Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Irix 2007

Sorry this took a while... Work has been keeping me pretty busy last few days and to top it off it has been getting (well I should not be saying this since I lived in Pittsburgh for 10 years but..) cold. It is amazing how one gets so lazy trying to cozy up against a heater...

Ok so where was I... ah yes - IRIX 2007. The basic layout of the exhibition was defined by 3 seperate areas dedicated to working robots, software, and entertainment robots. The whole place was very crowded even though it was the last few hours of the last day (though granted, it was the first weekend day for the duration of the conference). The entrance fee was pretty reasonable too (1000円, less than $10) and for people who pre-registered it was free which is great. I had an invitation through Secom which saved me the trouble of having to pre-register ;)

The industrial robots ranged from robots doing heavy lifting (one was lifting this huge pane of glass) to repetitive tasks like picking up and arranging boxes to welding robots. Pretty much all of the booths had demos which was fun to watch. Granted, this was not the reason why I went to this exhibition but it still ate up a bunch of my time. One funny thing to note here is that some of these robots had little cute heads even though their faces were just made up of static plastic pieces. I guess the idea was to make them look more like "fun" robots no matter how dull their tasks would be. There was even a music/drum show (with a Chinese dragon no less) by some industrial robots as well.

But of course I was there for the "entertainment" robots. These guys ranged from just plain cute (and not very functional) to purely functional (and not really that cute). The first category included a Hello Kitty robot (that did not move at all but had flashing lights in its cheeks and tried to carry on a simple conversation with you which of course is impossible in that loud environment anyway), a huge robot that looked like an enormous june bug and my favorite, Paro, which is a soft and cuddly seal that does move a little bit and blink its eyes as you pet it (btw, they call Paro a Mental Committment Robot). The second category included lots of build-it-yourself kinda robots that could do one hand pushups, run around and even do cartwheels in the case of one. I think the pictures tell the story the best so I am including those below. Enjoy :)

1 comment:

Betty said...

Awww... Paro is so cute complete with long eyelashes. It's really smart of them to make Paro a seal so people don't expect it to walk or move a lot. I don't think Paro would be as mentally therapeutic if it were a humanoid or dog or cat robot because people won't find it as realistic unless the robot is capable of a lot more movement than now as a seal.