Our friend Dr. Daniel Schroeder is currently spending some time in Tokyo, and he took some time out of his busy schedule to stop in at the RT Corporation robot shop to say hi to the folks there and take a few pictures of robots in their natural habitat. Unfortunately, he's a globe-trotting adventurer, and not a roboticist, so he couldn't offer much insight on what he was photographing. Nevertheless, he sent us some nice pictures, which I've arranged below for your viewing pleasure.
Here's a fine pile of humanoids. From left to right in the shelves, you've got a Manoi AT01 (unpainted), a Kondo KHR-1 with some wicked looking grippers, a KHR-1 with aftermarket chest plate, and a couple of KHR-2HV's. Also a few more 2HV's on the floor, a nice little white i-SOBOT, and R2-D2. If someone can tell me which one of the myriad R2-D2's that is (Hasbro maybe?), I'd appreciate it [Editor's note: Confirmed! This is Hasbro's "Star Wars R2-D2 Interactive Astromech Droid." We sell this thing now!] Also worth noting is the VariBo humanoid barely visible at the left side of the top shelf. Manoi PF01's knees are also up there at the top right of the pic.
They carry the whole line of Kondo replacement parts, including servos and various colored brackets for the 2HV. We're jealous. They don't seem to have any KHR-1HV's in the store though. Take that, RT!
Here's some RC helicopter stuff. Interesting, but not really what we came here for.
The back room contains a Micromouse maze and a 3-meter dash track.
JR has been making the RB1000 and RB2000 for a year or so now, and they're some cool bots. I like the RB2000 because it's fast, agile, and affordable (about $750). They're tough to market in this country though, due to the lack of any info in English.
More JR stuff here.
This is "Choromaru." This neat little walker is a flexible, programmable, and expandable platform. The stumpy little legs are 2 d.o.f., and its brain is an Akizuki Electronics AKI-H8 development board.
Next to Choromaru, we have the "Pi:Co" micromouse.
You gotta love Bioloid. Kondo's toddler and arm are also shown.
Describing our proficiency with the Japanese language as "insufficient" would be generous. Luckily, we already know a lot about Robonova.
Tokyo is like the Valhalla of hobby robotics. Keep in mind, this is just a few pictures of one robot shop, and represents only a fraction of what's available out there. We're always impressed with how fast the robotics community is growing in the U.S., but it's clear that we have a long way to go. If you see anything in these pictures that piques your curiosity, or anything you'd like to see in our catalog, let us know! We love to get suggestions from the community. Email us, or drop us a line in the forums.