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Humanoid Robot KHR-1 SDK Released

timothy posted about 9 years ago | from the meet-your-boss dept.

Robotics 98

ls129 writes "KHR-1, the Japanese Robo-One humanoid robot kit from Kondo (previously mentioned here), is finally open for creative software development. The first unofficial implementation of the PC-controller API has just been posted. Using the SDK, the 17 servos that give the robot its mobility can be remote controlled by the PC via WiFi or bluetooth, and their current position can be retrieved several times per second. This unique feature will allow robot fans to go beyond simple performance of motion sequences or low-level gyro-based motion correction and develop algorithms that involve feedback control and AI." Update: 04/05 16:59 GMT by T : As originally posted, I erroneously changed the robot's nationality from Japanese to Korean; that was a boo-boo; the linked site with an English translation is Korean, but the robot itself is Japanese. Apologies to the submitter, who had it right.

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98 comments

The 18th service (-1, Offtopic)

Thijs van As (826224) | about 9 years ago | (#12142623)

Fetch and read /. news

Re:The 18th service (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12142632)

Then dupe it.

Re:The 18th service (3, Informative)

FirienFirien (857374) | about 9 years ago | (#12142786)

"Servo" - as in 17 servos, used in the article - is short for Servomechanism [wikipedia.org]. Remote actuation. Service, on the other hand... and you can bet that they've already thought of more than 17 ways to use it. I have, and I haven't even had coffee.

Stand by (3, Funny)

Underholdning (758194) | about 9 years ago | (#12142634)

Stand by for 300 "I for one welcome our new robot overlords" comments, 250 comments about terminator, 4 "Robot, Kill Flanders!" and 3 "FIRST POST".
Thank you. This was just a drill. You may now resume to your regular work.

Re:Stand by (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12142670)

I for one welcome our new robotic overlord.

Don't blame me, I voted for Kodos

Re:Stand by (0, Offtopic)

Inkieminstrel (812132) | about 9 years ago | (#12142691)

And 12 summary posts summing up what all the responses are going to be. And 1 meta-summary post, summing up the summaries.

Re. You forgot: (-1, Troll)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about 9 years ago | (#12142828)

You forgot about 50 posts of the form: "I predict x posts of type A, y posts of type B and z posts of type C." ;-)

Re:Stand by (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12143451)

In Korea only old robots are overlords.

no, really- check out the news clips (1)

SuperBanana (662181) | about 9 years ago | (#12143982)

Stand by for 300 "I for one welcome our new robot overlords" comments,

Did you notice the TV screengrab in the bottom left corner on the page about the robot itself? The P-n-P next to the woman looks very much like the HKR-1 holding a long gun to someone's head. Sounds like they're already here!

Chobits (2, Funny)

elasticwings (758452) | about 9 years ago | (#12142638)

Dammit, I got all excited for nothing. Wake me up when somebody actually starts a Chobits line of robots.

Re:Chobits (5, Funny)

TupperTrenine (803932) | about 9 years ago | (#12142661)

Screw that, wake me up when the developers find a more inobtrusive place for the power switch. I don't want to accidently turn off\reset my Persocom while I'm uh... utilizing it to its fullest capacities. Yeah.

hmmm..... (5, Funny)

sugapablo (600023) | about 9 years ago | (#12142649)

"can be remote controlled by the PC via WiFi or bluetooth"

So can this feature be combined with a previously posted Slashdot story? Can users use bluetooth to make the robot approach a nice young woman in a train station and ask if they're "Toothing?"

But is it tall enough? (0)

AtariAmarok (451306) | about 9 years ago | (#12142656)

But is it tall enough to meet Korea's pressing need for a mecha to finally stop those frequent Yongary [yongary.com] attacks?

Re:But is it tall enough? (-1, Offtopic)

LocoMan (744414) | about 9 years ago | (#12142776)

Don't worry.. if it's not, they'll just need to make it so that enough of them interlock together to form a bigger mecha... :)

Re:But is it tall enough? (1)

hey! (33014) | about 9 years ago | (#12143912)

I don't know what is more pathetic -- that somebdoy would bother to put together a web site devoted to Korean giant monster movies, or that I would read that website with some interest. That's ten minutes I'll never get back.

A robot SDK in the hands of Slashdot? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12142664)

What could possibly go wrong?

WiMAX (1, Funny)

Cruithne (658153) | about 9 years ago | (#12142687)

Forget WiFi, you could have quite a bit of fun with something like this over a WiMAX connection..

I know I would enjoy sending my robot out around town with a video camera and two way voice communications allowing me to talk through it to people and respond and everything ;)

Re:WiMAX (5, Funny)

bcmm (768152) | about 9 years ago | (#12142753)

You lazy bastard...

