Japan – The New Birthplace of Robots
From Toys to Tech, Why Japan is a Robot’s Number One
Japan is the country that gave the world giant robots, small robots and human sized robots. From the fictional Mobile Suit Gundam to the small tea-making robot maid, Japan’s robotics technology has been pushing the limits of our minds and imagination. Just this July 2009, Japan has unveiled a giant life sized model of the fictional robot RX-78-2 Gundam at Tokyo’s Odaiba park. This structure is not a robot, but is a model of one. This is a testament to the nation’s dedication and fondness for the field of robotics.
In recent years, automobile manufacturers Honda and Toyota have been in research and developing humanoid robots. Asimo, Honda’s robot, is more popularly known and has become the icon of robotics in this day and age. Asimo is able to carry items, walk, sprint a little and jump all while staying on its two feet. It is also equipped with sensors for detecting and identifying people, and has excellent control of its hands, allowing it to hold both fragile and heavy objects.
Day to Day Japanese Robots
Robots are not limited in shape and form to be similar to humans; many robots in use today are found in industrial factories, performing tasks inappropriate for humans such as doing precision laser welding, carrying heavy loads and even really boring tasks like moving a box from one platform to another.
Recently the utilization of these robotic arms and limbs has been moved outside the factory and into more unconventional locations. One such example is a noodle shop in Japan where the ramen is made by robots. Of course, taking orders and accepting payments are done by humans, the broth or ramen stock is also prepared by humans. The robot limbs ensure the ramen is cooked consistently and accurately, garnishes and toppings are accurately measured and added into the broth. They also prepare the ramen fast, in less than two minutes.
There are also robots being used to make coffee. The mini coffee-making robot maid is a small humanoid robot that stands a little below five inches. She has legs for movement and arms for grabbing objects. When all utensils and ingredients for making coffee are positioned in exact locations, the robot maid will scoop up the proper measurement of coffee, sugar and cream, pour hot water and stir the brew properly.
Of course, this only works if every single item it located at the proper area since the robot cannot easily detect items. Should this technology be perfected, we would eventually be able to enjoy the service of fully automated robot helpers.
Robots in Today’s Japan
Japan also has claim on many robot firsts. They have made a robot that has modeled on the catwalk. They also created a robot teacher who could teach class and recognize students. From tour guides, to receptionists, Japan is slowly creating robots that would perform many service oriented tasks. While robot may gain more and more usage, their presence is not meant to substitute that of humans. Robots are being developed to do our jobs so that we can spend more time focusing on living our lives.
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