TOKYO--The Japan Robot Association kicked off the 19th International Robot Exhibition (iRex) in Tokyo yesterday with 292 companies and groups taking part. Despite the body blows to Japan's economy from the March 11 earthquake and tsunamis, robots were out in force at the show.
Known for its HRP series of humanoid robots, Kawada Industries was demoing its Nextage industrial robot with strong anthropomorphic lines. Sales of the 20 kg assembly-line droid, which has six-jointed arms as well as cameras in its eyes and hands, began recently. It's expected to use the same tools as humans while working in production cells.
This vacuuming robot from Subaru and Sumitomo is designed to clean high-rise buildings. It has obstacle sensors and a touch-panel control interface and can run for over two and a half hours on a charge. It's designed to clean in conjunction with human workers using backpack vacuums for relatively speedy, low-cost cleaning.
Major industrial robot maker Fanuc had a massive display at iRex 2011 with legions of its trademark yellow machines including the M-2000iA series heavy-duty payload lifter. Billed as the world's strongest robot, this monster can hoist up to 1,350 kg (nearly 3,000 pounds) and can be used to move car bodies around in assembly plants.
One of Japan's most famous androids, the HRP-4C Miim put in an appearance at iRex 2011, posing with a video of her bride routine. Developed by the state-backed National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), the 95-pound cyber-model is designed to promote the use of androids in the entertainment industry. New walking technology allows the bot to have a more humanlike gait.
Developed by Mayekawa Electric, the Hamdas R is designed to automatically bone legs of ham in no time flat, halving the number of human workers required to process 500 hams per hour. It won an award at least year's Robot Awards in Japan.