Kuroko, Japanese for ‘puppet master’, was a special guest at the RoboValley office today. Kuroko is a robot that was designed to make robotics more accessible to people.
Of course, the creators of Kuroko, Hirofumi Tamai and his son, Satoshi Tamai, were also present during this visit. “We need to get robotics involved in our everyday lives” says Hirofumi Tamai. Right now, we mainly use robots in industry, these are often very large and heavy. To get robots involved in our daily life we need to make use of the safer soft robotics, where robots are made of soft and deformable materials. It’s also important that the robot has a friendly, familiar look. Like Kuroko.
Kuroko can learn how to move its robotic arms from a human during ‘Teaching Mode’. In this mode, a human operator can directly move Kuroko’s arms. Afterwards, the moves will be saved as motion data and can be replayed at any time. Because the data is saved on a computer, learned moves can even be transferred to other Kuroko robots.
In addition to that, Kuroko’s ‘mask’ can be changed to make it look like any character you want. Additional limbs can even be added. For the design of his robots, Tamai looks at art. If a robot looks like a piece of art, instead of like a machine, people are quicker to accept it into their lives.
Tamai and Kuroko visited Ireland and the Netherlands to meet new people and introduce Japanese culture to these countries. Tamai thinks that it’s important to meet fellow experts in order to collaborate on future projects. “A vision that closely matches that of RoboValley,” says Arthur de Crook, Managing Director of RoboValley.