Kondo Robots – Now With Awesome Hands

These model robot hands are pretty, but they also cost $650+
These robot hands are pretty, but they also cost $650+

Hobbyists have a tendency to use Kondo Robot kits in miniature death matches. That’s not surprising considering that the model kit company sponsors a yearly event called Kondo Battle. But thanks to one developer, Mr. Yoshimura, we’re now seeing a more delicate side of build-your-own-bot. The new ‘MELISSA’ hands are fully articulate five finger hands that move with the smooth grace of a professional robot. Check out the entertaining video after the break.

When the hands first debuted on Mr. Yoshimura’s bot, they were called ‘god hands’ (see the brief second video below). Not a bad name for devices that get such smooth motion out of the action of just a single servo. They’re accurate enough to hold a well placed object, but gentle enough to hold the finger of the boy in the video. Kind of cute, that. And you would hope that these hands are cute because they come with an ugly price tag: ¥60,000 or $650+ from retailer Craft House.

I’m not a robot model enthusiast, but $650 parts seems like a huge chunk of change to pay for something that is simply cool to look at. The hands don’t even provide a tactical advantage in Kondo Battle (they are too delicate to use in a boxing fashion). In the future, I could see a prosthetic company adapting the single servo approach to make a well articulated hand, but that’s a bit of a stretch. Yeah, there’s no way around it, the Melissas are just eye candy. Delicious robotic eye candy.

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