Wait, you mean we don't have to leave the basement anymore?

Is it legal for these things to sign credit card reciepts, drive etc.?

North Korea built one last year. (1, Funny)

AtariAmarok (451306) | about 9 years ago | (#12142695)

North Korea built a humanoid automaton last year. Seen here [zap2it.com], it is somewhat more lifelike than the South Korean effort.

How much can i carry? (0)

daijo78 (783312) | about 9 years ago | (#12142711)

I want to replace the PC with a small embedded device with a couple of CCDs for stereo vison. My robot would kick your robots ass:)

In Soviet Korea, (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12142737)

..only old people welcome our new robot overlords!

(Seriously, did the editors add this article just to see how many trolls they could catch? Why not just add a quick beowulf reference too?)

I tried. (0)

AtariAmarok (451306) | about 9 years ago | (#12142774)

I submitted a news story about Natalie Portman inventing a platoon of robot workers that looked like giant ants to cook her breakfast, but for some reason no-one was interested.

AI, OK, but how much? (3, Insightful)

couch_warrior (718752) | about 9 years ago | (#12142738)

Is this going to produce AI as in "I am bender, please insert girder"? Or as in, "Maybe the blue fairy will make me into a real boy so my mommy will love me". I eagerly await the former, and I dread the latter, since it will take us two seconds to pervert it into "Im gigolo Joe, Waddaya know?" Artificial intelligence for menial tasks is great. Artifical humanity will be perverted so fast it will make your head spin.

Define perversion (1)

jimbro2k (800351) | about 9 years ago | (#12143265)

I'll define it:
If you do something I don't do, you are perverted.
If you do something I do, you are normal.

Since most people measure themselves with their own yardstick, most people are normal.
It's the rest of the world that's sick.

Re:Define perversion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12148093)

You measure yourself with a yardstick? Damn, I feel inadequate.

Re:Define perversion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12175132)

I use a meter stick, so I feel 3.37 inches bigger!

Re:Define perversion (1)

couch_warrior (718752) | about 9 years ago | (#12175065)

Well, we certainly didn't mean to offend any *robosexuals* in the audience, seeing as how their behavior was presciently genetically predetermined before robots existed...or so they claim...

Re:AI, OK, but how much? (1)

Tenebrious1 (530949) | about 9 years ago | (#12143834)

Is this going to produce AI as in "I am bender, please insert girder"? Or as in, "Maybe the blue fairy will make me into a real boy so my mommy will love me". I eagerly await the former, and I dread the latter, since it will take us two seconds to pervert it into "Im gigolo Joe, Waddaya know?" Artificial intelligence for menial tasks is great. Artifical humanity will be perverted so fast it will make your head spin.

When can we start up KidNappster? I want my LiuBot!

Re:AI, OK, but how much? (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | about 9 years ago | (#12146585)

Are you trying to tell me that "I am bender, please insert girder" isn't peverted???

Re:AI, OK, but how much? (1)

couch_warrior (718752) | about 9 years ago | (#12175092)

Dost thou forget the line - "I don't want anyone thinking we're robosexuals, so if anyone asks, you're my debugger..."

Hi. I'm Troy McClure (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12142747)

Hi. I'm Troy McClure. You might remember me from such Korean robot movies as "Hyundie: the Love Tiburon" and "Klingerbot 2: Robots in Nylons"

Re:Hi. I'm Troy McClure (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12142903)

"Klingerbot 2: Robots in Nylons"

Heh, nice reference.

Hang on, AI? (3, Insightful)

thrashor (554669) | about 9 years ago | (#12142751)

Do my eyes deceive or did I just read that the unique wireless control mechanisms of this robot will allow developers to implement AI? If that's all we needed, we've been focusing on the wrong areas!

Re:Hang on, AI? (3, Insightful)

MBGMorden (803437) | about 9 years ago | (#12142816)

I think it's a matter of processing power. Serious AI is going to take serious processing power. No little robot will be able to carry the leve of equipment needed to "think" on its own. So the solution (for now anyways) is to setup the software on some super computer (or at least something significantly more powerful than the robot's internal facilities) and then send interaction commands to the body via a wireless link.


Hopefully in the future suitable devices will shrink down to a level that they can fit inside a human sized robot.

Re:Hang on, AI? (2, Interesting)

ls129 (831328) | about 9 years ago | (#12142836)

Congratulations on posting the first non-troll comment!

The AI-enabling feature is the position feedback that you can get from the servos. In order to create AI you need a feedback loop involving getting sensor data and updating servo positions repeatedly.

