Back in 2006 Pepsi Japan ran a special promotion for their newly-launched Pepsi Nex line. Winners could take home a Nex Boy, which was basically a modified Volks Robofie. It sported a chromed exoskeleton to look like Pepsi Man (Pepsi’s Japanese mascot) but it mostly resembled the NEON designed by Tomotaka Takahashi.
Measuring 37 cm (14.5 inches) tall and weighing 1.2kg (2.6 lbs) it could walk, kick, and dance using a remote controller. However, it required a steel platform (included with the robot) to stand upright, having adopted the electromagnetic suction method of the Robofie. Volks originally sold the Robofie as a build-it-yourself hobby kit for approximately $1,800 USD, but it is no longer listed on their website.
Although it certainly looks like one of his robots, Nex Boy is not listed in Takahashi’s portfolio (ROBO-GARAGE), which leads me to believe this was an unsanctioned modification of his design (Volks had previously produced an exoskeleton kit for the Robofie based on the NEON, so they had the molds). And had Takahashi worked with a brand as powerful as Pepsi I’m sure it would be listed on his site. One has to guess this betrayal soured his relationship with Volks.
The contest (which has long since ended) gave away twenty-one of the robots in total, along with 2,000 articulated Nex Boy-shaped 1GB USB memory sticks, 500 iPods with Nex Boy-shaped docks (with speakers built into his feet), and other giveaways. You can watch a television commercial advertising the contest and more photos of the prizes after the break.
Suntory | Recycle Shop