The annual ROBOTECH Next Generation Robot Technology Exhibition is taking place this week at the Tokyo Big Sight Convention Center this week. Some of the interesting robot designs, including RT Corp's RIC Ninja Master robot, were featured in the TV Tokyo news video linked below.
It may be due to the weak world economy, the impact of the triple disasters that hit Japan earlier this year (earthquake, tsunami, nuclear), or it could be a sign of waning business interest in robotics in general, but whatever the reason, the official attendance figures for the ROBOTECH 2011 exhibition held earlier this month are lower than we expected and hoped.
The grand total, over the exhibition's three day run was 12,861 people. Considering that a significant part of that number must have consisted of employees and customers of companies and organizations that were exhibiting, along with members of the press and mass media, the exhibition didn't seem to have general appeal. It certainly didn't attract the crowds drawn to other major shows or robot events.
Tomio Sugiura, creator of Dynamizer, Tiny Wave, and many other leading edge robots, has branched out into a more commercial enterprise by putting his robot design talents to work creating an animated female fashion mannequin named "Hina" that moves it's arms quite realistically.
The annual ROBOTECH show at the Tokyo Big SIght convention center is on schedule for July 13th-15th, 2011. It's not a big robot show, and can't even begin to compare to IREX, but if you are involved with service robotics and/or manufacturing technology it is definitely worth spending an afternoon to check out the latest developments and meet some of the key companies and researchers.
Catching up on video footage I took over the summer that has been gathering dust. Here's a quick look at some of the robots on display at RoboTech 2010 held at the Big Sight convention center here.
1) AC servo motor and actuators developed by Muscle Corporation:
2) A close-up view of the Paro robot seal that's used for therapy in clinics, hospitals and care facilities. The robots actions, and reactions to stimulus, are surprisingly realistic. It's easy to understand when you pet one or hold it in your lap why it has been so successful in bonding with patients and establishing a position of trust among patients.
3) A general overview of robots on display, many of which have been seen before but are always great to observe again:
4) Amazingly small nano-motors and actuators that are used in tiny optical devices, lenses, and other mechanisms. It's hard to grasp how things this small can operate so well and so reliably:
5) The Stanford Research Institute electro-adhesive robots that are capable of climbing vertical surfaces including things as smooth as glass or as rough as concrete block walls:
Compared to other robot exhibitions, like IREX, RoboTech is quite small and not as well attended. The good point is that since the aisle's aren't packed with curiousity seekers you can spend a lot more quality time talking to the robot companies and often the developers themselves.