We made a quick trip in to the Akihabara electronics district of Tokyo this afternoon. It started off innocently enough. Our plans were just to pick up a few bits and pieces - robot parts and electronic components - we need for our latest project.
Here's what we found...
The famous robot sign over the nest of electronic components shops under the train tracks. With all the new building construction going on in the area, sooner or later that sign is going to disappear.
Cameron Diaz promoting Softbank cell phones and service contracts.
We dropped in at the Tsukumo Robot Kingdom shop and ran into Dr. GIY, the current ROBO-ONE Grand Prix champion. He, and his team, will be competing in the KondoCup Robot Soccer competitions this coming Monday at RoboSpot.
Over at RT Corporation, about 3-5 minutes walk away, there were several robot training classes taking place.
Yuki Nakagawa (left), the founder of RT, shows Dr. Georg Wiessmeier how to adjust one of the Kondo KHR-2HV humanoid robots. They started by opening the robot kit box around 10:00 am in the morning. By 18:00 the final adjustments and testing were finished and they were wrapping up for the day. Nakagawa-san says they really enjoy working with customers from overseas and frequently give classes in English.
Georg insisted that the robot kit was actually for his children....
There was also a MANOI AT01 robot training class taking place. While it's easy to assemble robot kits like this by yourself, a lot of people will take one of the classes to gain the benefit of expert instruction, lots of tips and tricks that don't show up in the manuals, and to build a relationship with some of the leaders in the robot community.
Yuki Nakagawa showing off the robot rabbit that was also the model for the RT red robot logo.
On our way back to the Akihabara train station we made a quick detour through the Yodobashi electronics mega-store. It certainly looks like they borrowed those expressive eyes from the KHR-1 robot!
A Tokyo station poster promoting the advanced techology program at a university in Chiba, not far from where we live.
Finally, we were on our way back home. Of course, we'll be back in Tokyo all day on Monday for the KondoCup robot soccer event.