ROBOXERO is Serious Robot Business! #ROBOXERO

roboxero humanoid robot

DeAgostini Japan has released robot kits before using their unique magazine/book/kit format, but it seems like they are determined to take the game to a totally new level with their repackaging of the Himeji Softworks Jo-Zero robot developed by Nakamura-san.

Nakamura, the ROBO-ONE champion humanoid robot builder responsible for creating the amazing transformer robot is capable of designing small bipedal robots that challenge the state of the art. And, he has a heart of gold. He regularly stages events in his home city of Himeji to attract and delight youngsters (and oldsters) into robotics as a hobby and career.

But, like most small start-ups, his company is constrained by limited investment capital, cash flow, and available management resources. Yet the potential market for humanoid robots like Jo-Zero is huge, and extends globally - not just in Japan. Luckily he was able to form a relationship with DeAgostini Japan so that they could supply the marketing, sales, and distribution resources that were so sorely needed to make the robot a success.

DeAgostini's marketing approach is rather unique. As we have mention in previous posts, they take a complex kit, like Jo-Xero, and repackage it into a large number of component sets. Each set of parts consists of one step in the robot assembly process and comes with very detailed, professionally illustrated, construction plans. While very young children might run into difficulty, the plans include enough diagrams and explanation to make assembly, testing, alignment, and operation straight forward for most buyers.

The company packages the components in a specially designed box that includes a glossy magazine filled with articles on related topics, like the ROBO-ONE movement, the history of humanoid robotics, and the like. And, to make the purchase more palatable, they keep the price of each "magazine" issue relatively low - typically around 2,000 yen.

Of course, if you total up the cost of all the issues necessary to complete the robot it costs much more than just buying the robot off the shelf as a kit. But, in that case all the background material, articles, and other extras wouldn't be included. More important - DeAgostini knows that in many cases it's the parents, or more often grandparents, that are making the purchase for their children and grandchildren, so the company sets the price accordingly.

We mentioned that DeAgostini seems even more committed to ROBOXERO than they have to prior robot products. This time around they are doing a full court press. In addition to the normal advertisements and promotions, they have also created a very active ROBOXERO Twitter channel. ROBOXERO has his own Facebook page.

And, starting on Thursday, February 17 at 20:00 (JST) they will kick off a regular weekly ROBOXERO video program via Ustream. For fans unable to watch the program real-time, they will be posting the episodes on both NicoNico and Youtube. Really dedicated fans here in Japan can download an app for their smart phones and watch the action while commuting on the train or subway.

You might also enjoy:

  1. DeAgostini Japan Marketing RoboXero Humanoid Robot
  2. Business is Business – iRobot Gets Hammered
  3. "Gee Whiz!" – HPI Rolls Out The G-ROBOT
  4. University of Tokyo Selects Aldebaran NAO Robot
  5. Big Business? No – Huge Business
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8 comments

  1. Is there any chance to find someone in Japan who is able to send the issues of this magazine/robot to germany, when they appear?

    • Hi Hendrik,

      Were you able to get things going on the Robo Xero through Rinky? I’d like to know how that’s working out for you as I’m interested in trying to get the Robo Xero installments as well.

      Thank you,
      Anthony

  2. You could just buy the whole kit from the origin company: http://www.jo-zero.com/
    I heard there are proxy mail services to ship products from Japan that are normally not shipped outside Japan.
    Or you could just buy a Robonova.

  3. @Hendrik: Rinkya (http://stores.rinkya.com/en/contact/) is the best proxy company I know of for buying Japanese products from outside Japan.

    @Alex: Robonova performance isn’t even close to ROBOXERO, and isn’t sold by Hitec anymore.

  4. Depend on what he wants and if he’s a beginner. There are other kits he can easily get in Germany: http://robosavvy.com/

  5. I’m in touch with the guys (and girls) of rinkya. Seems to work out well. Thank you all for your support. Especially Lem ;)

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