Top 9 wackiest, strangest and coolest robots and concepts at iREX 2013

The largest robot trade show on the planet is busting at the seams with robotic technology that boggles the mind.

The 2013 International Robot Exhibition is in full swing here in Tokyo, Japan, and although there’s some serious business to be had both at ABB’s booth and at some of the supporting events, the show is also well-known as THE place to see some of the wackiest, strangest and just plain coolest robots on the planet.

Come along with us as we count down the most intriguing:

(1) Nao

It can dance Gangnam Style. Plus about 10,000 other things. Pretty much that is all.


(2) Robotic Water Snake

In some far off dystopian fantasy world where robots are hunting humans for sport, this could be your worst nightmare.


(3) Robotics Kits

Scattered throughout the exhibition, these kinds of robotics kits are straight from a schoolkid’s dreams. Build it yourself and impress your friends I say.


(4) Elderly Care Robot

It’s a nondescript beige box on wheels, but don’t let the boring exterior fool you. There’s a lot going on in there–quite literally. I could say more, but really there are no other words required to accompany the pictures below.


(5) HiRobo HX-1

A search and rescue bad boy robotic helicopter. It can even transport a human being if outfitted with a gurney or deliver live human organs to a battlefield surgery center. Plus, it just looks cool.


(6) Cuddle Seal Robot

If the robotic water snake above is your worst nightmare from dystopia, this is a utopian hallucinogenic blessing. There are actually dozens of these kinds of robotic companions on display at the show, but this one was the cutest. I mean, it’s almost so cute that you can sense the aura of fluffiness coming off this thing. These kinds of devices have already been proven to work effectively in lessening the symptoms of adult dementia and helping children overcome fears.


(7) Winglet Personal Mobility Robot

Okay, so the Segway already tread this ground years ago, sure. But this is far less intrusive and doesn’t have any geeky looking handlebars.


(8) Cyberdyne Exoskeleton

There are a smattering of these types of assistant exoskeleton devices all around the exhibition hall. But this one stood out, if only because it seems to be made by the company that destroyed the world with Skynet in the Terminator series. Even with the scary association, this exoskeleton is part of Japanese initiative to help humans operate and survive during events like the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor crisis.


(9) Dual Arm Concept Robot

Yes, it is an ABB concept, but given the fact that people were stacked 3-4 deep around this guy at all hours of the day for 3 days straight we feel justified in putting on the list. The future of small parts assembly demands new robotics solutions and future products from ABB created using our experiences with the Dual Arm Concept will work side-by-side with humans on assembly lines. It’s really rather groundbreaking stuff.

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About the author

Nicole Salas

I'm the Events Manager for ABB Robotics globally. I joined ABB in 2007, working for corporate communications in the United States before joining Robotics in 2013. I began my career as a journalist in Caracas, Venezuela and have worked for United Rentals Inc. as well as several international public and investor relations agencies. Outside of the office, you will find me racing sailboats.
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