Robot exhibition opens in Tokyo

The organisers didn’t need to wheel out some bigwig to cut the ribbon and open Tokyo’s International Robot Exhibition yesterday – they got a humanoid robot called Nextage to do it.

And he had plenty of company. The National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) introduced its new humanoid Taizo, for example, a two-foot-high articulated robot designed to teach elderly people to exercise.

The strongman of the show was the Muscle Suit, developed by the Tokyo University of Science’s Kobayashi laboratory, which uses artificial rubber muscles to allow the wearer to lift heavy weights – a 50kg bad of rice, on this occasion. It’s aimed at the disabled, or overburdened factory workers.

The resident hippie was Eager’s D+ropop, made out of recycleable cardboard. And the sporting star was the University of Tokyo’s batting robot, claimed to be able to hit any ball by identifying the ball position a thousand times a second and responding in a fifth of a second.

The Okonomiyaki robot handled the catering – it has 15 joints, can take verbal orders from customers and uses standard kitchen utensils. Dunno how good it is at turkey and all the trimmings, though.

The exhibition runs until Saturday. See Nextage in action, here.