Sunday, November 30, 2008


Hello! My name is Wakamaru...

I am a humanoid robot from Japan; I am the creation of designer Toshiyuki Kita and am made by Mitsubishi. My design was to make me more approachable to humans with my human-like shape, adorable expression, and ability to make eye contact and gestures – I’m soooo cute! I can interact & communicate with people talking on a variety of subjects. What else can I do? Well, I can lead exercises, remember information & in turn provide it to people– I am so intelligent!

Currently, I’m employed at Uniqlo in NYC. I provide information for the store customers, “conversate” with and play games (Rock, Paper, Scissors) with them. I love my job.

While working at Uniqlo I have assistants to help monitor my technical functions and provide additional info about me to the public. Here are 2 of my assistants posing with me, they are very nice – humans are remarkable creatures.

My specs:
Interactive voice technology – voice recognition & speech
Eye contact technology – physical or facial movement detection
Face recognition technology – face observation & differentiation
Obstacle avoidance technology – ultrasonic, infrared, & contention detection bumper sensors.

I’ll be at Uniqlo - 546 Broadway – NYC for a few more weeks, so if you can, stop by and say Hi!
Check out my web blog:

Friday, November 14, 2008

New Help for FLL teams...

For rookie coaches (and veterans too), the FIRST LEGO® League Coaches’ Handbook, that comes with your registration of a team, is your overview of getting started with an FLL (FIRST LEGO® League) team. The handbook offers a coach, teacher, and/or parent general insight into how to organize and coach a FLL team and what to expect at the tournaments. It is a quick reference that offers philosophy, management, and check lists for the team.

Now, coaches have another resource, the FIRST LEGO® League: the unofficial guide by James Floyd Kelly & Jonathan Daudelin, takes you beyond the handbook. It goes into more depth as to what FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science & Technology) and the FLL is about, the components of the challenge: robot performance, robot design, the research project, teamwork and other awards, starting and managing a team – including funding, etc. However, what makes the FIRST LEGO® League: the unofficial guide so excellent is it offers a starting point for robot building and programming, which is often a concern for new coaches – Where do we begin? What are the basics for building and programming for the tournament? Yes, there are good resources scattered around the Internet; of course there are book sources geared mostly toward an intermediate and advanced robotics curriculum (not the FLL) and there is one very good reference book for just programming. Therefore, FIRST LEGO® League: the unofficial guide is the book for FLL teams to add to their resources. It provides teams with beginning ideas, pictures, and examples of robot design, attachments for their robot, programming samples, and a link for downloading NXT-G programs and sample documents.

As a LEGO® NXT robotics instructor, I highly recommend this book to FIRST LEGO® teams; and for those thinking about getting involved in the FLL. For information on the book and updates go-to, or directly from No Starch Press (,, 1-800-420-7240).

For those of you not involved in the FIRST LEGO® robotics go-to for information on an exciting program.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

We Robots Are Everywhere...

From Reee-bot the Roving Robot Reporter…

In the Dec. 2008 issue of Mac Life, page 48, reporter Roberto Baldwin gives thumbs up for the LEGO® NXT Mindstorms robot (one of my relatives, I'm proud to say). He says, “Since robots will someday overthrow their human masters, I want to stay ahead of the curve…and treat them the way robots deserve to be treated, when the big scary robots come to throw me into their undersea human prison, my army of tiny robot friends (NXT robots) will speak on my behalf…”

What a vivid imagination! Don't worry man, I got your back; I love you Robbie!!!