As promised, we'll be posting a detailed report, photos, and video clips from the three day AKIBA Robot festival held last weekend here in the Akihabara district of Tokyo. But before we delve too deeply into the details and specific events, we thought you might enjoy a brief video tour.
This year the event was about three times larger than 2005, and included everything from state of the art extremely life-like androids, to robots playing tag with kids, to window washing robots (imagine a Roomba that does windows), to robot soccer matches, to ... well, just about anything and everything robotic you could possibly imagine.
According to reports in the Japanese press, the total attendance over the three days was over 10,000 paid admissions - not counting all the staff, exhibitors, support people, and free-loading press journalists like us.
We don't have any figures from last year to make an accurate comparison, but it was easy to tell that interest in robotics here in the Tokyo area has skyrocketed in the past 12 months. The aisles and exhibits were so packed that it was hard for us to turn around without bumping into someone and having to apologize.
Some of the events were sponsored by well known robotics related companies. For example, Tsukumo (Tsukumo Robot Kingdom) erected the main stage and organized robot athletic competitions each day. Kondo sponsored the KondoCup Robot Soccer matches on Sunday (video will be posted shortly), and Kyosho staged some MANOI AT01 sprint competitions to set the stage for the big humanoid race they have scheduled for mid-December in Omotesando.
Here's a quick taste of what it was like to be right in the middle of the action on Sunday: