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att. Japanese Culture - Robots - The Present and the Future
att. Culture - Robots - The Present and the Future
You are here: att.JAPAN > General Information > Robots - The Present and the Future
att.JAPAN Issue 36, September 2007

Robots - The Present and the Future

Astro Boy, Gundam, AIBO, ASIMO, etc. - What comes to mind when you hear the word "robots"?

The "Robot Awards 2006" ceremony, sponsored by the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry, as well as several other organizations, took place this past February, and the most active robots of 2006 were awarded. The winner of the first prize was an autonomous cleaning robot, already in use in a number of buildings, as it can operate the elevator, and also clean, moving from floor to floor. Other robots awarded prizes were also ones which had already been commercialized and are now being widely used.

Ika-tsuri RobotThe robots came in different shapes and sizes, and some of them did not resemble what most people would usually visualize when thinking of a "robot." One of these strangely shaped robots was the"Ika-tsuri Robot" (Robot for Squid-fishing), a simple looking device that winds the reel in. Though it seems like a humble piece of machinery, it is, in fact, a full-fledged authentic robot. Likewise, many other robots that were presented did not fit our images of a typical robot, but utilized a number of robot technologies. We are now living in the "Age of Robots" indeed.

The term "robot" was first coined in the science fiction play, Rossum's Universal Robots, by Karel Capek, a writer from the Czech Republic, to describe an android who worked on behalf of human beings. The concept originated from the word "robota," meaning "labor" in Czech. Since then, artificial human-like robots have been described and depicted in many stories and movies. In other words, the image of the robot, which was created in literature, was developed in our culture and spread throughout the society.

In the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, researchers study how mobile objects will develop in accordance with robot technologies in the future, and exhibit robots and operating devices that can easily be managed by anyone. These robots can adapt to different situations and can move around freely, coexisting with the environment.

Up until now, we have had to adjust our surroundings to accommodate developing technologies. However, in the future, an environmental and human friendly system capable of adapting to various situations will be desired. How will robot technology change, and what new things will robots create in the future? On the other hand, what do we, as humans, want to change and realize in the future, using robot technology? We can certainly look forward to many exciting innovations in this interesting and rapidly developing field.

You are here: att.JAPAN > General Information > Robots - The Present and the Future

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