Vol.2 New approaches for
media communication robots

Reo Matsumura
Robotics researcher at ATR Ltd. (Advanced Telecommunications Research International)

Masatoshi Takeda
President of crossEffect Ltd., CEO of Kyoto Shisaku Net

On discovering Kyoto Shisaku Net

Robotics researcher at ATR Ltd. (Advanced Telecommunications Research International) Reo Matsumura

Robotics researcher at ATR Ltd. (Advanced Telecommunications Research International)

Reo Matsumura

Matsumura(ATR):
I first became acquainted with Kyoto Shisaku Net 7 years ago, prior to my position with ATR, when I was working for a startup. At the time I was also developing small robots for hobby and research. One project in particular, a toy character robot [called Tachikoma for the anime 'Ghost in the Shell'], required a specific synthetic resin mold. In searching for companies specializing in resin production, I was introduced to Kyoto Shisaku Net member-company crossEffect. Now that I'm continuing work in robot development with ATR, all of our resin molds are provided by crossEffect.

Takeda(Kyoto Shisaku Net/crossEffect):
Our first experience in robotics was with FT Communications' robot designer Tomotaka Takahashi.

Matsumura:
I've also had the pleasure of working with Mr. Takahashi. The two of us often collaborate with crossEffect in implementing the designs. I finally connected with Mr. Takeda working on the aforementioned Ghost in the Shell promotion robot. That's how I began working with crossEffect--to design the exteriors of small robots. In 2004, my company, and several others formed a consortium called TeamOSAKA. crossEffect assisted us in developing a soccer robot in 2007. By 2008 we were formally working together. I'm lucky to have been given the privilege of working together with a company who won the BestHumanoidAward at the RoboCup in 2007.

Takeda:
That's right. It was in 2007 through TeamOSAKA that we first worked formally together.

Shared Impressions of a Business Partnership

President of crossEffect Ltd., CEO of Kyoto Shisaku Net Masatoshi Takeda

President of crossEffect Ltd., CEO of Kyoto Shisaku Net

Masatoshi Takeda

Matsumura:
One field of our company's work is developing communication robots. We develop large life-size robots, but--when looking at cost effectiveness and actual utility--we found a need to work on small robots. For the 'Robovie-mR2,' a small multi-use robot we designed in partnership with crossEffect, we considered personal characteristics of the robot, like cuteness and warmth. Compared to robots of this type developed in the past, we've decided to focus on improving the aesthetics of the design, things like the contour and curvature of the exterior. That's when we consult with crossEffect, and Mr. Takeda tells us how to realize our design goals.

Takeda:
Mr. Matsumura is known for preparing really detailed data about each project he proposes. This initial stage is the most difficult and time-consuming part of development. Everyone at our company talks a lot about how hard Mr. Matsumura must be working. We wonder when he finds the time to sleep. For us at crossEffect, there are a lot of details to consider at this stage of development, even deciding on the coating process takes a lot of time. For example, developing the soccer robot, we had to consider that it would often be falling over, and had to use materials that were particularly strong.

Matsumura:
The advice that crossEffect provides is really helpful. For example, going into a meeting with crossEffect, they provide a physical sense of what kind of materials will be used and the feel of each part. While a simple oral meeting is possible, crossEffect provides something much more physical. I think this level of service is really quite difficult to adhere. When I say "I want to do something like this," they say "Like this right?" and bring the material over to examine. So many meetings with other companies are 'just meetings,' and so this aspect of crossEffect is really invaluable.

Takeda:
ATR are tackling projects and doing research on the leading edge of innovation, and so we at crossEffect are really privileged to be able to work together, and it gives our employees a lot of motivation. Developing the exteriors of the robots is also really rewarding. Our work get printed in catalogs and magazines, fliers and newspapers, and it gives our employees a lot of motivation.

New approaches for media communication robots