Home > Research on Humanoid Robots
Greetings and Request for Development Assistance
I have been developing the pneumatic control technology applicable to humanoid robots for around 30 years. I am currently running a company consisting of only 14 employees. While struggling with financial difficulties, we have spent what little time was available developing this technology. There were times we had to suspend the research in the past, but our company has finally reached the point where we can bring the technology to you in tangible form.
Control system: Each of the control technologies using the servomotor, oil hydraulic power and air pressure has both advantages and disadvantages, and the pneumatic control technology is considered to be the most ideal of all the control technologies that exist today.
Disaster robot: Humanoid robots can be remote-controlled to deal with all kinds of tasks for rescue and restoration operations in disaster-hit areas that humans can’t access easily. Our goal is to develop these robots for practical use.
Development funds: Our development environment including organizational power, funds, time and space is quite limited. In reality, we are devoting spare time and scarce funds to the development project. We need to urgently get the project on track to realize our dream of developing state-of-the-art technology for production and marketing of humanoid robots.
Crowd funding: Therefore, we have decided to showcase our state-of-the-art technology both at home and abroad, and procure funds for gradually improving the development environment (human resources, space, equipment, etc.).
I am completely positive that our company’s technology will attract worldwide attention. I would appreciate your cooperation and support.
Representative Director and President
Eishin Technology Co, Ltd.
Characteristics of Three Main Control Systems
① Electric Servomotor Control
〇 Advantages: At present, the electric servomotor control is more advanced than any other control technologies and makes it possible to easily control a number of machines and parts.
● Disadvantages: The power generated per unit volume of an actuator is low, and a speed reducer is needed. Conversion to straight line motion is difficult. As a result of position equilibrium control, a speed reducer is likely to be damaged by overload when the moment of inertia or exterior force is applied, and so a torque control is needed. It is necessary to increase the power supply capacity. Since the motor consists of copper wires and iron parts, the use of a plurality of motors makes the whole system heavy and cumbersome.
② Oil Hydraulic Control
〇 Advantages: The power output generated per unit volume of an actuator is very high and enables easy control. The oil hydraulic system is very sturdy.
● Disadvantages: Since an oil pressure generating source driven by a motor needs to be mounted, this system requires sufficient space and a strong power source or engine for the motor. An oil recovery route is also required.
③ Pneumatic Control
〇 Advantages: The power generated per unit volume of an actuator can be increased. As a result of power equilibrium control, the pneumatic control system is unlikely to be damaged by overload when the moment of inertia or exterior force is applied, and so the system can be flexibly used. No route for recovering consumed air is required. The system can be miniaturized, and the air and power supply source is minimized.
● Disadvantages: The controlling is extremely difficult, and therefore very few engineers think that it is possible to apply the pneumatic control method to robots.
In the field of humanoid robot development, it is considered almost impossible to apply the current electric servomotor or oil hydraulic control technology to design articulated robots capable of performing human tasks with sufficient power. However, the pneumatic control technology, if its control problems are to be overcome, has great potential for designing humanoid robots.
The following videos are uploaded on this website to demonstrate the above-described potential.
If you try to lift your arm horizontally with a 5.0kg weight, a great force is generated around the shoulder muscles, and the stomach and back muscles are strained to keep balance. Furthermore, the human shoulder rotation range is large. This experimental equipment has been devised in order not only to simulate the foregoing factors but also to confirm the performance of pneumatic control of the stretched arm movement. We have conducted experiments for speed control, positioning control, and measures to counter the moment of inertia, using this equipment.
This video was filmed about four years ago. We have resumed the robot arm development after a three-year break and uploaded the video.
The robotic arm joint excluding the hand has been completed. This video shows the arm movement range at no load when there is no weight in the hand and the motion performance of the arm moved with each joint connected. It was confirmed as a result of this experiment that the 180°twisting motion performance is not sufficient, and we are planning to improve the performance.
● The motion of the arm with a 2.5kg weight is shown.
● Follow-up control is one of the techniques required to remote-control robots.
● The bending motion of the arm with a 7.5 or 12.5 weight is being displayed.
◆ Development Steps of Disaster Robots
1. Development of Right Hand
● The videos relating to this development step will be uploaded within one year.
● We aim to design the robotic right hand capable of handling a wrench or screwdriver with the human grasping power. The powerful finger joints are required for turning a doorknob to open and close the door, and removing obstacles to rescue people trapped in a disaster or accident.
● It would not be so difficult to place a sensor in each fingertip to enable the hand to hold a rounded object like an egg.
● As shown in the video, it would be most difficult to design the right arm and hand, because it is necessary to embed about 16 actuators and driving solenoids in one arm. However, overcoming this difficulty would make it easier to design the biped walking mechanism.
2. Development of Both Arms and Hands
● If the right arm and hand are completed, it would be easy to design the other arm and hand.
● At this development step, it will be most important to develop software for enabling both arms and hands to work together. The robots capable of handling a tool with the right hand while holding something with the left could have limitless possibilities.
3. Development of Biped Walking Model
● Biped walking is not a prerequisite for disaster robots. They can be equipped with three, four or more legs. Considering mobility in a small space, however, the biped walking model is thought to be the most desirable.
● The robot must have flexible hip, groin and ankle joints and several fingers similar to human ones in order to stand up on its own after falling down in the rubble during restoration or rescue operations. These body parts need to be powerful enough. At this step, therefore, it will be important to develop software for enabling both legs and hands to work together so that the robot can stand up.
