Some robots get all the girls. Not only is ROPID one of the only toy-sized robots that can run and jump, it likes to walk around with a healthy dose of swagger. The latest creation of Japanese robotics guru Tomotaka Takahashi, ROPID has all the cuteness of an anime hero and some of the moves too. Using voice commands, you can get the robot to run, skip, jump in place, or strut while maintaining perfect balance. Not bad, little guy. Check out some of his moves in the videos after the break.
Humanoid robots are starting to divide into two categories: robots that will work, and robots that will endear themselves to humans. There’s no doubt that Motoman is one of the former while ROPID fits firmly in the latter. Much like Hanson Robotics’ Zeno, ROPID’s appeal is somewhat in its small size and cuteness. At only 38 cm (15 in) tall, the little bot makes the most of its big eyes and high pitched voice. Robotics engineers sometimes worry about how humans will accept mechanical workers in their presence, but I’ve got to say, just give them big eyes and I’m sure we won’t have a problem.
You can check out ROPID’s voice response moves in the press meeting video below from Robot Watch Impress. While I’m impressed that the little bot can do so much, it’s pretty clear that the voice recognition is still in beta. The operator has to repeat himself fairly often. Perhaps that’s due to ambient noise? Still, watching the bot jump in slow motion is pretty cool.
Those familiar with Takahashi or his Robo-Garage line of robotics will notice that many of ROPID’s moves, even his style and swagger, are copied from earlier models. As you can see in the video of Chroino (another Robo-Garage bot), ROPID owes a lot to its predecessors. I’m not going to include them all here, but if you look at other Chroino videos on YouTube, you can see that almost every movement ROPID makes, Chroino did first.
Which isn’t to say that ROPID isn’t new and innovative. We’re definitely looking at some great speed and dynamic balance that is unique, and the voice commands are a nice feature. I guess ROPID is really just another step towards…who knows…a robotic companion for your child? Or maybe a robotic child? I wouldn’t put it past Takahashi. The guys knows cute bots. Still, no matter what role humanoid toy robots will eventually fill in our lives, we’re likely to see many more of them in the future. Maybe they’ll teach me how to strut around and be cool.
Photo credit: Robo-Garage
Video credit: Robo-Garage, Robot Watch Impress