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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Robot of the Day: HINA, the Cutest Mini Robot Maid

This mini-robot has got to be the cutest robot I'd ever run across, and her name is HINA, made by Mujaki Clockwork (a secretive Ninja name of some sort, and here's the link to his blog in Japanese, which I can't understand). As soon as I laid my eyes on her, I couldn't help but think: "I so must get my daughter one of these!!"

HINA is not one of those cheap robot toys you can just buy at Wal-Mart, she is a real robot that has servos with many degrees of freedom and can run complex scripts. Besides being cute always, she can also be quite a little helper sometime and can even provide maid services such as making you a cup of morning coffee!

The above video is obviously staged, but it does shed some lights about what the robot is capable of. Hina is made using Kondo's KHR-2HV, a Japanese robotic kit that could cost $1,299.99 in the US, but customized by Mujaki to give her a very adorable look. She is 36 cm tall and weighs 1.1 kg. With a total of 21 DOFs (Degree of Freedoms) -- legs 6x2, arm 4x2, neck 1 -- she is capable of walking, lifting things up and moving them around. HINA is also equipped with 2 gyroscopes and acceleration sensor, which makes her a real robot, just not a very sensitive one. But with some further customization, it wouldn't be difficult to add a mini-webcam, some touch sensors, and two microphones to give her more capabilities to learn about the world around her. Laser and sonar would probably be out of the question for her tiny slim figure, which means you might need racks of server to process data collected from these sensor in order to produce some intelligent autonomous behaviors.

But still, isn't she the cutest robot in the planet?! And besides providing maid services, she can also entertain you with some cute break dancing moves! So what are you waiting for?

Watching World Cup games is another great way to put your 1.5 year old son to sleep (it might have something to do with the constant bee-like buzzing sounds from the vuvuzelas) .