Jerome Damelincourt leader Store Robopolis, has agreed to give us his vision of robotics, he meets a world forever. At a time when Asimo serving coffee and talk to the caller, one wonders in what direction the robot moves. The Workshop – Hello Jerome Damelincourt. People come from afar to come and visit Robopolis. How did you get the idea to open a shop dedicated to robots? Jerome Damelincourt – In 2000, I decided to create the website vieartificielle.com. Before his success and public enthusiasm, I opened Robopolis in 2003. To mark the opening of the shop, I also created a website dedicated robopolis.com. It was a dream that I never let go.
What kind of audience greet you at Robopolis?
There are two types of targets: the active and passionate fans liabilities. The first category includes those who want to assemble their own robots and see them run while the second brings together children and fans of science fiction. Now that the books and films of science fiction describe the technique can actually create it. Basically, some things are no longer science fiction but reality.
You sell all kinds of robots: figurines, utilitarian robots, gadgets, etc.. What products work best?
Robots have been big commercial successes. The Roomba vacuum cleaner is autonomous (see our list). The RC 3000 lava soil alone and silently. We also have a robot mower etc.. Today, these products are not much more expensive than their conventional counterparts. The Roomba is the price of a good vacuum cleaner and these robots are technically very good.I think both will grow together. People will continue to buy robots to perform functions specific to the house such as cleaning the floor, sending messages or control of television. At a horizon of five years, although I imagine that robots are hired by large enterprises for example by distributing catalogs in salons. The rental and sale will be used with different objectives: we will not rent Asimo home for the price it costs.
If Sony, with its very large capacity, had to stop production of its Aibo, it does show there that the robots are too expensive to develop and they are not profitable enough? Is there a risk that companies are abandoning research on robotics?
Aibo was a technological showcase for Sony. The Japanese had to create everything Aibo, since the technology that allows a robot to move forward on all fours. Aibo was to continuous innovation. Expenditures made by Sony in research are well established. Companies can now sell robots like Aibo much cheaper. It’s like computers, initially the production of computers was very expensive and the products were not very profitable, but the combined effect of learning and economies of scale allowed the computing of ‘reach the point where it is today. Within fifteen years, the robotics market has exceeded that of the computer.
I went to check on the site of a large appliance store, they do not sell Roomba. I was very surprised. Do not you find that surprising? When the consumer robots they integrate supermarkets?
No, I do not find that surprising. Major distributors include new standards only when they are sure to sell a certain number. Today, the Roomba is still the preserve of specialist shops whose role is precisely to take risks. However, I think the robots like Roomba will be sold in general stores within a year. In the U.S., they already are.
Do you think that robotics will grow to more B2B or B2C?
I do not think that one of them will still dominate there. B2B is already highly developed medicine, security, military … But B2C is also a research topic for many businesses.
Do you think the robot will he ever be the equal of man?
Do not get carried away. The robot’s capabilities are far from achieving those rights. Today, we can not create a robot that knows how to clear a table. We do not know how to explain to a machine what a glass because it can take many forms and be made of several components. Creators of robot soccer players have launched a challenge: in 2050 (not before), a robot soccer team will beat the world champion team football.
The public will he not reluctant to move with humanoid robots?
People love the humanoid robots. Plus it looks like a man, more like it. Until the robot becomes too human. Surveys have shown that nobody wants a robot to hair or skin. But Asimo, for cons, everyone would have at home!