The new DARwin Mini humanoid robot from Robotis is about to rock the robot community worldwide, and give some major heartburn to competitors.
Featuring outstanding price/performance, this new robot will make it possible for a whole new sector of users to get actively involved in humanoid robotics whether it's at the educational, hobby, research, or professional use.
Loh HC - Managing Director and Carolyn Tang - Sales/Marketing Director of Hongqin SDN BHD in Malaysia, with Dr. JK Han of Robotis and THOR-MANG.
Here's another video of the RobotWorld 2013 THOR-MANG demonstration from a different angle so you can see the robot walking and climbing up two steps before it closes the valve.
About a week ago I was really concerned about the typhoons moving in. It appeared that at least one of the typhoons would hit on Wednesday possibly delaying my flight. But, luckily the weather was perfect and my flight was on time.
It will take me a while to wrap my mind around Korean currency since it has a few more zeros than I'm used to.
At Narita airport I cruised the gift shops killing time and ran across this display of Piperoid paper robots. They sell for approximately 8 dollars a set, with each set including two robot designs.
It's a sign of the times that the balcony floor in the north wing of terminal one at Narita used to be a Bob's Big Boy restaurant, but now it's the smoking area for that wing.
Luckily, the flight from Japan to Seoul is only about two and half hours, and the woman in the seat in front of me didn't try to recline her seat.
The airport bus system in Seoul is basically the same as what I'm used to in Japan, except here I can't read most of the signs.
They sell these T-shirts on the bus on the way to the airport, obviously pitching to people that need to buy last-minute gifts.
By the time my flight landed and I was able to work my way through the bus queue, the sun was already setting as we got into the city.
The weather is beautiful, and the temperature is much milder than I expected. When I used to visit Seoul regularly in the 1980s I was often told that all of the bridges had explosive charges rigged so that if the North decided to suddenly attack the bridges could be blown up to impede their progress. I don't know whether it was true or not, but I still think about it every time I cross one of these bridges.
RobotWorld kicks off tomorrow morning with the opening ceremony scheduled for 10 AM. It will be really interesting to see how it compares with the major robot events I've covered in Japan and the US.
I always try to put together an interview/shot-list before any major event that I am assigned to cover. It helps to make sure that I don't overlook anything interesting or important to the client, especially in the heat of the moment. Robot events like RobotWorld Korea can be particularly challenging since they expect approximately 80,000 visitors including the general public.
The official exhibitor list, as of October 19th, shows 84 distinct companies, including 5 coming from France. I'm sure that some of the larger companies will have multiple exhibits since many of them have multiple divisions in the robotics sector.
The overall classifications organised by pavilion are shown in the table above, along with the market sector and number of confirmed companies exhibiting. I suspect that the distribution represents a fairly accurate view of priorities within Korean robot manufacturers.
The one sector that really stands out, at least in terms of the number of companies, is education. From the perspective of the Korean focus on the importance of education, and the parent's intense commitment to making sure that their children have the best education possible, it makes a lot of sense.
Keep in mind that these numbers only represent companies and do not include colleges, universities, technical high schools, non-profits, and some research and development facilities. Those organisations are expected to also have a presence at the event.
As a point of reference, South Korea's population is roughly 50 million, compared to a U.S. population of 314 million. If a country with only 16% of the U.S. population draws huge crowds to a robot event like this, and has an obvious commitment to STEM education, what does that tell us about competitiveness, and what can we expect in the future as students graduate into the workforce?
Limor Schweitzer, the founder of Robosavvy - one of the most popular online sources of information, know-how, and humanoid robot parts/kits, was just featured on Bloomberg Televisions where he introduced “Fonzie” the dancing robot. Limor also explained how Robosavvy uses "Fonzie" and their other humanoids to develop research platforms for human-robot interaction.