Normal RC-servos were designed to be embedded in a RC-car or RC-plane and controled by a human. In this case the feedback loop is acheived by the human seeing what the car is doing and updating the direction with his joystick.

For an autonomous robot to work, the cpu needs to be fed with lots of sensor data at high refresh rates. Hence this humanoid has the potential of becoming autonomous.

Hacked it.. (1)

raynet11 (844558) | about 9 years ago | (#12142763)

One min your roboot is serving you beer and is the
conversation piece of the party, the next min a
script kiddy aircracks your wep and your mild manner
bot is not going ape on your gests oh the humanity
all your bot belongs to us..

Available for sale to the US? (2, Interesting)

ItWasThem (458689) | about 9 years ago | (#12142807)

Does anyone know if this is orderable/importable/for sale generally in the US? Both sites are craawling to a halt today and I REALLY want one. Course I haven't seen the price yet...

Re:Available for sale to the US? (4, Informative)

i4u (234028) | about 9 years ago | (#12143481)

The Kondo KHR-1 Robot Kit sells for $1,499.00 at AudioCubes [audiocubes.com].

Re:Available for sale to the US? (2, Informative)

WormholeFiend (674934) | about 9 years ago | (#12146261)

you can also get one here [sozbots.com] for 146$ more... or just check that site to see what the insides of the box looks like. Looks like a Mecano set! Everything needs to be assembled.

I'm robo chucky (-1, Offtopic)

Timberwolf0122 (872207) | about 9 years ago | (#12142821)

and I'm you friend to the end hidy-ho! just make sure you dont flick the good/evil switch to evil befor you turn it on.

Amazing (0)

Gizmoguy (818250) | about 9 years ago | (#12143080)

This is amazing, by using movement algorithms, you're almost giving the robot an 'intelligence'. The potentialities of this are enormous!

Re:Amazing (3, Interesting)

ls129 (831328) | about 9 years ago | (#12143534)

intelligence is all about low-level feedback control. when you take a million small such entities working together other things emerge like stragegy and and soul.. :)

try to google : feedback control robot

for example:
http://mundobot.com/projects/melanie/v3/enmelanie3 .htm [mundobot.com]
http://www.ynl.t.u-tokyo.ac.jp/~fabio/bipedloc.htm [u-tokyo.ac.jp]
Sony Quorio, Honda Asimo etc.

Re:Amazing (1)

Intron (870560) | about 9 years ago | (#12148229)

Have you read Penrose's book, The Emporer's New Mind? Its about whether a machine can ever achieve consciousness. [Spoiler: No] I don't agree with Penrose, but I also don't have the tools to argue with him. He makes a tough case.

My favorite part (1)

PriceIke (751512) | about 9 years ago | (#12143113)

"You can be writing a comment if you be sign-in."

Robotics they can do. Engrish [robo-one.or.kr] is just a bonus, while you're waiting for the robot pictures to download ..

Re:My favorite part (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12143587)

because obviously you are perfectly fluent in Korean ?
you should thank them for even trying to speak your funny language, not blame them because they do mistakes (I know, it's "make" mistakes, but this one's free :-) )

Are the electronics scalable? (1)

gorehog (534288) | about 9 years ago | (#12143325)

I wonder this about the current crop of fly-by-wire, computer controlled, r/c products...for this, and the pico board [sslsites.de] for the piccolo helicopter.

Are these things scalable? Can I use the same electronics with larger, more powerful servos? And, if not, how far do I have to deconstruct the things to get to the core logic.

See, the way I figure it this could be a way to build an ALIENS-style loader, or a Gundam...or in the case of the picoboard maybe some kind of helicopter.

Just an idea.

I wonder . . . (0, Offtopic)

code shady (637051) | about 9 years ago | (#12143442)

If this could be successfully . . err . . ."mated" with that real doll technology.

I for one welcome our sexy robot overlords (yeah yeah it had to be said).

AI Has Been Solved (2, Informative)

Mentifex (187202) | about 9 years ago | (#12143645)


The news [advogato.org] has recently been announced -- just in time for the emergence of AI-ready robots -- that the sideways integration of sensory input with a conceptual mindgrid is the solution to artificial intelligence.

The solution to AI qua problem -- qua grand challenge to humanity -- exists at first in theory [sourceforge.net] only.

