Robocon 2017 and Graduation ceremony

Hello, everyone!!
My name is Oka, a new M1 student. This is my first post.
After the submission of the thesis of the graduation, we held Robocon 2017 with new 4th graders (B4)  who will join our lab in the next year!

Rules of the competition are the same as before, the B4 students are divided into several teams. After rewriting the program of the snake-like robot by themselves, the competition will be carried out to choose a fastest robot! However, one point is extremely different with last year . . .

That is … the  COURSE becomes LONGER and  WIDER.

The course is a corridor from the front of our lab to prof. MA’s office.Since the course is long, they need to rewrite the program to predict the time of turning. I think this work is very difficult to be timed in such a short time.
Also, the rule is pretty hard and if the robot touches the wall several times, it has to start over from the starting point. However, the B4 students analyzed together and challenged many times within the given time.
This serious discussion was quite good…Wish they can success.
The team of Mr. Kawabata, Mr. Tomita and Mr. Yamashita wonderfully won the championship!! They quickly understood the programming of the robot!
A gold medal built by Ritsumeikan University was presented to the winning team. Whether it is genuine or not, please referring to last year’s article…
In the future, I hope everyone can do the research seriously and cooperately like this time.
See you next time.

Thanks to everyone who helped us, we were able to graduate on time.
We would like to express our sincere gratitude to the professors , our seniors, colleagues and our families
file1M2 students

fileB4 students

Guests from Shanghai Jiao Tong University

International students from Shanghai Jiao Tong University came to our lab as a part of a study abroad program. They took not only a tour but also a seminar on a practical training course.(Introduction of Biologically-inspired Robot- Snake – like Robot) In the seminar they learned by moving a snake-like robot which is a trademark of our lab.



They tried to move the snake-like robot. Although the program was described at a minimum, the movement of the snake-like robot steadily changed like an actual snake. (everyone was excellent!)



Let’s move the mobile robot in a wide space!
A competition started at a corridor.(Sorry about the loud noise. m(__)m)


Even if there were obstacles, the robot avoided or collided, and managed to proceed.


The team which could do almost one round won the championship. We hope they were interested in snake-like robots in this experience.

Welcomeparty for new comers and Year-end party

We had a welcome party (for Prof. Guoteng Zhang and B3 members) as well as a year-end party. The number of people in Ma lab has been increasing, it has probably become one of the biggest laboratories in Ritsumeikan University!


It was a good opportunity to talk with lots of people. The papers submission and presentation are getting closer, but let’s do our best without giving up till the end!

20th Anniversary of Department of Robotics

The Department of Robotics, Ritsumeikan University was founded in 1996 as Japan’s first department that can learn robotics expertly. This year marks the 20th anniversary and commemorating this, the 20th anniversary lecture, tour and celebration were held on November5, 2016. Many visitors came to our laboratory. Thank you!





JIMA2016 @Tokyo

We have participated in JIMA2016 Synthesis Inspection Equipment Exhibition held at Tokyo Big Sight for 3 days from Sep.28 to Sep.30, 2016. We exhibited and demonstrated a pipe inspection robot. The demonstration that the piping inspection robot vertically moves up and down was attracting people.


By listening to the opinions of people working at the factory site, we were able get many opinions that we cannot hear simply by being in the laboratory.
Moreover, we were able to know problems such as durability of the robot. There are many people who want to use the robot immediately for inspection of infrastructure equipment and we feel that we have to tackle as soon as possible for practical application.

IMG_5763We don’t want our research to end in the laboratory. We would like to have many people see our research through exhibitions, etc. and conduct it that will be used somewhere in the future.

Two international students Thomas and Anthony from the University of Michigan have come back to the USA!

Two international students Thomas and Anthony from the University of Michigan have come back to the USA! We would like to publish the part of written description of their impressions.


During our stay, we lived in the International House that is located just a short walk from campus. The best thing about I-House is that all the residents can speak English, which makes things easier for us foreigners. Also, there were people from countries all over the world. It was very easy to make friends and share our unique experiences. The dormitory also planned trips and events for residents. We went on a trip sponsored by the mayor, and did zip lining, barbeque, and sightseeing. It was an amazing experience.

