Meeting Award-Winning Founder of ROBO GARAGE Tomotaka Takahashi and his robots, Evolta and Robi

Because of the ‘New Arrivals From Japan’ Press Conference today, I got to meet Mr Tomotaka Takahashi, the founder and CEO of ROBO GARAGE. Mr Takahashi’s works have won him awards like the Coolest Inventions 2004 (TIME magazine), 33 Persons Changing The Future (Popular Science magazine), and the Guinness World Record for the longest distance covered by a battery-operated remote-controlled model car.

Mr Takahashi is also the Research Associate Professor of The University of Tokyo, Visiting Professor of Fukuyama University and Osaka Electro-Communication University.

Tomotaka Takahashi and Robi:

Tomotaka Takahashi and Robi

Robi can understand 200 Japanese words and has 20 joints which allow it to walk, dance and move. It can also get up from a sitting position, and sit itself back down again too!

One of his robots, Kirobo, was the first communication robot in space (Aug 2013)!

Tomotaka Takahashi and Kirobo

Evolta (17cm tall) did a 530m cliff climb at the Grand Canyon. It was powered by just 2 AA batteries during the climb which was for a Panasonic battery promotion video.

Demo of Evolta climbing up the rope:

Tomotaka Takahashi and Evolta

Here’s Evolta setting a world record:

Evolta climbing up the Grand Canyon:

Award-winning Robots:

Tomotaka Takahashi VisiON

Tomotaka Takahashi Louis Vuitton Cup

And here’s something very interesting: A ‘female’ robot

Tomotaka Takahashi female robot

He had been asked if he could create a Barbie-like robot. But he couldn’t as Barbie’s thin frame meant that there was not enough space for all the various parts required.

Tomotaka Takahashi

A Japanese magazine actually came with Robi parts every week so subscribers could build their own Robi after 70 issues! Each issue cost 1990 Japanese yen, or about US$25. The total cost was about US$1750 for subscribers to build Robi! Read more on gizmag. Takahashi-san told us that over 100,000 Robi units were sold in Japan, and next month, Robi will be available in Italy, and then Taiwan after. He also said that unlike robots portrayed in Hollywood movies, Japanese robots are usually “friends” and do not try to take over the world – think Doraemon.

*I have a Robi collectible and stickers for giveaway. Watch out for the blogpost coming soon! 😀