● Furthermore, the robot must be able not merely to support its weight but also to withstand the load that is double the weight of its own in order to work in a disaster. The volume of the legs is large compared to the arms, but control by a large diameter cylinder enables powerful robotic legs.
● The equilibrium sensor is also an indispensable element to the biped walking mechanism. Therefore, it will be necessary to develop software for comprehensively judging the position and inclination of the head, chest, stomach and hip, and the gravity center of the body.
4. Development of Remote Control Technology
● A Robot working in a disaster needs to be controlled from a great distance. For this purpose, high-level communications technology is required for bidirectional transmission of information including the distance, direction and color as well as what the robot senses with the eyes and ears.
● The manipulator suit, in which the sensors required for robot manipulation can be embedded, needs to be developed, for example, in order for the manipulator to accurately feel what the robot feels with the fingertips or for the robot to exert force at the same time the manipulator applies force to the fingertips. The manipulator can determine the degree of force to be applied and the work site conditions by feeling exactly as the remote-controlled robot does through bidirectional transmission, thereby making the robot perform detailed tasks.
● The robot can work with a thin air hose and power supply cables connected , but it would be desirable to develop the gas cylinder and the battery to allow the robot to work more freely. For pneumatic robots, liquid nitrogen and ordinary cylinders could be used as the driving pressure source.
● The relay stations for air and power supply need to be established, too. Furthermore, the system for enabling the robot itself to fill up the empty cylinder and recharge the battery.
5. System Development for Robots Capable of Withstanding all Kinds of Disasters
● Humans can’t perform rescue or restoration operations in a harsh environment such as a fire, a water environment and an area contaminated with poisonous gas or radioactive materials. I will be necessary to design parts and systems capable of withstanding harsh disaster conditions.
● We are currently developing robots based only on engineering aspects, but in the last development step, it will be important to consider disaster environments from every perspective to prevent robots from being damaged.
◆Application of Pneumatic Control to Other Types of Robots
1. Application to Development of Nursing Care Robots and Industrial Robots
● We are definitely interested in these types of robots, and if sufficient funds and human resources can be procured, we would like to embark on a related project.
2. Development of Robots other than Humanoids
● We are planning to develop four-legged robots, multiple-legged lizard or snake type robots and other types of dream robots.
3. Sale of Parts to Hobbyists and Researchers
● We are going to consider selling robot kits to enthusiastic hobbyists and supplying parts to researchers in the future in order to promote pneumatic robot development activities and at the same time procure development funds.
◆Request for Support
Passion for Realization of Dream
The mechanical dolls created by Hisashige Tanaka, a world famous Japanese inventor, are really ‘fabulous’. As shown in the fact that the anime featuring an astro boy called Tetsuwan Atom was a great hit, the Japanese love robots. I am sure that all robot researchers have a big dream.
The high-level performances by entertainment robots are amazing, but frankly speaking they leave something to be desired, and that may be because many people have a big dream for robots. What is the big dream?
I believe the dream is focused on development of robots that can perform difficult tasks for humans, such as disaster robots. The performances by Atlas deserve to be commended, but since the robot is equipped with a hydraulic unit (I guess so), a large space is necessary for its movement and the mechanism of its arms and hands seem greatly restricted.
We are not just looking for money-making business opportunities, but we want to realize the big dream sought after by a huge number of people. Of course, money is an important factor for maintaining development and continuing business. The reason why I have been continuing the research is that my dream has turned into passion and a burning desire. I have decided to introduce our technology on this website not just out of the burning desire but because I strongly wish to return to the basics of the dream, realize the dream together with you and contribute to society.
In spite of decades of research by a number of experts and companies across the world, robots have not been incorporated into daily life. For instance, some people still continue restoration efforts in disaster-hit areas as seen in the Fukushima atomic power accident, and the cases of decommission of reactors are expected to increase in the near future. The reasons for delay in development of disaster robots are probably summarized in the section ‘Advantages of Application of Pneumatic Control to Humanoid Robot’ above’.
Currently, our organizational power, human resources, time, space and funds are limited. First of all, we have to procure funds so as to accelerate the development toward realization of the dream. We will use the funds effectively to make plans, educate human resources and proceed with the research and development on a continuous basis.
In order to reach the development level outlined in the Section ‘Future Development Steps’ above, we will have to set up a laboratory and other facilities. These stages will also involve a variety of expertise from many different disciplines. We will need to create a stable management and organizational structure to effectively and efficiently implement the plans, maintain security and protect the resulting technologies.
Therefore, enormous funds and human resources are required.
Every journey has its first step. The first step of our journey is summarized in the videos on this website. And we definitely need your cooperation and support to push our development two and three steps forward.
I believe that, as the pneumatic technology gradually evolves and is practically used, large groups of people will join us from different sectors, directing so much energy toward realizing our dream.
I sincerely hope many of you will provide support to us, whether individuals or companies.
◆How to Offer Financial Support
1. Support of Eishin Technology Co., Ltd. for Development of Pneumatic Humanoid Robots
● I promise to use the donated funds for the purpose of research and development. However, we have no plans to establish an independent company for robot development, and we will have to continue our daily business in parallel with the development. I would like the donors to understand that you are supposed to support Eishin Technology Co.,Ltd. for continued robot development.
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