Rocket Road is a one-of-a-kind apparel line aimed at robots of all shapes and sizes rather than humans. It intends to provide customisation possibilities while also seamlessly bridging the gap between humans and machines.
Rocket Road, a Japanese startup, announced the launch of its first assortment of functional protective cover gear for robotic arms last month. These ornamental and practical covers are available in over 40 different colours, can be constructed of dustproof, anti-bacterial, water repellent, or heat-resistant material, and are intended to brighten up the otherwise dull working environment and add personality to the robotic arms. However, this is only the company’s most recent initiative. Rocket Road has been making robot apparel for a long time and has a large portfolio.
Before you start rolling your eyes at the concept of robot clothing, keep in mind that robots are quite popular in Japan, ranging from adorable canine aibo bots to more advanced humanoid robots capable of emulating complicated human movements and activities. And they’re all going to require some fly garments…
“It has become ‘natural’ for robots to wear clothes,” Rocket Road CEO, Yukinori Izumi, said. “It would be great if we could bring people closer to each other through robot apparel, and many people, including children, women, and the elderly, would be close to and utilize the robots to enrich their lives and social lives. And I would be honored if robot wear could create a new category in the apparel industry and become a new culture in Japan.”
Yukinori has had a varied life, having studied Zen Buddhism in college, worked in space design at a space display company, and finally fulfilled his childhood dream of being a professional wrestler. He also worked in Silicon Valley before returning to his own country and launching Rocket Road, a unique robot clothes firm.
Since 2016, Rocket Road has been focused to developing customised, high-quality clothes for a wide range of robots, collaborating with some of Japan’s largest robotics businesses, including SoftBank Robotics, Sony, and Sharp.
While robot clothing may appear to be a joke, the Rocket Road website states that it is a serious enterprise that demands the highest care and dedication. Not only must the clothing fit each robot precisely while still looking attractive, but there are other elements to consider.
For example, the weight of the clothes can have an impact on the robot’s balance sensor, the clothes can catch on fire because of the heat generated by the electric components of the robot, and last but not least, the robot needs to function just as well with or without its clothing. These are all things that Rocket Road needs to consider when designing its robot apparel.