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Bike with no brakes no prob for mini robot

Masahiko Yamaguchi's mini robot can balance itself while riding a bike just by moving the handlebars. Expect wheelies soon.

Masahiko Yamaguchi

A showdown is brewing in the realm of bicycle-riding robots. Murata Boy, the balance-beam daredevil, has competition in the form of a brash young upstart.

Primer-V2 is the brainchild of Masahiko Yamaguchi, aka Dr. Guero, a hobbyist who thrilled visitors to the recent iRex 2011 robot trade show here in Tokyo.

The bot is being touted as the first cyber-cyclist that can maintain its balance simply by moving the handlebars.

Primer is actually a hacked humanoid robot kit, a Kondo Kagaku KHR-3HV, with a custom board based on a SH7125 microcontroller, and modified joints.

Yamaguchi made the bike himself. He directs Primer where to steer with a remote control. The bot does the balancing itself thanks to data from a piezoelectric angular rate sensor used to correct tilt with the handlebars.

Check out the vid below. Primer pedals around at iRex 2011, stops by putting a foot down, and waves to the crowd. There's footage of Primer cycling around on roads in Japan here, including a bit when it walks backward while straddling the bike.

It's a brilliant show by a skilled hobbyist. What will Dr. Guero do for his next act?

"I haven't made any concrete plans yet, but I think I'd like to try my hand at fighting robots," he says.

Robo-One combat tournaments may get a lot more exciting.