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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

4274. Takahashi Turtle

Copyright Takahashi

Tomotaka Takahashi (Takahashi Tomotaka?, born March 27, 1975), roboticist and founder of Kyoto University's ROBO-GARAGE since 1999, creates humanoid robots known for their smooth, fluid motions and sleek appearance. Creating a number of humanoid robots entirely by himself, from concept through to production, Takahashi's designs have been featured in art exhibitions celebrating the creation of Astroboy, Time Magazine's Coolest Inventions of 2004, and promotions for Bandai, Panasonic, and Pepsi. He has also worked with toy companies to produce relatively inexpensive robots for the hobby market, including those for Kyosho (a Japanese toy manufacturer better known for their r/c cars).
In early 2008, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. unveiled Takahashi's 4.5-ounce, 6.7-inch robot mascot for Panasonic's Evolta line of alkaline batteries (the longest lasting of its type according to the Guinness Book of World Records), which climbed a 1,500-ft. Grand Canyon cliff as a publicity stunt/demonstration on May 24, 2008. The robot was powered by a pair of Evolta batteries, and used a tiny rope to ascend the cliff face, which took approximately 6 hours and 45 minutes.

Takahashi's largest robot to date is the Enryu T-52, which he designed for Tmsuk Co. Ltd.. The Enryu (lit. "Support Dragon") is a 3.5m tall, 2.5m wide, 5t rescue robot that fully houses a human operator, but can also be controlled remotely if necessary via cameras located in the robot's head (including night vision), and on its front, back, and flanks. Its two, 10m long hydraulic arms have 6 degrees of freedom and are capable of lifting a car or other debris in the event of an earthquake, fire, or other disaster. The arms also come equipped with individual CCD cameras, useful when small, precise movements are necessary. It moves on caterpillar-style treads at approximately 3 km/h. As of 2006 the Enryu was still in the testing phase, and in July 2007 Tmsuk Co. Ltd. unveiled the completely redesigned Enryu T-53 (it is unclear what [if any] role Takahashi had in this redesign).
He leads Team Osaka, a collaboration of: Osaka City, VSTONE Co. Ltd., Osaka University, Systec Akazawa, ROBO-GARAGE, and ATR Intelligent Robotics and Communication Laboratories, established in 2003 to develop robot technologies in Osaka Japan.Team Osaka competes in various robot competitions and events around the world, such as Robocup (robot soccer). Team Osaka has won the Louis Vuitton Humanoid Cup in 2004, 2005 and 2006. They lost to the German team NIMBRO 5-7 in 2007.

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