Do you sometimes wonder whatever happened to the ‘society of leisure’ that people have long predicted? Tired of backbreaking and tedious chores that your robotic vacuum cleaner or lawnmower simply can’t handle? Perhaps Japanese robotics has the answer!
Mixing business with pleasure
Since as far back as the Edo period (1603-1867), the Japanese have held a fascination for mechanized dolls. Unable to use the mechanical clocks introduced by the Europeans, (in Japan the length of an hour varied with the seasons) they adapted clockwork mechanisms to create karakuri ningyo. These precision mechanized dolls could serve tea, perform calligraphy, or even play a musical instrument!
This marked the beginning of a long journey that would eventually see Japan become a world leader in robotics. From mechanized dolls (the karakuri ningyo) to robotic priestesses, the Land of the Rising Sun has never given up its quest to accurately mimic human intelligence and movement. This relentless pursuit led to the creation of ASIMO, the world’s most advanced humanoid robot.
Designed to be a helper to people, ASIMO is just 1.30 m tall and weighs 54 kg. The two-legged robot can walk, run, dance… and even climb stairs! It can detect stationary and moving objects, and recognize faces. Someday, ASIMO will be a helper to people with limited mobility.
All of these qualities make ASIMO a robot in high demand. It travels the world over and will soon make a stop at the Canadian Museum of Civilization to launch a special exhibition…
Made in Japan
Japan has been very much in the headlines since the terrible series of disasters that beset the island last March. Some good news at last: starting May 20, 2011, the Museum will pay tribute to the incredible resilience of the Japanese people as it presents the fascinating exhibition, JAPAN: Tradition. Innovation.
By carefully juxtaposing artifacts from two of Japan’s major creative periods – the Edo period (1603-1867) and the contemporary period (1945-2011) – the exhibition will highlight the cultural and technological richness of the Land of the Rising Sun. The five major themes explored – travel, automation, social status, consumer culture and entertainment – will shed light on Japan’s unique ability to maintain its deeply-rooted traditions as it stretches the very limits of modernity.
The spectacular exhibition, created with the assistance of the National Museum of Japanese History in Sakura, Japan and the Embassy of Japan in Canada, will be presented at the Canadian Museum of Civilization from May 20 to October 10, 2011.
ASIMO will be present to launch the affair: from May 20 to May 22 only, the humanoid robot will show off its impressive range of skills. This is an event not to be missed!
The Canadian Museum of Civilization wishes to thank the following sponsors of and donors to JAPAN: Tradition. Innovation.: Presenting Sponsor Subaru Canada, Inc; Supporting Sponsor Anritsu Electronics Ltd.; Opening Sponsor Honda Canada, Inc.; the Commemorative Organization for The Japan World Exposition ’70; the Japan Foundation; the Toshiba International Foundation; and in-kind sponsor PARO Robots U.S., Inc.