Since Ritsumeikan University is fairly close to Kyoto, we were able to go there during the weekends. We visited the many temples, such as the Nanzen-ji Temple and the Ginkaku-ji Temple. It was a very nice cultural experience, seeing the many artifacts that were left behind hundreds of years ago.

The majority of our time was spent in the lab under Professor Ma. The lab specializes in biological intelligent mechanics, or, more simply, robots that mimic animals, specifically snakes. We were assigned to work under PhD student Fabian Reyes, who tasked us with coding a framework for communication between Mathematica and robots. At first, we were clueless, since we never really interacted with hardware before. As time went on, we became more familiar with the tools and equipment. With the guidance of Fabian and many others, we were able to successfully complete our project (Link of project:

All in all, this journey was a very valuable experience to both of us. Not only did we learn how researchers in labs operate, we also learned about the Japanese language and culture. Our newly gained knowledge will certainly help us in the future, no matter what we decide to pursue. If given the chance again, we will definitely come back.

Finally, to everyone that helped us, whether in the lab or at our dormitory, we just want to say: ありがとうございました!(Arigatou gozaimashita!: means thank you very much)

Anthony and Thomas Huang.


Open Campus of Ritsumeikan University 2016

The Open Campus of Ritsumeikan University 2016 was held. We  opened our laboratories and explained about our research. Despite a hot sunshine day, many customers came to our lab.
(* ^
^ *) o ~ ♪



One room was full of long, thin robots. (snakes and in-pipe robots)
w (
° ) w


Everyone was deeply interested in our trademark snake-like robots which moved wiggle and waggle!!


There were some troubles that the robot would not move,but we figured it out!

Lab experience for undergraduates (grade1, 2)

There was a laboratory experience for undergraduates (grade1, 2) in our lab on August 3rd!! The outline of the experience is as follows.

Laboratory: Bioinspired intelligent mechatronics laboratory (Ma Lab)
Theme: learning control program of snake-like robot
Teacher in charge: Prof. Ma, Prof. Kakogawa
Date: One day between late May and early July
Place: Bioinspired intelligent mechatronics laboratory (5th floor of East Wing)
Capacity: 14 people (minimum 3 people)
Content: Though the snake of the creature is a body such as one string, why can it move smoothly? Learn the principle of movement based on knowledge of trigonometric functions studied in high school mathematics and do programming using seven joint plane snake type robot. Finally, do a contest that competes for accuracy and time of movement within a given course.

The 4 undergraduates participated!  (More than we thought!)
They were divided into two groups and challenged the time trial using a snake-like robot. The both teams managed to complete the course by trial and error in  programing.


They copied a successful barometer and were thinking about strategies.


They tried to stabilize the motion of the robot by putting a weight on the head of the robot.(*^_^*)


Comments from participants

(1) I think that I was able to expand my view of robots by watching the movements of  the robot with no legs, trying programming, and experiencing that robots are not just moving with their legs.
And I have not fully understood the principle, but as for programming, there was a discovery that changing the value of α, ω, β (value in power point) etc. would change the meandering condition and the speed of the robot. It was interesting. And
I was touched by the fact that the robot can go so steadily without a leg. (grade1)

(2) In this experience, I learned about a mechanism and a program of the snake robot. Especially the mechanism was interesting. I thought that I would like to actually make it when watching to move by complicated process, which the wheels were attached to the bottom but the driving force was not there.(grade1)

Insect collection partⅡ!!@ BKC campus

Continuing from last year, we collected beetles and stag beetles this year!
Our university campus of the laboratory has rich forests, so we can find many insects every year. We began with previewing at 17 o’clock and took insects until 5 o’clock the following morning.(lol)

The 4 members of the laboratory including alumni took insects while being bitten by a large number of mosquitoes.




The results are these.(GREAT EXCITMENT !!) ↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓


11 beetles, 1 stag beetle, 1 gigantic longicorn beetle and 1 frog etc!


The size of this beetle is about 8 cm!



This frog seems to be a very rare frog designated as an associate endangered species!



Please check the very impressive flapping of the beetle. (slow motion)


Unfortunately for the stag beetle, we could only discover about 4cm in size. We would like to try again soon.

And we were able to feel summer early in Shiga where the rainy season was just over.

We are looking forward to doing this next year.