By >Daimaou - G.G-B
VStone Robot Store in Akihabara and Interview with Yamato-san, VStone CEO
VStone is one of the leading Japanese robot manufacturers, also of modules and robot parts, for recreational needs, study, and ultimately for business. Better known to the public for their Robovie and Vision Series, and lately for their amazing Black Ox or Tetsujin robot, V-Stone is the missing link between the Pleo and Asimo.
We had the chance of sitting with Yamato-san, co-founder and president of V-Stone, in his latest VStone Robot Center in Akihabara where he shared his view of robots in Japan.
One of VStone’s greatest achievement is of course offering amazing little robots, and drastically reducing the cost of many electronic parts and elements like the Beauto Chaser (follow the link for further information), which originally cost around 17,000 and now is around 4,000 Yen.
Buy reducing the cost of developing cheaper electronic parts, Yamato-san gave many the opportunity of jumping into the robot experience while bringing new people with new ideas and concepts into the market. Cheaper parts means many schools can now afford a robotic curriculum and will shape the next generation of robot engineers.
While most of us have memories of some amazing things accessible for all like Aibo, and dream of getting a Qrio like toy, while liking to see this happen, Yamato-san was more pragmatic.
Today most of us see robots as toys or companions, (Aibo, Pleo…) maybe a nurse for the elderly, or a security guard roaming buildings. But according to Yamato-san applications like these may not be the best direction for robots. Both Aibo and Pleo were complete failures in terms of business, while there are no questions about their technical marvels, cost and maintenance were their Achilles heel. Same applies to nurse robots which cost a lot for a very limited use.
Yamato-san doesn’t see much of a future in these kinds of products. Too expensive, limited use, and only mimicking what humans do faster and cheaper while human interaction cannot so far be replaced. After all, taking care of a patient isn’t like welding a car. Yes a robot can do it, but what about the emotional bond between a soulless technological wonder and a patient?
Does this mean robots have no future in our world? Hell no! Yamato-san firmly believes robots will be a huge part of our future, but in order to succeed and be used everyday, they need to be a LOT cheaper and provide services that humans can not, like going where no human can go. Deep-space and deep-sea explorations are just the tip of the iceberg of what robots can do.
Today’s robots are the result of our limited perception of what they should do, rather than what they should be. Robots can do awesome things but there’s a long road ahead, so just keep on thinking guys, coz robots are here to stay and will one day kick ass (not literally I hope).
If you’re interested in robots and want to know what’s available today in Japan, please visit the VStone store in Akihabara. You’ll find many great creations, as well as toys to educate yourself and the younger generation.
As you can see in the video we made for you, robots are already pretty amazing!