A very athletic robot

Two Japanese companies have unveiled last week several programmable consumer robots able to perform acrobatic moves and gymnastics. One of these robots, simply named RB2000, is 11.5 inches tall (around 30 centimeters), weighs about 2.5 pounds (or slightly more than a kilogram), but can really do lots of tricks. It should be available by December.

According to Robots Dreams, two Japanese companies, JR Robotics and Vstone, have unveiled last week several programmable consumer robots able to perform acrobatic moves and gymnastics. One of these robots, simply named RB2000, is 11.5 inches tall (around 30 centimeters), weighs about 2.5 pounds (or slightly more than a kilogram), but can really do lots of tricks. It should be available by December -- at least in Japan -- for a price to be announced. But read more...

Here is the introduction of the Robots Dreams post.

JR Robotics (Japan Remote Control Co.,Ltd), in collaboration with VStone, just introduced several new humanoid robot configurations and were demonstrating what the new robots were capable of at the All Japan PlaModel/RadiCon Show in Chiba this week.

RB2000 robot standingLet's start with some images of this very active robot. First, here is a picture of the RB2000 when it's not busy rolling or jumping. (Credit: Vstone Co., Ltd. on this page)

As wrote another blog, Trends in Japan, in this note, "The new RB 2000 will be cheaper than the RB1000, is 11.5 inches tall, weighs about 2.5 lbs, and has thirteen moveable joints. It can move forward, backward, and side to side, along with being highly expandable with gyro sensors, gamepad control, USB ports, and voice commands. In addition to lots of acrobatics, ninja moves, and ball kicking, the RB2000 can balance remarkably well and swing on a crossbar!"

Below are some pictures of the RB2000 exercising at the bar. (Credit: Vstone Co., Ltd. at the bottom of this page)

RB2000 robot exercising

This looks really impressive, but Robots Dreams saw the robot performing last week and is not totally convinced.

The demonstrations that [JR Robotics] specifically put together to show off the new robots, include doing gymnastics on a bar -- pull-ups and giant spins. Unfortunately, since the robot doesn't have any hands, the bar was passed through openings in the robots arms -- so it's impossible to fall off. It does, however, demonstrate the considerable torque available from the JR servos used in the arms.

Even with these concerns, the videos available from both Robots Dreams and Trends in Japan are impressive. Watching this small robot rolling is pretty fun: a perfect fit for a cloudy Sunday!

Sources: Lem Fugitt, Robots Dreams blog, October 20, 2006; Michael Keferl, Trends in Japan, a CScout Japan blog, October 17, 2006; and various websites

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