Thursday, November 26, 2009

Tokyo International Robot Exhibition

FORGET the Transformers and Astroboy: Japan's latest robots don't save the world - they cook snacks, play with your kids, model clothes, and search for disaster victims. In a nation that takes its humanoids seriously, the International Robot Exhibition kicked off this week, showing off the latest whirring and buzzing inventions from 192 companies and 64 organisations from at home and abroad.State-of-the-art robots from home and abroad are on display at the International Robot Exhibition 2009 that started at the Tokyo Big Sight in Tokyo's Ariake district on Wednesday. A variety of unique robots with new technologies, such as a housekeeping robot and a robot suit that enhances the physical ability of the user, are especially drawing visitors' attention. The 'Muscle Suit' developed by the Tokyo University of Science's Kobayashi laboratory caught many visitors by surprise when a demonstrator in the suit lifted a 50-kilogram bag of rice with ease. Its artificial rubber muscle can be contracted and relaxed using air pressure. As it allows humans to lift heavy things easily, the technology is expected to be helpful in assisting the physically disabled and the aged, or reducing the physical burden on factory workers engaged in heavy labor.

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