Just fourteen years ago, in 2001, everyone was caught up in the buzz about a new mystery product from design genius Dean Kamen that was code named “Ginger”. Ginger was supposed to radically impact personal transportation, facilitate people friendly urban design, and do a multitude of other magical things. Ginger, when it was publicly unveiled, turned out to be Segway, the two wheeled balancing personal transporter.(more…)
We first attended the ROBOTECH exhibition several years ago. Every odd numbered year (2011, 2013, 2015, …), Japan stages the International Robot Exhibition (IREX), which is generally acknowledged to be the biggest, most interesting robot technology exhibition in Asia, perhaps in the world. Manufacturers, reseachers, students, robot application developers, end-users, everyone that has an interest in robotics travels from the four corners of the globe to participate. But, that leaves a noticeable void during the even numbered years. It was this void, this opportunity, that ROBOTECH hoped to capitalize on.
For anyone purchasing items in Japan, especially digital devices like cameras, TVs, computers, and the like, the Kakaku.com website is a life-saver. Just use the site to search for the maker and model number of the item you want to purchase, and Kakaku.com almost instantaneously returns an extensive listing showing the pricing, availability, shipping options, and a wealth of other useful information.(more…)
Technology and gadgets are exciting, sometimes even compelling. We see something new, something on the cutting edge, and we just have to have one. Rationality and reason go out the window as we whip out our credit card and quickly consummate the purchase. Then, almost inevitably our fantastic purchase loses our attention after a few weeks or months and is relegated to gathering dusk in some closet or corner of the garage.
Purchases that last are those that fill our basic needs and continue to provide us with satisfaction day after day, week after week. Robots are like that. Tens of thousands of home/personal robots have been sold over the past decade, but very few of them are still playing an active role in the life of their human owners. And, the exceptions, those robots that have really delivered on their promises and continuously contribute to improving quality of life, like ZORA ROBOT, give us significant insight into the way that robots and humans can live and work together building a bright future.
ROBO-ONE was originally conceived as “Humanoid Robot Entertainment” with the unstated goal of stimulating a whole generation of Japanese, and international, developers to get involved in the humanoid robot movement. Everyone knew it would be impossible to replicate the performance of Honda’s ASIMO robot on a hobbyist budget, but it would be fun to see how far they could push the envelope in that direction.
The Japanese have a fascination with trains that seems to be unique in the world. Video arcades here (yes, they still exist in Japan) have console games that let you play train conductor for the Bullet Train and other famous rail lines, and it’s not uncommon to see middle aged adult men along with the queue of kids waiting to enjoy the games.(more…)
An International Drone Exposition, featuring seminar sessions from some of the top Japanese and international leaders in the development and application of drone technology, is scheduled for May 20, 21, and 22nd at the Makuhari Messe Convention Center east of Tokyo.
Staged as a part of the larger Techno-Frontier event, the drone exhibitions and seminars will share the facility with other technology based events including Mechatronics, 3D Printing, Battery technology, Wireless, and others.
Most robot contests award outstanding performance. All the awards and glory goes to the smarter competitors that take advantage of the best, often state-of-the-art technology. Of course, that comes at a price, building champion level robots isn’t cheap. And, more importantly, it leaves out the vast majority of people who are interested in robotics but can’t compete at the top level, or can’t afford the cost of entry.
The answer, at least in Japan, is HEBOCON: The Robot Contest for Dummies!(more…)