Robosensor Technology Research from Hamamatsu City is pioneering new tactile sensor technology

March 25th, 2024

Led by CEO Masayoshi Ohmura, Hamamatsu-based Robosensor Technology Research Inc. is a start-up company that is developing tactile sensors, which detect the tactile sensation of a human hand and convert it into an electrical signal. They are used in medical, robotics, and industrial applications. Robosensor Technology Research’s tactile sensors are less expensive, lighter, and more flexible than conventional sensors, expanding the possibilities of tactile sensors in a way that has never been seen before.

Masayoshi was inspired to start Robosensor Technology Research because of his own child’s disability. He said, “My son was born with a disability and as part of his care, I needed to give him regular massages to prevent his joints from hardening. This could be done at the hospital, but due to insurance issues, it was difficult to ask for it frequently, so we began trying to do massage at home. This was difficult in terms of both energy and time, and I began to wonder if there was anything I could do to help those who were also doing at home massage as part of their rehabilitation. When I left my previous job and was considering my next career move, I had the opportunity to visit the International Robot Expo and noticed that robot hands did not have tactile sensors, so I created a rehabilitation massage robot in the form of a robot hand with a tactile sensor attached.”

However, sales of the rehabilitation massage robot were poor and the funds I had set aside for starting the business soon ran out. We thought about getting a loan, but that was difficult, so we participated in the acceleration program and won two business contests sponsored by Shizuoka Bank and Hamamatsu Iwata Shinkin Bank.

However, there was still insufficient funding for research and development of robot hands, so Masayoshi turned his attention increasingly to the unique wire sensor technology. He said, “There were many inquiries about tactile sensors, we decided to focus on sensors rather than robots.” Masayoshi added, “The glove-type tactile sensor we developed can capture sound, vibration, and pressure in real time with a sensation nearly 1,000 times greater than that of a human hand, simply by attaching it to the fingertip.”

Masayoshi’s shift to sensor technology has led to a new development in the business. The applications of tactile sensor technology are wide-ranging, especially in production plants, where the goal is to reduce human error to zero. “This sensor technology, which can measure in real time, eliminates the many human errors that occur in the assembly process at automobile factories. We are exploring applications not only for major Japanese automakers, but also in a wide range of applications such as medical and construction industries,” he says.

Why did he start his startup in Hamamatsu? Masayoshi is from Hamamatsu and had the advantage of the local machinery industry being concentrated in the area. According to statistical data from the Japan Society of Industrial Machinery Manufacturers, Nagoya and Hamamatsu rank first and second for machining equipment in the country. The concentration of automobile plants and companies in the industrial machinery industry provides favorable ground for our business. Hamamatsu City has also developed measures to support entrepreneurs, such as start-up subsidies and local entrepreneurship courses, among others and for B to B businesses, Central Japan is a very good place to be.”

Robosensor Technology Research has also expanded overseas, and Central Japan’s has been indispensable for this. Tactile sensors are suitable for military use, so export restrictions are strict, but with the support of JETRO Hamamatsu, we have been able to expand our business overseas and we also participate in acceleration programs for that purpose as well.

Robosensor Technology Research was selected for the J-StarX “Local Entrepreneur Course,” an initiative of Hamamatsu City and GSAP (Global Startup Acceleration Program) from JETRO. There, exposure to overseas startup environments has increased the company’s competitiveness in the international market.

He said, “I had a great experience visiting Silicon Valley with J-StarX. What surprised me the most was the speed of startups overseas. I was impressed by the business decisions they make, the scale of their operations, and the fact that they only have two minutes to pitch to explain their business.”

Masayoshi’s goal for the future is to help people through tactile sensors. He says he wants to create products that contribute to society, such as technology that provides voices to people who cannot speak, and revolutionary medical devices for newborns. B to B can also serve the needs of people in a significant way, but I want to take care of niche products that others don’t do or focus on. An accelerator once told me, ‘Happiness cannot be shared unless the cup overflows. I would like to get my current business off the ground first, and then enter this niche industry.

Interviewee profile

Masayoshi Ohmura

President, Robosensor Technology Research Inc.


Graduated from National Numazu National College of Technology. After graduating from the Faculty of Engineering at Hiroshima University and completing graduate studies at the Hiroshima University Graduate School of Engineering, he worked at Fujitsu and Yamaha Corporation, where he was in charge of technical development of semiconductors and sensors, retiring in March 2013. After working for Meiyo Electric Co. Ltd and SOC Corporation, he established Robosensor Technology Research Inc. in August 2016 and assumed the position of Representative Director.

To me, Hamamatsu

Is in an advantageous position thanks to its concentration of the local machinery industry, along with automobile plants and related companies. The city has measures to support entrepreneurs and is a great place to build a startup.

Personal motto

Ingenuity is limitless. We entered the sensor business later, starting with a single wire sensor, but through sheer ingenuity, we are able to create something better than the competition. We currently have more than 100 patents registered.