Aibo, Walkman, Transformers, and Paro the baby robot seal in Japan tech hall of fame

An exhibition in Osaka displays some of Japan's most successful technology products

An original Aibo, Sony's pet robot dog, on display as part of an exhibition of Japan's top technology products.

An original Aibo, Sony's pet robot dog, on display as part of an exhibition of Japan's top technology products.

An exhibition in Osaka, central Japan, has assembled a hall of fame for Japanese tech products, with hits including Sony's Walkman and Aibo, an original Tranformer toy, and Paro the baby seal robot on display.

The "First in the World" exhibition, organized by a local trade group, a museum and a university, aims to capture the glory days of Japanese manufacturers. Sony's Walkman, its wildly successful portable tape player, is on prominent display, with a description of how the company was unsure anyone would want a device that couldn't record.

(Click here to see a video of some of the exhibits on YouTube.)

An original version of Sony's Aibo, the robotic dog that went for around US$2,500 when it launched in 1999 but still sold out its initial run of 3,000 units in 20 minutes, sits quietly behind a plexiglass partition. Aibo was discontinued in 2006 as part of Sony's restructuring despite its culture status. At the time 100 company employees held a mock funeral for it.

Another robot hit is Paro, the baby seal. It looks like a fluffy white stuffed animal but responds to sounds and being petted, blinking its large black eyes and squirming in digital glee. Paro was first developed in 2001 as a concept design, but immediately captured hearts and went on sale three years later, eventually becoming the first widely used therapeutic robot.

Other exhibits include Sharp's original LED calculator from 1973, an early version of the electric rice cooker, and a robot that rapidly pumps out the nuggets of rice used to make sushi. An original Transformer from toymaker Tomy is also presented in various stages of converting from a battle robot to a truck.

The exhibition has a bittersweet feeling, however, as many of the manufacturers that are featured, including Sony, Sharp and Panasonic, are now struggling to reform their businesses and stay afloat. It runs through September.

Join the newsletter!

Or
Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags sonysharppopular scienceconsumer electronicsPanasonic

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jay Alabaster

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Mobile

Victorinox Werks Professional Executive 17 Laptop Case

Learn more >

Exec

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?