METI Announces Winners of Robot of the Year Award 2006

Dec 4, 2006
Motohiko Hamada, Nikkei Monozukuri

Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan (METI) has announced ten robots that won Robot of the Year Award 2006. In a bid to nurture Japanese robot industry into a new global frontrunner, METI is promoting the efforts to develop technologies and safety measures required to put robots into practical use. As a part of the efforts, the ministry has established the award to support innovations in Japan's robot technologies as well as to expand the use and markets.

Ten robots that have achieved outstanding performances this year and viewed as most likely to contribute to the creation of future markets or as most promising were awarded out of 152 candidates as a result of the fair and rigorous examination by the screening committee led by President Hirofumi Miura of Kogakuin University.

The grand award (Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Award) and the special award for small-to-medium sized company will be respectively given to an applicant selected from the 10 award winners. The results will be announced at the prize presentation ceremony slated for Thursday, December 21, where all the winners will be announced. Below is the list of prize-winning robots.

Service Robots:
- PARO; seal-type mental commitment robot (Intelligent System Co., Ltd., National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, and Microgenics)
- My Spoon; dining assistance robot (Secom Co., Ltd.)
- Building cleaning system using robot (Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. and Sumitomo Corp.)

Industrial Robots:
- MOTOMAN-DIA10; human symbiosis upper body robot / MOTOMAN-IA20; arm robot (Yaskawa Electric Corp.)
- High-speed vision robot system beyond human ability (Denso Corp.)

Public and Frontier Robots:
- Remote control construction robot (Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transportation Kyushu City and Regional Development Bureau Kyushu Engineering Office and Fujita Corp.)
- Urashima; deep sea cruising autonomous underwater vehicle (Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology)

Robots from Small-to-medium Sized Venture Company:
- URG Series; compact and light range finder for mobile robot (Hokuyo Automatic Co., Ltd.)
- KHR-2HV; bipedal robot kit (Kondo Kagaku Co., Ltd.)
- Hamade automatic squid fishing machine (Towa Denki Seisakusho Co., Ltd.)