ST, Waseda University Create WV-1 Inverted Pendulum Robot

STMicroelectronics (NYSE: STM), one of the world’s leading semiconductor companies, and the Waseda University Humanoid Robotics Institute (HRI), a global leader in state-of-the-art robotics research, announced the development of a high-performance two-wheel inverted pendulum robot, called WV-1 (Waseda wheeled Vehicle-No.1), which is the first result of an ongoing cooperation for the research and development of technology and solutions for innovative humanoid robots and medical-care robot systems. The WV-1 will be displayed at the ST booth (Booth No. 8K26) at CEATEC JAPAN 2008 to be held at the “Makuhari Messe” in Chiba Prefecture from September 30 to October 4, 2008.

ST and HRI are cooperating to use leading-edge semiconductor know-how to promote the speedier development of innovative ‘humanoids’ and medical-care robotic systems, involving researchers and development engineers from both ST and HRI. ST will become a supplier to HRI for semiconductor products, while also furnishing HRI with the leading-edge semiconductor prototypes on a cost-free basis, making it possible for HRI to conduct advanced evaluations of possible humanoid and medical-care robotic applications. In addition, future cooperation between ST and HRI is expected to include the establishment of an ST-sponsored scholarship system for HRI students.

“With expectations running high for the growth of humanoid and medical-care robotic systems markets, semiconductor-fueled innovation is an extremely important field,” said Marco Cassis, Corporate Vice President and President of STMicroelectronics K.K., ST’s subsidiary in Japan. “By combining HRI’s globally renowned breakthroughs in robotics and ST’s highly advanced know-how in semiconductor technology, we are confident in our ability to accelerate technological innovation in humanoid robotics and medical-care robot systems. We are very pleased to announce the development of this robot, in addition to our cooperative relationship with HRI, the first that ST has established with a Japanese university.”

“Robotics Technology (RT) is expected to be a fundamental technology for the sustainable development of human society in the 21st century and is expected to be widely applied in manufacturing industries as well as in such industries such as nursing care and medical treatment as well as in industries confronted by food and environmental issues,” said Professor Shuji Hashimoto, Director of the Waseda University HRI. “HRI has been researching and developing advanced intelligent robots for the next generation through the integration of machine technology and information technology. The introduction of cutting-edge microelectronics technology is essential to the realization of such robots. We thus have high expectations that our cooperation with ST will accelerate our research. In addition, we will pursue a new model of industrial-academic cooperation through concrete cooperative activities with ST in education and research fields.”

The WV-1 is a two-wheeled robot on which a pole with weights is installed in an inverted fashion on a pedestal. A feedback system, controlled with the STM32, ST’s ARM® Cortex[tm]-M3 based 32-bit MCU and the LIS344ALH 3-axis digital acceleration sensor, allows the robot to move while maintaining its balance. The MCU rapidly computes the angle of robot body incline, angular velocity and other sensor data, enabling the motor to constantly generate optimum torque, which allows the robot to continue moving smoothly without tipping over. Potential applications for this inverted pendulum robot control technology include postural control functions for humanoids and other devices, realizing new means of mobility.

HRI received a grant from “the project for reinforcement of development technologies for robotics” from The Robotics Industry Development Council. The grant was used for the development of the WV-1. Additionally, HRI is now working on plans to commercialize the robot.

About Waseda University Humanoid Robotics Institute
The Waseda University Humanoid Robotics Institute (HRI) was founded in April 2000 with the goal of promoting research and development capable of forging new people-machine interfaces in the advanced information-oriented age. HRI organizes the research community of robotics “Global Robot Academia” which HRI’s major members take a leading part, and also has been selected as a research base for the “Grobal Center of Excellence Program,” a vision being advanced by Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology in support of the creation of top world level universities with international competitiveness. It has also established “ROBOCASA” and “Robot-An”, joint research laboratories with the Advanced Robotics Technology and Systems Laboratory of Saint Anna School of Advanced Studies of Italy, in working to emerge as a pivotal foundation for cooperation between Europe and Asia.

Waseda University is one Japan’s premier general universities, currently consisting of approximately 50,000 regular students, 16 academic departments, 23 postgraduate courses, two affiliated high schools and an arts school, along with libraries, attached research laboratories, research centers and other outstanding facilities. Waseda strives tirelessly to forge progressive research systems capable of leading Asia and the world, project research centers harnessing versatile approaches to advance scholastic studies and otherwise empower research rooted in the importance of industry, government and academic collaboration. In the mission to keep university education closely in tune with the dynamic new era, Waseda vigorously promotes open undergraduate education, networking and digitalization. With the focus on open education centers, meanwhile, cooperation between the Center for International Education, Career Center, Media Network Center, academic departments and graduate schools is used to fully utilize the merits of an integrated university in offering an impressive range of programs.

STMicroelectronics is a global leader in developing and delivering semiconductor solutions across the spectrum of microelectronics applications. An unrivalled combination of silicon and system expertise, manufacturing strength, Intellectual Property (IP) portfolio and strategic partners positions the Company at the forefront of System-on-Chip (SoC) technology and its products play a key role in enabling today’s convergence markets. The Company’s shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange, on Euronext Paris and on the Milan Stock Exchange. In 2007, the Company’s net revenues were $10.0 billion.