Japan looks at everyday use of robots

TOKYO, Nov 29, 2007 (AFP) – Japan, which has taken the lead in developing a generation of high-tech if quirky robots, is now getting down to reality by looking at what humanoids can actually do for people. Some 200 companies and more than 50 organisations from Japan and abroad are taking part in the 2007 International Robot Exhibition in Tokyo, one of the world’s largest robot shows.

At the last event two years ago, Japanese companies displayed their state-of-the-art inventions ranging from a two-legged trumpet player to a robot receptionist, which both starred at the World Exposition in central Aichi.

In contrast to the extravagant showcase in 2005, the four-day exhibition which opened Wednesday features a number of robots designed to be used in everyday life.

“Two years after the Expo, which showed the future of life with robots, it’s time to see how we can use robots,” said Shoichi Hamada, a senior official at the Japan Robot Association, one of the organisers of this week’s event.

“Now practical application of robots is in sight,” Hamada told AFP. “Many companies here are in a position to let people see what the robots can actually do at this stage of technology.”

While many of