RT Corporation, founded by Yuki Nakagawa, has always been one of our favorite stops whenever we have the opportunity to visit the Akihabara electronics district of Tokyo. Now she has given us a couple of new reasons to visit the RT showroom as often as we possibly can manage.
As you can see from the photos below, RT has moved to a bigger, and much more spacious, facility just a couple minutes walk from the main Akihabara train station. It's obvious from the size, and the stock in the RT showroom, that they are firm believers in the concept that the robot boom is starting to experience a strong growth explosion, not just here in Japan, but globally.
Yuki Nakagawa showing off the SRV-1 wireless mobile robot from Surveyor Corporation in California. It might seem a little odd for a Japanese company like RT to be importing small robots from the United States, but according to Nakagawa-san, the SRV-1 robot offers excellent price performance that just isn't available in Japan. She feels that it will be very popular with research groups, colleges, and universities.
It turns out that Nakagawa-san welcomes business from overseas, both exporting and importing. Her company is an authorized master distributor for several well known Japanese robot manufacturers, which allows her to establish distribution partners in other countries as well as selling direct. Foreigners are frequent students in the regularly scheduled robot classes at RT, and Nakagawa-san has made quite a few trips overseas to stage training classes or accompany study groups.
One of the SRV-1 surveillance robots sold and supported by RT.
The new RT facility has a spacious, and well stocked showroom featuring robot kits, parts, and accessories from major companies like Kondo, Kyosho, HPI, Futaba, and many others. Offering a wide range of kits, and having in-depth, hands-on knowledge with all the products they offer, gives RT a significant competitive advantage over single source distributors or retail outlets.
The new facility has plenty of room for demonstrations, practice meetings, or even competitions.
They even have a 1/4 micromouse practice maze setup so that customers can come and put their creations to the test under actual competitive conditions.
RT is rapidly becoming a significant gathering place for robot builders and fans to come and share know-how and experience. On this particular Sunday afternoon there were quite a few ROBO-ONE builders chatting about the latest robot controller firmware upgrade from Kondo, and how it might raise the bar for next month's big competition here in Tokyo.
Since ROBO-ONE 11 is less than a month away, we're sure RT will be opening their doors to some late night practice sessions as the builders prepare for the biggest, and most important humanoid robot competition ever staged in Japan.
Nakagawa is also a helicopter fanatic and offers a full range of Hirobo helicopters and related products.
One corner at the RT facility is dedicated to some basic machine tools used by hobbyists and experimenters to fabricate parts. It's not uncommon for customers to schedule time on the machines so that they can modify or hack their robots.
RT has also developed and sells a few interesting products of their own, including the impressive set of grippers installed on this modified KHR-1 robot.