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Open, programmable humanoid robot runs Linux

Jul 17, 2006 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 9 views

Four companies in Japan have created a low-cost, user-programmable humanoid robot targeting educational and research applications. The HRP-2m Choromet uses technology from Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), and is user-programmable thanks to open software running on a user-space… real-time Linux implementation.

(Click for larger view of HRP-2m Choromet)

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The Choromet stands about 13-3/4 inches tall, and is capable of walking upright on two legs. It can also assume supine or prone positions, and stand up from either.

The Choromet is based on several technologies developed by AIST, including

  • A business-card sized SBC (single board computer)
    • 240MHz SH-4 processor
    • 32MB of RAM
  • “ARTLinux,” an operating system said to provide a user-space real-time Linux environment
  • Humanoid motion application software based on OpenHRP (Humanoid Robotics Project)

Other Choromet features include:

  • Triaxial force sensors on legs
  • Accelerometer and gyroscope in trunk
  • Smaller feet than most hobbyist-class robots, thanks to real-time sensor feedback

Much of the technology behind Choromet was originally developed for the HRP-2 Promet (pictured at right), a life-sized research robot marketed by Kawada, and costing tens of millions of yen (upwards of $170,000). The Choromet, on the other hand, was designed to be relatively small and inexpensive.

Companies behind the Choromet include:

  • General Robotix — worked on the base software stack
  • Moving Eye — along with AIST, Moving Eye Yoichi Ishiwata co-developed ARTLinux and ported it to the SH-4 SBC
  • Pirkus Robotix — designed mechanical linkages
  • Dai Nippon Technical Research Institute — created plastic exoskeleton for safety

AIST hopes Choromet's ability to run software-based movement programs on a real-time Linux platform will enable researchers and schools to experiment with the effectiveness of humanoid robot motion pattern applications.


The Choromet is expected to be available from General Robotics in September, priced at 498,000 Japanese Yen (about $4,242).

Availability was not announced. A short video clip of the Choromet in action can be found here.

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