Robodex 2003 was held last week in Yokohama, Japan. At this show 38 companies, colleges and other organizations introduced more than 90 different types of robot. Many were designed to handle tasks too dangerous for humans and assist people in their daily lives.
This column is an attempt to summarize what was shown there.
Let's start with my own Robodex 2003 Fashion Show (the whole page weighs 172KB).
You'll find there pictures of many new robots, including Banryu, developed by Tmsuk, Inc., which will control your home while you're away, Doki, the world's first gender-aware robot, built by Intelligent Earth, from Scotland, or the Comet III, a one ton mine-clearance robot from Chiba University. There are also pictures of new machines from Sony, Mitsubishi or Fujitsu among others.
Now, here is a selection of articles and short quotes about this trade show which attracted about 70,000 visitors.
- Robots Ready for Work and Play (IDG News Service).
[This year,] companies are also developing robots that are intended to help people
Tmsuk's Banryu will shortly go on sale and is intended to act as the eyes and ears of someone while they are, for example, away from home. To demonstrate its potential the company plans to send it CD shopping in central Tokyo over the next two days while controlling it from the Robodex hall in Yokohama.
- Robots on Display in Japanese Exhibition Not Just For Show (Associated Press).
This year's Robodex, a major robot exhibition, brings together the top names in Japanese manufacturing -- Sony Corp., Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Toshiba Corp. and others -- all hoping to sell their products in this gadget-loving nation famous for embracing robots as friends.
"The purpose of Robodex is to create a new industry for the 21st Century, a new industry originating out of Japan," said Tadatoshi Doi, creator of Sony's Aibo pet robot.
- Robots Take Dangerous Jobs: New models could clear land mines or do nuclear cleanup (IDG News Service).
A number of companies and universities are working on robot technology that's designed to either save lives or make life easier. Some are robots designed to perform jobs that are dangerous for humans, such as mine-clearance work.
Chiba University displayed several mine-clearance robots, including the Comet III, which weighs 1 ton. The robots walk on six legs in a spiderlike fashion and are designed to make the job of clearing mines considerably less dangerous. De-mining resulted in at least 500 deaths from 1996 to 2002, according to a database maintained by the Journal of Mine Action
- Humanoid robots wow Japanese (BBC News).
The show brings together more than 90 different types of robot from 38 companies, colleges and other organisations, up from last year's 72 bots.
[Note: this story contains additional pictures and links.]
All of these articles are worth reading -- providing you have an interest in robots.
Sources: Martyn Williams, IDG News Service, April 2 and 3, 2003; Yuri Kageyama, Associated Press, April 2, 2003; J Mark Lytle, BBC News, April 4, 2003
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