This article about Ohmni Robo is an English translation of an article written in Japanese by Julie Fukuhara which appeared in the Huffington Post.
ISO Research Institute Co., Ltd., (ISOKEN) which consults companies on how to meet international ISO standards, exhibited the “OHMNI ROBO” at their booth during the 2019 International Robot Exhibition held in Tokyo on December 18th, 2019.
This exhibition is in its 23rd year and is the world’s largest robot specialty exhibition with more than 130,000 visitors and approximately 10,000 overseas visitors from 82 countries.
Why did ISOKEN enter the robot business when consulting on ISO compliance is its main line of business? We spoke with Tomoaki Yamaguchi, the company’s CEO who brought Ohmni Robo to Japan two years ago.
ISO is an abbreviation for “International Organization for Standardization,” a non-governmental organization headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. In order to facilitate international transactions, the organization established ISO standards for organizational structure and the quality of products and services. With ISO certification, companies can gain international trust.
Supporting the acquisition and operation of this ISO standard is the main business of ISOKEN.
Mr. Yamaguchi, who participated in the Silicon Valley inspection tour for the second consecutive year, was convinced that “the robot business will become larger and robots will change our lives.”
He said, “It’s an opportunity to take on a new line of business and introduce Ohmni Robo to the Japanese market.” He returned to Japan with the impression that the Ohmni robot was easy to customize and adapted to any person’s life.
A key feature of Ohmni Robo is that it is manufactured using 3D printing. As a result, building a robot does not require a mold that takes more than half a year to fabricate and use. So time and cost are reduced, and it’s easier to customize it if necessary. In addition, it can be easily operated from a smartphone or PC, and its functions can be expanded by adding apps.
“When you show your Ohmni Robo to others, you’ll be asked what you’re doing, but it’s difficult to describe in a single word,” says Yamaguchi. There are other companies in Japan that use Ohmni Robo, but their uses are quite diverse. Another key feature is that it can be fully utilized and enjoyed by not only by businesses but also by individuals.
Some people may have had a robot greet them at a building reception. Ohmni Robo has already been used in such situations, but there are many ways to take advantage of its customizable features.
For example, a professional soccer team can use the robot as a guide in their venue, while another Ohmni Robo can be set up in the locker room or on benches during matches so that supporters can enjoy the match as if they were part of the team.
In addition, one user introduced Ohmni Robo to a remote home while he was away. Even when he’s not there, he communicates with his elderly father every day. While many robots specialize in something, Ohmni Robot can be customized both in hardware and software, so it evolves more and more according to the user’s needs.
Currently, Ohmni Robo is used mostly by companies, but in the future, it is aiming for one per family. Yamaguchi says, “25 years ago, homes with personal computers were very rare, and many people asked me what a computer could do. Over time, it was a problem if someone didn’t own one. Similarly, it was only a few years from the appearance of a smartphone to its widespread use. I feel there is a possibility that such an age will come about for robots soon.”
In fact, IoT has advanced dramatically and the number of households using robot cleaners and smart speakers is increasing. “If you are using a home appliance, is it just like a member of your family? Do you name it and talk to it? Robots are expensive and have the image of being difficult to operate. But Ohmni Robo is familiar and easy-to-understand.”
“Japan is truly a ‘manufacturing powerhouse’ with the world’s top technological and productive capabilities. However, there are many cases where global competition cannot win.
Products made in Japan, including industrial products such as home appliances and automobiles, are full of cutting-edge functions and look beautiful. “Everything doesn’t have to be sophisticated. Some people like cars, while others just need it as a means of transportation. It will become even more important in the future to meet these needs. “
Finally, when asked about what Ohmni Robo will bring in the future, Yamaguchi replied: “The main goal is to create a society in which homes and individuals have robots like personal computers and smartphones. You, too, can also experience this kind of enjoyment. Plus, there are still many other ways to use robots that we don’t know or can’t imagine right now.”