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Campus Now

Midsummer Issue (Jul.)


Displaying research results to society

The growth of Waseda robots

"RT Frontier" is opened by the Global COE "Global Robot Academia"

A peace sign made by EYE, a robot capable of emotional expression

On May 21st, the "RT (Robot Technology) Frontier" center was opened in order to facilitate contact between members of the community and robots developed by Waseda University, which boasts world-leading robot research. The center was held established close to the Nishi-Waseda Campus and acts as a base for the research activities of the Global Robot Academia, which holds the "coexistence of RT and people" as one of its objective. The center provides an opportunity for ordinary people to actually come into contact with robots designed to support the elderly and robots for supporting rehabilitation. Data is also acquired from these incidents of contact and applied to the research and development of robots for supporting self-reliance.

COSMAR machine for walking support

At the opening ceremony, the following statement was made by Mr. Masakatsu Fujie, Director of the Center and Professor in the Faculty of Science and Engineering: "It is difficult to determine how robots should fit into the lifestyle of people. I hope that many people can visit the center as casually as they are visiting a book store, and that they can experience contact with robots. I look forward to receiving the frank opinions of our visitors."

Ninomiya, the book-reading robot

The form of the robot is like Kinjiro Ninomiya carry firewood on his back and reading a book

Ninomiya was developed by Professor Seiichiro Kamata (Kitakyushu Campus, Graduate School of Information Production, and Systems) as part of an international cooperative project which included participation from Assistant Professor Yukiharu Yamauchi (Kitakyushu National College of Technology), Professor Zhao Qunfei (Shanghai Jiao Tong University) and Professor Zhu Jie (Shanghai Jiao Tong University). Ninomiya was born from Professor Kamata's desire to create a robot that reads to people with emotion in its voice. He seeks to create a robot that does not speak in a mechanical voice, but rather can read like a child and can read soft and gently. Since Ninomiya is designed as being in the early years of elementary school, the robot does not possess a rich expressiveness. However, Professor Kamata is seeking to have the robot read to children in libraries and read to the elderly in nursing home facilities.

A public demonstration of Ninomiya was held on June 11th at the Kitakyushu Fair for Matching Robots & Industry.