Asimo – The famous Honda Robot. I was able to see this amazing humanoid robot today live and in person. I attended the Great Robot Exhibition in the National Science Museum in Ueno Park, Tokyo.
Upon entering the show there is a fascinating “Wall of Robots” which chronicles the rise of iconic robots from the mid 1900s to the present. The wall features different figures and concept sketch art from icons such as Astro Boy and over 100 “Master Grade” Gundam models.
Also, at the start there is a booth where you can purchase a “virtual talking tour” which you wear on your belt similar to an iPod with ear buds to listen to various highlights for the different demonstrations. I was a little disappointed to find out that the only language this was available in was Japanese. I did not find this to be a huge hindrance, as I speak enough Japanese to get myself into trouble – but, I think with technology being where it is today, I cannot imagine that it would have added a huge amount of work to have the exhibits translated into 3 or 4 different languages so that folks from other countries who do not speak Japanese would have been able to enjoy the specifics of the show.
Some very interesting displays included extremely old karakuri – or Automaton robots. I always find it curious that these types of machines are included in the same category as modern robots, but who am I to argue.
Toyota had two of their “Toyota Partner Robots” there in all their trumpet playing glory. Still not sure if they have named these robots, I tried searching their website and found no reference to the robots or any potential names they might have while using the search function. However, three pages back on Google, I found a direct link to some 2004 archive press releases which described the plan for a show to be put on at the 2005 Expo in Aichi, Japan. From there, I was able to view two other press releases for new robots released by Toyota this year, a “Tour Guide” robot and “Personal Transport and Violin Playing” robots. Alas, no neat names…
There were quite a few demonstrations of other robot technologies from the “bug” robots to educational robots, and of course other manufacturing robots but as I expected Asimo (“Advanced Step in Innovative MObility”) the Honda robot stole the show. The exhibition is currently running and will wrap up on January 27, 2008.