[CEATEC Preview] Murata to Showcase Unicycle-riding Robot [Video]

Sep 25, 2008
Tomonori Shindou, Nikkei Electronics
In the center of the robot's torso is the flywheel that maintains its left and right balance, while the holes in its belly are ultrasonic sensors (a pair for signal transmission and reception) for obstacle detection. The developers made the pair of ultrasonic sensors "look like buttons," according to the developer's blog.
In the center of the robot's torso is the flywheel that maintains its left and right balance, while the holes in its belly are ultrasonic sensors (a pair for signal transmission and reception) for obstacle detection. The developers made the pair of ultrasonic sensors "look like buttons," according to the developer's blog.
[Click to enlarge image]
[Click to enlarge image]

Murata Manufacturing Co Ltd developed the "Murata Seiko-chan," an unicycle-riding robot mounted with two gyro sensors, each of which detects lengthways and sideways tilts, respectively, to keep its balance.

The Seiko-chan will be exhibited at the company's booth at "CEATEC JAPAN 2008," which will take place from Sept 30, 2008.

Murata developed the "Murata Seisaku-kun" bicycling robot, which adopted its proprietary electronic component technology and control technology, and exhibited it at CEATEC in 2005.

Murata developed the Murata Seisaku-kun with the aim of not only proposing the application of its electronic components but also highlighting its robot development technology and quality as a company, involving its engineers engaged in the in-house production of its own electronic component manufacturing systems in the robot development.

Murata said it developed the new robot because it was requested to develop a unicycle-riding robot in addition to the bicycling robot in its "visiting class" lectures for children, which are aimed at preventing children from moving away from sciences and giving them a message that science is interesting using the Murata Seisaku-kun, after its presentation at CEATEC 2005.

Murata Seiko-chan is described as the Murata Seisaku-kun's paternal younger cousin, who is in the oldest grade of kindergarten. Her dream is to travel around the world with Seisaku-kun. Its external design is a work of a female staff member who graduated from an art university according to Murata. Its height is 50cm, weight is 5kg and speed is 5cm per second.

As for control, Seiko-chan maintains its balance between left and right by rotating the flywheel housed in its torso, just like Seisaku-kun. It maintains back to front (pitch) balance by rotating the monocycle's wheel on the same principle as an inverted pendulum.

The new robot also features Murata's products such as ultrasonic sensors for obstacle detection, a Bluetooth module for control and other command transmissions, a chip multilayer ceramic capacitor, a ceramic oscillator and an NTC thermistor.

Murata Seiko-chan on a unicycle (Japanese)