The Association for Computing Machinery has reported in ACM Sigplan Notices 33(12):25-31 [acm.org] (1998) and in ACM Sigplan Notices 39(12):11-16 [acm.org] (2004) on progress in implementing the AI solution as open-source AI software [sourceforge.net] evolving into Mind.Forth [sourceforge.net] for robots. There is an implicit contest involved here of who can keep the date-stamped robot AI Mind [sourceforge.net] running the longest, as if for the Guiness Book of World Records. Since Mentifex AI is in the public domain, programmers are free to customize special AI Minds in any programming language and to offer their artificial intelligence for sale on eBay [ebay.com] in the Computers and Networking [ebay.com] software marketplace.

Please do not point to the primitive Mentifex software [sourceforge.net] as proof that the claim of an AI solution [sourceforge.net] is false. The only claim made here is that AI has been solved in theory [sourceforge.net], not yet (please stand by) successfully implemented in software or hardware. The Artificial General Intelligence Research Institute (AGIRI) [agiri.org] is creating powerful Novamente [del.icio.us] software but is handicapped for lack of funding and for disregard of the Mentifex AI theory. Mentifex has a secret plan to locate funding for AGIRI [agiri.org] if the AGI team either hires Mentifex or agrees to implement [caltech.edu] the Theory of Cognitivity [sourceforge.net].

Re:AI Has Been Solved (1)

tommyboyprime (694285) | about 9 years ago | (#12145789)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but, Terminator started with the premise that all the computers in the world were all hooked together at a single point in time and achieved AI on there own. I'm stocking up on weapons as we speak.

Re:AI Has Been Solved (1)

Intron (870560) | about 9 years ago | (#12148125)

All of the world's computers hooked together? But that would require some sort of international network! Not likely to happen.

Re:AI Has Been Solved (1)

Tellalian (451548) | about 9 years ago | (#12146463)

Please don't mod up this well-known fraud [nothingisreal.com]. He has no formal education or experience in AI and his "theories" have long been debunked by those that do.

Just another toy... (2, Insightful)

zappepcs (820751) | about 9 years ago | (#12143700)

The 17 servos in this robot use a LOT of battery. Add a wireless card to that and the joy of *using* this robot will only last a few minutes. Especially if that battery has to also power the remote video link. Its not big enough to carry lots of batteries. The act of remotely controlling a robot is not new, nor is it proprietary. There are dozens of servo controllers on the market that can be controlled using simple serial commands. The clever home robotics hobbyist can buy all they need to replicate this robot in the good old US of A. There are some that are building their own. http://www.sorobotics.org/dgates/samm.html [sorobotics.org] It may be cute, or cool to watch, but the gizmos inside it are ordinary, and can be replicated almost anywhere. There is nothing to get excited about until robots are doing something useful for mankind in general. For example: yard work, harvesting crops, mining on other planets etc.

Re:Just another toy... (1)

ls129 (831328) | about 9 years ago | (#12143861)

The robot can last up to 25 minutes with a NiCD 600MaH battery.

What makes this robot unique is the use of the Kondo ICS-KRS series of servo motors that provide feedback not just PWM-based position control. Many hobby roboteers would be glad to learn about dozens of servos on the market that give you position feedback without having to hack the heck out of the servos and possibly insert a tiny15 [atmel.com] into the gearbox in order to get some position feedback.
There are a couple of Korean companies that make servos that are communicable via serial, these are Robotis and Megarobotics. Probably all other servos on the market are one-way controled by PWM.

Re:Just another toy... (1)

zappepcs (820751) | about 9 years ago | (#12144466)

Ok, perhaps the servos are not truly ordinary, in as much as they have position feedback built in, but that is still not something that is impossible to achieve in other ways. In truth, to get a standard servo in a place where it has not or cannot move to the position commanded by PWM is not very easy at all. Digital servos have a good deal of muscle, and a robot in the toy size range is seldom, if ever, going to push the servo that hard. Its an application where absolute position information is not required to achieve the goal.

The Robotis servo type systems are apparently made by hand with maxon motors in them. When such devices are mass produced (read made cheaper) they you just might see all kinds of robots. If I could afford the 450-500 dollars for digital servos, I'd have already added an articulated arm to my robot. That has nothing to do with the creations from Korea or anywhere else.

Octoped robots use as many as 24 servos that are synchronized to allow the arachnid like robot to walk, run etc. The only difference is that a humanoid robot just has a higher coolness factor.

Re:Just another toy... (1)

AtariAmarok (451306) | about 9 years ago | (#12145298)

"The robot can last up to 25 minutes with a NiCD 600MaH battery."

Let me know what batteries I can use so I can still use the robot later even after the batteries die. I don't want these Nicads which destroy the robot after 25 minutes.

Re:Just another toy... (1)

cynopraxis (873569) | about 9 years ago | (#12144302)

Hehe, I just think it's funny that you put yard work and mining on other planets in the same sentence. I don't need the other planet mining thing, but YARDWORK! Man, that would rock. I'd also love a bot that could screen my phone calls for me. Having a robot tell bill collectors to shut up would be much less stressful for me.

