Innovation That Matters

Robotic retailing


Opening next month in Nagoya, the Robot Mirai Department store will sell robots and robot accessories. The store is part of a complex that also houses Nagoya’s new Robot Museum, and its star product will be a 35 centimeter tall humanoid that goes by the name of Nuvo. Nuvo responds to voice commands, can be operated by remote controls and cellphones, and not only walks, but dances, too. Though heralded as the world’s first specialist robot shop, that’s probably stretching the truth a little. Speciality shops already exist in various cities in Japan and across the world (to name two: Robopolis in Paris and Robot Village in New York). But these are geared to robot hobbyists and mainly sell kits and technical manuals. To non-hobbyists, RMD’s high-tech look and ready-made products will no doubt more closely match their automaton fantasies. RMD was developed by Gyrowalk, an agency based in Osaka that handles ‘Media & Publishing, Sales & Marketing, Research & Development, Education & Entertainment Concerning the Future of Robots’. One of Gyrowalk’s previous initiatives is the Robo Cafe in Osaka, described as a futuristic space where everyone communicates with robots. Every robot in the cafe is for sale, and the high-tech gizmos are balanced by organic food and drinks. (Robo Cafe opened in October 2005.) Since robo-enthusiasts are hardly limited to Japan, Springwise believes every country could do with a robot department store. Or at least a robo-café. Time to grab your jetpacks and head over for a closer look.



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