Japan will be presenting a unique gift for the energy ministers attending the Group of Eight (plus India, China and South Korea) summit in Aomori - a special edition of Takara Tomy's "i-Sobot".
The i-Sobot, introduced in October of 2007 by Japanese toy & electronics maker Takara Tomy, is on the cutting edge of Japanese robotic technology and has been recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as "the world's smallest mass-produced humanoid."
The 6-inch tall i-Sobot packs a lot into its small dimensions, including the ability to make 200 different physical movements, respond to verbal commands from its owner, and speak 180 words... presumably those include "Hasta la vista, baby" and "I'll be back". Priced at a reasonable $285 each, Takara Tomy has sold 20,000 i-Sobots in Japan and a further 26,000 to overseas buyers.
According to Takara Tomy spokeswoman Mei Kudo, "We think this (i-Sobot) represents the unique Japanese culture of cartoons and animated films that consider robots to be a 'buddy.'"
Japan's Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Akira Amari agrees, saying "With this, you won't forget about me." Plans are to present a special English-speaking edition of the i-Sobot to each of the 11 attending energy ministers after the summit's closing dinner.
Canada's Gary Lunn and a special edition i-Sobot
Energy Ministers who stopped by Takara Tomy's info booth to check out the i-Sobot left suitably impressed. "With this on my desk... as I solve government problems, I'll use the i-Sobot," said Gary Lunn, Canada's Natural Resources Minister. It's hoped that i-Sobot won't be relaying all the classified info on Lunn's desk back to his handlers in Tokyo. Nah, that kinda stuff only happens in old spy movies, right?... right??
"Bite my shiny metal... er... Hi there!"
Takara Tomy's Mei Kudo sought to put a light-hearted spin on the i-Sobot's skills, saying, "Rather than being a machine showcasing cool technology, it is a comical character that lies down and scratches its bottom." Sure Mei... and with the other hand it can bring down Sarah Connor with one shot at 50 yards. (via AFP)