Technology at Hyper Japan

It’s disgraceful, I know, but I actually still haven’t finished writing up all my posts about Hyper Japan, which happened in London in July. Anyway, here’s a brief post about technology at Hyper Japan…

I love technology, but I’m certainly no expert. I just think technology is cool. I like the idea of computer games, but I stopped playing them after I graduated university. I play with blogs and computers, but I don’t have enough knowledge to really do anything. So, I’m not going to talk at length about all the wonderful computer games that were on display at Hyper Japan (although there were many). All I’m going to talk about is robots.

When you think of technology and Japan, I’m sure “robots” come to mind. Japanese robotic technology is probably the best in the world, and the most famous.

At Hyper Japan, I was lucky enough to see a talk by ITK (a company consisting of members of Research and Development from Iwata Machinery Works Ltd), which included an exclusive showing of “Handroid“.

Hyper Japan, Friday 22nd July 2011

With the aid of kids from the audience, ITK demonstrated how the Handroid can be operated remotely using a special glove.

Hyper Japan, Friday 22nd July 2011

Myoelectric prosthetic hands work by picking up on myoelectric signals, which are the electrical impulses that control the contraction of muscle fibres in our body. Prosthetic devices detect these signals via electrodes placed on the skin. Output voltage picked up by electrodes is processed through an amplifier, which enhances the current to a level whereby it can control electromechanical devices, like this ITK “Robot Hand”.” (Hyper Japan)

Hyper Japan, Friday 22nd July 2011

When I visited the ITK stand and chatted to Shintaro Iwata and Kenji Sakai, they also showed me their Mechanical Walking Stick (“The Shinsuke“).

Japan has a rapidly aging society, caused by the post-war baby boomer generation moving into retirement and a simultaneous decline in the birth rate (it’s a phenomenon that we’ll hear more about in the UK as time goes on, since we’re heading the same way). This means that there is strong demand for items which can help to make life easier for older people, like this world-first mechanical walking stick, the height of which can be adjusted at the touch of a button, making it much easier to walk up and down stairs, and sit down and stand up.” (Hyper Japan)

Robots: not only cool, but useful, too! 😉

ITK’s other designs include the Electric Weed Buster, ITK-DPF (Digital Photo Frame), and the ITK Wheel Adapter. You can read more about ITK on the ITK website.

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