Robots for Elderly Draw Crowds at iRex
We can all look forward to growing old with buckets of bolts that will watch over us, assist us, and maybe even entertain us. That's the message at the International Robot Exhibition (iRex), a trade show here highlighting elderly care along with the latest developments in factory automation. Marking its 20th year, iRex drew 334 companies and groups, its largest showing ever, with 100,000 visitors expected. While there were no knockout exhibits, the biennial state-backed exhibit was notably more peppy than previous editions overshadowed by the global financial crisis. iRex has grown in its offerings, from a strong focus on industrial robots to exhibits that take in everything from Toyota Partner Robots with pliable joints to Fanuc food robots that help make traditional bento boxed meals. Major industry player Kawasaki showed off its gorgeous seven-jointed, stainless steel MSR arm for drug preparation, while startups also jostled for position in the medical and caregiving space.