industrial robots
Cranking out widgets in search of meaning...

Robot Week 2018

We found out about Robot Week after booking our trip, and at around $10 to attend, it was a no-brainer so we made the trek out to Tokyo Big Sight.

Exterior of Tokyo Big Sighta sign for multiple events in japanese, with Japan Robot Week 2018 in English

There were lots of robot kits and parts but they were not cheap by any means.

a man uses a smartphone behind a counter of small robots and pamphletsa counter with a Kondo logo banner displaying small robot parts such as arms and legs

A few humanoid robots were there, but mostly for show, along with the often-promoted ping-pong playing armature.

a person interviews a humanoid robot on a small stagea robot arm attached to a frame plays ping pong against a human

There were some smaller scale robots and vision systems, mostly for sorting and packaging.

a robot arm sorts coffee mugs from one bin into another near a sign that reads D-Visiona robot without legs is mounted on a counter with the logo for Asrof glory robot solution.  A screen behind it shows its camera view of small objects.

Specialized parts manufacturers were there too, with a variety of hands and other accessories.

a blue robot hand on a stand makes a peace signa counter of robot hands of various metallic colours with pamphlets for D-Hand and D-Vision

It was great to see some accessibility oriented products like exosuits for lifting, or products geared toward gait assistance.

a man lifts a yellow plastic bin with assistance from an exoskeleton worn like a backpacka poster depicts a woman's body walking in high heeled shoes with a brace around her waist and one of her legs, below the knee.  Text reads Acsive non-powered gait assist suit

Surprisingly, there were quite a few toys in addition to some weird jokey robots.

several Charpy toy robot birds with their boxes and some smartphones.  one toy is dressed as a jack-o-lantern and another is dressed as a witch for halloweenseveral red robots consisting of a sphere on a base with comical eyes and lips with hands above their heads that clap

We had seen the Pepper robot at the airport already, so it was nice to see some other serving and concierge focused models here.

a waist high robot similar to a roomba supports a tray of bottled drinks near a Slamtec logotwo humanoid robots with led faces.  one holds a tray of small cakes and the other has a screen on the front

The highlight of the show was definitely getting to try out a telepresence robot. Putting on a VR headset gives you access to the robot’s camera view and I was handed a rake to manicure a small Japanese garden setup they had using my robot hands.

Earl seated with a vr headset on and his hands gripping controllers connected to a frame with arms to limit movementa japanese man hands a robot a rake near some sand and plants.  Earl is in the background using the vr system.

The last thing we saw before leaving was Qoobo, the snuggly robot companion that wags its tail when you pet it.

a disc covered in fur-like fabric with a tail on a table with a woman's hands grasping it alongside a pamphlet that reads Qoobo

We also took time to have a lunch break. McDonald’s had a new Ebi Filet-o sandwich which is like a McChicken, but made with shrimp, and sweet potato milkshakes, which were both good. I also had some Qoo to drink since I can’t resist it.

a tray of McDonald's food items  the word Ebi is visible on a sandwich wrapper and there are two drinks and an order of french fries