Re:Just another toy... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 9 years ago | (#12146912)

If anything, yard work is a harder problem than mining on other planets, in terms of the robotics involved. Distinguishing between a flower and a weed is, to say the least, non-trivial.

Re:Just another toy... (1)

Intron (870560) | about 9 years ago | (#12148178)

If it grows back, its a weed. Now how do you tell useful ore from worthless rock?

Re:Just another toy... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 9 years ago | (#12148265)

you drill samples and use some kind of spectrometer or burn it and run it through a gas chromatograph.

Re:Just another toy... (1)

cynopraxis (873569) | about 9 years ago | (#12153258)

Ok, how do you tell if the person on the phone is a bill collector or salesperson?

That sounds harder than telling the difference between a weed and a flower. Similar comparison though.

Re:17 Servos: Too Many? (3, Interesting)

drooling-dog (189103) | about 9 years ago | (#12143798)

Oops. Let's try this again...

When I saw this I'd just finished reading an article [sciencemag.org] in Science (18 Feb 05) entitled
Efficient Bipedal Robots Based on Passive-Dynamic Walkers (subscription required). Contrary to the "mainstream" approach of actuating every joint with a complex control system, the authors describe three robots that achieve very natural human-like gaits using far fewer actuators and much simpler control principles (one of them using adaptive learning). Not only are these robots far simpler to control, but they typically require only about a tenth of the energy of designs that attempt to actuate every joint (e.g., knees). I'll speculate that this passive/dynamic approach is going to dominate in the future.

Re:17 Servos: Too Many? (1)

Spy Hunter (317220) | about 9 years ago | (#12147726)

So far all those robots do is walk forward at one speed. To do more (like stop, or turn, or climb stairs, or get up after they fall) they will eventually need joint control. What is really necessary is a servo with a clutch. Or artificial muscle. Then robots could harness passive dynamics but still be able to exercise control when necessary.

So the robot's been sacked? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12144092)

What'd he do to deserve that? Or was it just a layoff because his robot duties were outsourced to India? :-)

Feedback claims dubious (2, Insightful)

AndyLippitt (130232) | about 9 years ago | (#12144717)

Unmodified hobby servos do not expose the position data without cracking them open and reading the internal pot. Looking at the API, I'm guessing it's simply remembering the last positions you told it to move to and regurgitating them.

I'm working on a project that sort of does what this is claiming to do by providing this feedback by way of current sensing.
http://satiety.com/robot [satiety.com]

Re:Feedback claims dubious (1)

ls129 (831328) | about 9 years ago | (#12145353)

I dont think the RCB-1 controler regurgitates the previous position. The servos really do have a signaling protocol that allows the controler to retrieve the current position.
Check out the PDF called "ICS Servo Special Protocol" here: http://robosavvy.com/Support/2 [robosavvy.com]
This will be validated experimentally soon.

I know someone who has done a similar project developing interesting gaits that utilize current AND position feedback form the servos. http://www.mundobot.com/projects/melanie/v2/enmela nie2.htm [mundobot.com]

Re:Feedback claims dubious (1)

Tellalian (451548) | about 9 years ago | (#12146615)

Most people in-the-know realize that traditional RC hobby servos are practically useless for serious robotics projects. They're underpowered, inprecise, and unreliable. This is why several companies such as Kondo and Megarobotics (both Japanese IIRC) have designed special digital servos that are more powerful, easier to mount, and double as sensors using networked bus protocols. If you're into robotics, don't waste any more money on obsolete RC servos.

Re:Feedback claims dubious (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 9 years ago | (#12146941)

But, rc car servos are cheap as hell and available in high torque and high speed versions. If you can report the position cheaply somehow, then they're not bad little devices. If you were building a snake robot or something I'd think that RC servos would be a VERY good idea, because they're cheap as hell. For very fine control, I'd probably want your digital servos.

How small do the digital servos get?

ep?... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12145564)

The ab0ve is fAr

Compatibility (1)

Tellalian (451548) | about 9 years ago | (#12145718)

It should be noted that this is a closed, binary, Windows-only dll, which may even damage your $1500 robot. I don't want to sound zealous, but no serious robotist should be using Windows. Wake me when anyone can compile it under Linux.

Use this library at your own risk. There is no guarantee this software would work at all in your system or your robot. Your robot might be damaged. ... This is a library for controlling the KHR-1 RCB boards using the serial link from a PC under Windows.

oh well, they all look the same (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12149908)

someone told me timothy is getting fired soon
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