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Highlights From the International Robot Exhibition 2013

Check out some of the coolest things we saw at IREX 2013

2 min read
Highlights From the International Robot Exhibition 2013

The theme for this year's International Robot Exhibition (IREX) in Tokyo was "Making a Future with Robot." We're not exactly sure what that means, but we're definitely in favor of it, and here are some of the coolest things that we saw.

There's one caveat with our IREX coverage, and that's the fact that there was a bit of a language barrier going on most of the time. With the exception of some big international robotics companies, there simply wasn't a lot of information available on many of the robots that we saw. We're following up as best we can, but in the meantime, enjoy this highlight video and gallery that we've put together for you.



Fanuc's gigantic M-2000iA robot arm, which can lift 1,200 kilograms.


KUKA, meanwhile, was busy doing something else.


Need a car assembled on the show floor? Kawasaki's got it covered.


Robot arms don't get much more blinged out that being entirely chrome-plated.


High-speed dice sorting.


This robot has been set up to autonomously (and flawlessly) decorate nails.


Pig robot?


Cup Noodles on the attack.


Toyota giving a demo of their Human Support Robot.


Japan gets kids started early on powered exoskeletons.


Beautiful linkages in a robot hand.


Toyota's master/slave robot arm system.


HiBot's aquatic robotic snake frolicking in its own swimming pool.


Robotis' gigantic walking humanoid robot, grown out of their high-end hobby servos.


DARWINs dancing in traditional Korean outfits.


Everybody loves Paro. Everybody.

[ IREX 2013 ]

The Conversation (0)

The Bionic-Hand Arms Race

The prosthetics industry is too focused on high-tech limbs that are complicated, costly, and often impractical

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A photograph of a young woman with brown eyes and neck length hair dyed rose gold sits at a white table. In one hand she holds a carbon fiber robotic arm and hand. Her other arm ends near her elbow. Her short sleeve shirt has a pattern on it of illustrated hands.

The author, Britt Young, holding her Ottobock bebionic bionic arm.

Gabriela Hasbun. Makeup: Maria Nguyen for MAC cosmetics; Hair: Joan Laqui for Living Proof

In Jules Verne’s 1865 novel From the Earth to the Moon, members of the fictitious Baltimore Gun Club, all disabled Civil War veterans, restlessly search for a new enemy to conquer. They had spent the war innovating new, deadlier weaponry. By the war’s end, with “not quite one arm between four persons, and exactly two legs between six,” these self-taught amputee-weaponsmiths decide to repurpose their skills toward a new projectile: a rocket ship.

The story of the Baltimore Gun Club propelling themselves to the moon is about the extraordinary masculine power of the veteran, who doesn’t simply “overcome” his disability; he derives power and ambition from it. Their “crutches, wooden legs, artificial arms, steel hooks, caoutchouc [rubber] jaws, silver craniums [and] platinum noses” don’t play leading roles in their personalities—they are merely tools on their bodies. These piecemeal men are unlikely crusaders of invention with an even more unlikely mission. And yet who better to design the next great leap in technology than men remade by technology themselves?

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