Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International Hajime Sakamoto (Doctor of Engineering) | CEO , Hajime Research Institute, Ltd.
http://www.hajimerobot.co.jp/ 4M ROBOT PROJECT（facebook）
Mr. Hajime Sakamoto graduated from Sophia University, and joined Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. and established Hajime Research Institute, Ltd. in 2002. Doctor degree was given by Kwansei Gakuin University. He won World RoboCup, ROBO-ONE, Robo-square-cup, etc. and kept top level. He is chasing a dream to produce a humanoid robot as same height as Gundam’s.
I was working for Kawasaki (Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd.) for 11 years and engaged in software designing of large machineries and coordination of the machinery control. I was an ordinary salaried employee. After I left the company, I asked myself what I should do, and realized that producing a Gundam (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gundam） that was my dream in childhood.
I established Hajime Research Institute, Ltd. in 2002, and produced a 40-centimeter-long small humanoid robot at the first time. I enlarged the size gradually from small to large, and succeeded to develop a 2 meter-long robot in 2009. After that, I began to develop the biggest humanoid robot with height 4 meters from 2010 and completed up to the lower body and the chair of the cockpit last summer.
A person can get in the robot when the robot crouches and achieved two-legged walking which was the most difficult matter. At present, we are addressing the detailed design and manufacturing of the upper body and outer design, and are targeting to complete it by the end of 2013. The robot has a built-in cockpit different from conventional robots, and we had to be careful to the safety because it accommodates a person. We are most concerned about this point. We are planning to improve the walking speed through our cultivated skills, since the walking speed is slow.
The manufacturing of humanoid robots started from the tatami room of my house. While I continued to produce robots alone and to enlarge the size gradually, colleagues increased. At present, we are developing the humanoid robots with volunteers belong to Nishiyodogawa Business Improvement Group (NKK) that is a pan-industry social event located in Nishiyodogawa-ku of Osaka City. As a matter of fact, some of the members do not know Gundam. They are professionals who like manufacturing or who would like to manufacture the best completed products not just contractors’ products.
Their motivation is our driving power. We share present statuses, reports or ideas at regular meeting every month, and we combine our own produced parts that we provided our best technologies for the development. The selling price is 50 million yen or more. We are seeking for big sponsors and customers. For the time being, the budget for the development comes from our own pockets. However, a lot of people give aide to our projects and many messages or developing funds are being given. That is our great encouragement.
We began to participate in “RoboCup” overseas from 2005. We made a team with Darmstadt University of Technology in Germany in order to develop a humanoid robot for RoboCup in 2006. We do not participate by ourselves now, but small-medium sized robots developed with Chiba Institute of Technology are participated at the world class level in RoboCup.
We are providing the present information about 4m long robot at facebook, and receive inquires all over the world. Their inquiries are “Please sell the robot” or “We would like to join the project.”
Where both of Japanese and foreigners have the same spirits is a place of manufacturing. My mission is to address the dreams of manufacturing and to continue to send such messages outside. My final goal is a-18-meter-long humanoid robot as same height as Gundum. I would like to meet people who have different ideas from mine or who join us for the robot manufacturing exchanging ideas.