If you happen to be visiting Tokyo any time soon, you may want to stop over at the National Science Museum, conveniently located between the Tokyo Imperial Palace and the Budokan arena. For 600 JPY adults can explore the NEDO (The New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization) Future Scope exhibit, which is home to several famous Japanese robots. You can play with Paro, AIST’s therapeutic robot seal pup, and see the following.
AIST / Kawada Industries’ Parasaurolophus
One of two robotic dinosaurs built for the edutainment industry, which sits inside a cage at the exhibit’s entrance. The robot has 26 degrees of freedom, allowing it to walk independently and move its head and mouth. It’s approximately 3.5m (11’5″) in length and weighs 80kg (176 lbs).
AIST’s HRP-1S (Honda’s P3)
Honda gave AIST one of their P3s (ASIMO prototype from 1997) to conduct research. It actually uses the same control software as the above dinosaur. Afterward, AIST developed their own bipedal robots which led to the creation of their most popular type, the HRP-2 Promet. More detailed information can be found here.
AIST / Kawada Industries’ HRP-2 Promet
A popular research platform still in use at several Japanese universities, the HRP-2 Promet (2003) features a unique anime-inspired design by mechanical illustrator Yutaka Izubuchi (famous for his work on Patlabor and creator of RahXephon). He is also the designer of the armor worn in the Kerberos saga, which was ripped off by the KillZone video game series. More info.
This realistic female android was intended to be a receptionist, so naturally it sits in a booth and provides information about the exhibit. You can ask it questions and it will respond thanks to its speech recognition, and it even reacts if you get fresh with it.
The famous communication robot that NEC has been developing for some 11 years now, though this isn’t the latest version being rented as part of NEC’s new outreach program. It’s the older “Child Care” model, so it has a bit of a different shape and color scheme, and has holes for the speakers on its chest. Seeing as how it has already been surpassed with a newer model, this may be a rare opportunity to see one in the wild. More info.
This outdoor security robot was unveiled in 2005 and appeared, like many of the robots here, at the Aichi Expo of that year. Its blue partner (Ligurio) is not present. It can travel at a speed of 7km/h, is 150cm (5′) tall, and weighs 130kg (286 lbs). It features an external shell that protects its retractable arms much like a cloak. More info.
ALSOK / Sohgo Security’s Guard Robo i
ALSOK’s prototype surveillance / guard robot which also appeared at the Aichi Expo. They’ve developed around 7 models, all but one of which are for security purposes (the odd one out is for guidance and reception duties).
While most of these robots are a few years old by now (at least), it would still be a treat and a rare opportunity to see them up close in person while the exhibit lasts. If only air fare to Japan wasn’t so expensive… Photos shamelessly stolen from RoboTimes of course (see source link).
[source: RoboTimes (JP)]