October 15, 2005 One of the many interesting displays at CEATAC last week was the bicycling robot “Murata Boy” developed by Japanese electronic components manufacturer Murata. Murata Boy was built entirely with standard Murata products such as gyroscopic, ultrasonic, and shock sensors and motion control, battery, imaging, and communication modules and for a little fellow, he certainly packs in the functionality, being capable of speeds up to 60cm/sec (2 km/h), standing upright without falling, obstacle detection, running backwards, running a predetermined course while monitoring his position, receiving instructions wirelessly and capturing and sending images to its PC master wirelessly. Murata is one of the key suppliers of robotics components for the burgeoning Japanese robotics industry and is using the Murata Boy robot to position itself internationally as a robotic components supplier. With the robotics market projected to reach 7.2 trillion yen by 2025 according to the Japan Robot Association, Murata is gearing up to supply the electronic component demand, having established a sophisticated distribution network across Europe, Asia, and North America.

Main Murata Components Used in Murata Boy

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1. Position detection gyro sensor (for navigation) It detects the direction the robot is advancing with angular velocity. The current position can be recognized by using the distance calculated from the advancing direction and tire revolution.

2. Angle detection gyro sensor It detects the slant angle during the run. The bicycle is steered using the signal sent from the gyro sensor. By arbitrarily controlling the rotation of flywheel inside torso, it maintains balance without falling when stopped.

3. Ultrasonic sensor It detects whether or not there is an obstacle ahead, and how far it is, by projecting ultrasound and generating signal from the bounced wave.

4. Shock sensor for vibration detection It detects vibrations from bump on the ground or uneven surface, and converts the information to electric signal.

5. General-purpose components for common electronic circuits Several general-purpose electronic components are used for common electronic circuits, including “chip monolithic ceramic capacitor” to properly supply electricity, “ceramic resonator (CERALOCK)” to resonate a reference signal, “NTC Thermistor” to detect temperature, “Trimmer Potentiometer” to compensate for the circuit characteristic variance, “EMI filter (EMIFIL) to suppress electromagnetic noise , etc.

Thanks to TokyoFlash for the images. More images here.

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