via Pop Sci
There’s a Japanese restaurant in Thailand with robot waiters dressed like samurai. Wow.
Robots might be replacing humans in a lot of things, but one thing they still can’t do is dance. At the Robo-One international exhibition this past weekend at Tokyo Big Sight, this schoolgirl bot danced to a Japanese pop song. I love how the people in the back are keeping a straight face. I think the guy on her left might be the exhibitor.
via Raw Feed
Life Magazine has a great collection of robot art from Japan in the 1950s. Space travel was becoming a hot topic, science fiction was picking up steam, and toy companies were making all kinds of robot and space age-themed trinkets. Here are a few examples, with more at the Life web site.
This is Polaris, a robot designed by KDDI and Flower Robotics that monitors your behavior via your cell phone and then communicates to you via your TV. Basically what it does is function as an intelligent dock for your cell phone — when you put the phone on it, it extracts information from the handset and then gives you recommendations and reminders. Kinda like a miniature personal secretary! It also has the ability to self-navigate on flat surfaces. We should be seeing this in the consumer market soon — so far it’s just a prototype.
via Impress Watch (Japanese)
Thomas and Janet are humanoid theatrical robots created at the National Taiwan University of Technology and Science. They’re slated to perform in the first robot production of Phantom of the Opera &mdash this is a clip of them rehearsing.
via IEEE Spectrum
Shibuya246 has some great photos of the Gundam-themed wedding that just took place in Odaiba, under the life-sized Gundam statue. The groom dressed up as the protagonist Amuro, and the director of the anime series even showed up to give them a special plaque.
Man burns down house after loss of Gundam toys
Giant Gundam rehearses for his big launch day
Life-sized, moving Gundam on display in Odaiba this summer
Gundam-inspired upper house election poster
Gundam decked out in pink jewels
via Pink Tentacle.
This month, construction begins on the giant Gigantor statue in Kobe. This non-profit project aims to educate and entertain the public and to create a sense of community around the celebration of ths world-famous robot anime. The original Japanese name for Gigantor is Tetsujin 28-Go. When completed at the end of September, Gigantor will stand 60 feet tall. A must-see if you’re in the Kobe area this fall!
Kobe Tetsujin Project main page (Japanese)
From my BBG post:
The face displayed on the 3GS screen is actually that of Hatsune Miku, the anime girl depiction of a vocaloid software created by Yamaha that continues to be a huge hit among Japanese web geeks. The music she’s singing is Levan Polkka, a Finnish folk song. Videos of Hatsune Miku singing Levan Polkka became a huge meme on the web video site Nico Nico Douga, which I wrote an article about in Wired Magazine last year. The scallion-twirling, someone explained to me, is a symbol of dumbness — only a really brainless person would stand there and twirl scallions all day.
Great news. On September 3, Bandai is releasing a new toy called My Doraemon &mdash it’s a real Doraemon-shaped robot that has motion, light, heat, and sound sensors that let it react to its environment and say Doraemon-esque phrases according to the situation it’s in. The toy does not have a real four-dimensional pocket that can spew out toys that will let you travel through time and space, make people fall in love with you, or chase bullies away, but just having this wonderful legendary companion bot in your house is just pure awesomeness.
via Impress Watch (Japanese)
On July 30, Sega Toys will release the newest of its uber-realistic robotic animal series. It’s made to look, feel, and act just like a Norwegian Forest Cat. It runs on four AAs and will retail for about $100. Perfect for cat lovers with allergies or pet-unfriendly apartments!
Press release (Japanese)
Wow. Someone in China made a blinged out pink girly Gundam with bejeweled armor and glittery flowers on his legs for the robot anime’s 30th anniversary.
The cam baby is a cute child robot that resembles a 1-year old human baby in diapers. It has just learned to walk, so it waddles towards you when you clap your hands and say, here baby baby. It makes cute little bot noises while it walks, and its LED eyes flash and go piko piko piko! When it falls, it starts crying. You can own one for $26.
Buy yours here.
Who needs sushi chefs when you have Chef Robot?
This summer marks the 30th anniversary of Mobile Suit Gundam. To celebrate, a full-sized Gundam &mdash yes, all 18 meters and 35 tons of him &mdash is being built in a park in Odaiba. Yes, this means that if you go to Tokyo this summer between July 11 and August 31, you’ll probably see him towering over the city as you drive across the Rainbow Bridge on your way to the city from Narita.
This Gundam’s not just a stationary statue, either. He’s going to be able to move his head and emit light and mist from different parts of his body. Awesome.
Cool! A human-sized Tachikoma that you can sit inside and control via remote.
On Boing Boing Gadgets, I wrote an article about some of the best Doraemon gadgets from 1970-1980 that either exist now or probably will exist soon. I heart Doraemon. Please give it a quick read!
Also, we’re celebrating Asian Heritage Month on BBG so take a visit to check out all the posts.
The robot craze that Fred Schodt predicted in 1988 reached new heights in Tokyo last week, when a pretty humanoid went to an elementary school in Chiyoda-ku to guest teach a class. Saya—a speaking robot with 30 moving parts and a slew of facial expressions created by Tokyo University of Science professor Hiroshi Kobayashi—was there to inspire students to consider a career in science and robotics. The students thought she was pretty and that she looked just like a nice human lady.