Japan has a national gift for holding in balance the stateliness of tradition and the marvel of novelty. So it ought to come as no surprise that on the western margin of the archipelago, on a serene bay in a remote area of the Nagasaki Prefecture, there is an enormous theme park dedicated to the splendors of imperial Holland. It follows with perfect logic that the historical theme park’s newest lodging place is the world’s first hotel staffed by robots.
Video of horrific, Japanese maggot-man robot allegedly designed to act as a physical presence during phone calls. More info and photos here.
Trouble started soon into Hayabusa's treacherous round-trip journey to Itokawa when she lost her companion, Minerva. On arrival, she stumbled and dropped the sample she was sent to retrieve, and we thought the worst when she stopped calling. One accident left her disoriented and unable to find her way, and another reduced her progress to a slow limp. But on Sunday, with unfailing help from home, Hayabusa returns, three years late and seven years after she departed.
Japan is facing a demographic crisis that will shrink the population dramatically. The Japanese aren't having babies, and the country won't accept immigrants to help bolster the population. Japan: Robot Nation looks at a uniquely Japanese solution. [more inside]
Military equipment drawn as anime girls. Probably SFW, but good luck explaining it to the boss. Wikipedia explains.
More companion robots! Another in a series (see PARO, previously) of healing toys for Japan's rapidly greying population, Yumel the Healing Partner from Tomy. Like some kind of unholy cross between a Cabbage Patch Kid and Teddy Ruxpin, you can see a promotional clip of the doll here, or read a list of translated stock phrases (thank you Harper's). Also, an interesting article from the Economist about WHY the Japanese love robots so. (Hint: it's Shinto)
PARO: Seal Type Mental Commit Robot for Psychological Enrichment.
Cheap 1.7 million yen toy. When Keiko Nakamoto of the Ishikawa prefecture came across an old vinyl robot covered in a thick layer of dust, she had no idea that she had unearthed only the third known specimen of an item described by Tokyo toy dealers as "the most sought-after item in Japan." From ToyboxDX [toy robot goodness].
NEGADON!! "NEGADON - the Monster from Mars" is a "digital monster film", a film for the future. Similar in execution to the short film which eventually spawned "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow", Negadon is a 100% computer-generated short which has been cleverly designed to look like the old Japanese man-in-the-rubber-suit monster movies of the 50's. Even the posters look the part.
With My Special Partner, I can drink my way back to the 7th Millenium BCE for ancient music, and the fish’ll tell me how to get home.
Star Wars geeks lined up months in advance blocking the door to your favorite taqueria? Clear the sidewalks with your new Imperial Walker (.wmv) from Sakakibara Machine Co. of Gunma, Japan.
So the Japanese, still firmly plunged in the midst of their very own "Great Depression," are considering a proposal that would have the government spend 50 billion yean a year over three decades to develop a humanoid robot with the mental, physical and emotional capacity of a 5-year-old human. The proposed name of this venture? The Atom project, named after the Japanese cartoon character known to Americans as "Astro Boy."
Robot Guard Dogs - two new types of robo-dog on their way to market (in Japan) next year from Sanyo (the T7S Type 1 and Type 2) About 3 feet long, 80 pounds of Aibo-style security for $750. Cool factor - their onboard CCD cameras and cell phones can watch for intruders and beam images to your own 3G phone.
Here's what I want for my next birthday... but I'd like to accessorize it StarSeige/MechWarriors style.