 3. Innovati Mini Hexapodinno.
Evolve into Bipedal
June 2004 was one of
the first kit bipedal
robots available to
hobbyists. The design
was improved through
several models and the
more advanced KHR- 3
is shown in Figure 5.
Most of these were
sold in Asia and a few
made it to the US.
Walking robots rapidly
became the best
selling robots for hobbyists.
The Korean radio control
company, Hitec debuted the popular
Robonova-I the next spring, and it
soon became one of the most popular
robot kits. Robonova originally sold for
over a thousand dollars but was ‘the’
robot to have and program. The Hitec
robot looked similar to the KHR-1 but
had much better joint brackets with
special servos and a very sleek design.
It soon became the humanoid robot
of choice for experimenters.
Figure 6 shows one of the
martial arts movements of the
Robonova 1. Looking closely at the
outside of the right leg, you can see
wires from each of the servos in a
bundle, running up to the servo
controller. The cable bundles become
progressively larger as they run
upwards with more servo leads in the
Figure 7 shows each of the 16
servo connections lying out and
disconnected from the controller
board that has the capacity for 32
servos. Having each servo’s control
leads running to a central controller
board was perceived as a potential
Experimenters had long built
multi-legged robots such as quad and
hex crawlers, and these robots are still
very popular. Figure 3 shows a hex-legged robot called the Mini
Hexapodinno made by Innovati. It was
the hit at RoboGames 2011. The tiny
Hexapodinno uses micro servos and
barely stretches 12 inches with legs
fully extended, but it can perform
many tricks. I spent a lot of time
watching folks from Kowatec (the
local reps in San Jose, CA) put the
personable little crab-like robot
through its paces.
FIGURE 4. Kondo KHR-1 robot.
FIGURE 5. Kondo KHR-3HV robot on a tightrope.
FIGURE 6. The Hitec
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