Japan-based electronics company Murata caused a splash two years ago with Little Seiko, a a small humanoid robot [JP] that can unicycle forward and backward and is also able to stop without falling over. A male version, Little Seisaku [ENG], with similar skills exists, too. And now, Murata has announced [JP] 2010 updates for the robots.
Both humanoids stands 50cm tall, weigh around 6kg, can be remote-controlled via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, are equipped with cameras, and battery-powered. The secret for the unicycling skills lies in a sophisticated slant detection function and the balancing system placed in the chest.
Little Seisaku (the boy) can now be recharged wirelessly and consumes less energy than the previous model. To stop standby mode, the new version just needs to be touched on the head (which contains IR sensors).
Little Seiko, on the other hand, was so far just able to drive across a straight balance beam. But now, she can traverse an S-shaped balance beam without falling over – a pretty cool feature if you compare this to the clumsy movements most other robots out there still demonstrate.
The balance beam can be as thin as 2.5cm, while the tire of Little Seiko’s unicycle has a width of 1.5 cm.
Sorry, there’s no video of the new robots, but here’s one from last year (at least it’s in English):
Via Robonable [JP]