robots

Move over, humanoid employees: Nagasaki theme park to open futuristic hotel staffed by robots

Once you’ve tired yourself out playing with your rideable 4-metre tall robot from Amazon Japan and experienced the neon assault to the senses that is Shinjuku’s Robot Restaurant show, you’ll also be able to visit a hotel in Japan with robot staff once the new Hen-na Hotel opens this summer.

As well as robot receptionists, porters, cleaners and waitresses, the aptly-named Hen-na Hotel (literally meaning “strange hotel”) in the Huis Ten Bosch theme park, Nagasaki, will also feature a whole host of futuristic technology aimed at reducing energy consumption and human staffing levels, therefore keeping room prices down.

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The Guan Yu Gundam: a story of passion and friendship

Those who are familiar with Chinese history should be familiar with Romance of the Three Kingdoms, an epic that is now considered one of the greatest literary classics in China. Detailing legendary tales from the warring era of the Three Kingdoms, the book itself is full of stories of love, friendship and loyalty.

Fast forward to modern times, where we find three ardent robot fans in China with the spirit of the Three Kingdoms coursing through their veins who came together to create an amazing gigantic Gundam-like statue based on one of the best known characters in the epic – Guan Yu.

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Heads up Aussies, Shinjuku’s insane Robot Restaurant is paying you a visit next month!

Shinjuku’s Robot Restaurant is the stuff of legend the world over. An epic music and light show with a dash of burlesque flair featuring enormous robots, exotically dressed dancers and more neon than the original and 2010 sequel to Tron put together, it’s a must-see for anyone visiting Tokyo and looking for a dose of quintessential “WTF Japan?” weirdness (no, seriously, just check out its website).

But what if you’re not a trust-fund Toby or a highly successful business magnate with the cash to splash on weekend trips to Japan? Those plane tickets don’t come cheap, and Tokyo is known for being on the pricey side, so short of a wealthy aunt popping her clogs or your idea for edible cutlery coming to fruition, you may never have the chance to see this baffling spectacle of awesomeness. If you happen to live in or near Sydney, though, your feet won’t even need to leave terra firma for you to experience it, thanks to a unique event coming up in February.

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Famous action anime director’s latest stop on the comeback trail: bank ad with giant robots

Last summer, we took a look at a series of ads from Okinawa’s Bank of the Ryukyus, known locally as Ryugin, that featured magical girl idol singers and giant robots. Those are certainly more visually appealing images than a staid banker or graphs explaining interest fees, but if we’re being totally honest, the sort of CG animation shown in the commercials really isn’t Japan’s forte.

Where the country’s artists really shine is in a more traditional discipline that mimics the style of hand-drawn artwork, regardless of whether or not it’s done with pencil and paper or all on a computer. Thankfully, that’s just what we get in the bank’s newest ad, which comes from one of anime’s top veteran action directors, plus one of its most accomplished voice actors.

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Want to buy a giant, rideable robot? Amazon Japan will sell you one

This year, my sister-in-law and nieces gave me an Amazon card for Christmas. The bookstore near my apartment in Yokohama doesn’t stock English-language books, so it’s an extremely thoughtful gift, but I haven’t actually visited Amazon’s site to pick out my new reading material, since I’m still in the middle of a lengthy novel I started during my recent flight from Tokyo to Los Angeles.

With a couple of hundred pages left to go, it might be a while before I actually use the card, and while I’m leaning towards a National Geographic subscription, I still haven’t ruled out the alternative of putting the card towards purchasing a giant robot, since Amazon Japan now sells those, too.

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Anime’s Tetsuwan Atom/Astro Boy shows up on a pedestrian walk signal in Japan

For many newcomers to anime and manga, it can be hard to tell characters drawn by the same artist apart. In general, Japanese designs use fewer lines, especially in the faces, than those of Western comic books, and even some artists themselves, such as Touch creator Mitsuru Adachi, have been known to get their own cast members mixed up.

That’s not a problem with Atom, though. Also known as Astro Boy, Osamu Tezuka’s beloved mighty robot is instantly recognizable, whether in the pages of the manga where he debuted, onscreen in one of his many anime adaptations, or, in his most recent appearance, a pedestrian walk signal in Kanagawa Prefecture.

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Premium Cocorobo will clean your floor, wake you up, and probably creep out your friends

While a cranky Roomba can make a terrible mess, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we should never allow robots into our homes–only that we probably ought to be careful about how much we trust them. For example, letting them vacuum your floor seems reasonable, but relying on a vacuum bot to wake you up might not be such a great idea. And giving your vacuum bot a cute anime voice and something resembling a personality? That’s how humans end up extinct!

But apparently Sharp needs to watch more Terminator films, because that is exactly the kind of vacuuming robot they’ve created!

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A losing South Korean baseball team filled 3 rows of seats with robots that cheer for them

Watch the video below and tell us that robots aren’t going to change everything.

The Hanwha Eagles, a South Korean professional baseball team, recently filled three rows of its stadium with robots designed to cheer in the stead of real fans watching the game at home, reports CTV News.

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South Korean shipyard workers wear robo-suits for super-strength

If Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering gets its way, employees will be carrying out their duties while decked out in strength-enhancing robotic exoskeletons, according to New Scientist.

As one of the largest shipbuilders in the world, the company is investigating ways to make its workflow more productive. But after researching the use of such robo-suits on the job and finding them to be helpful, the company is now working on improving its prototype model so that the suits might soon see regular use on the job.

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Tokyo’s giant Gundam statue scheduled to get upgrade and start moving in 2019

I love Tokyo’s awesome, full-scale statue of Gundam as much as anybody. I try to at least stop by and say hello to Japan’s most famous giant robot whenever I’m in Odaiba, and when time permits, I’m happy to sip a beer or munch on a pretzel from the adjacent shopping center as I stare up at the 18-meter (59-foot) tall mecha.

As I mentioned before, though, it has always seemed a little ironic that the monument is stationary. After all, the series is called Mobile Suit Gundam. Shouldn’t he be moving?

Actually, in a few years, he just might.

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GPS-lacking Gundam gets lost on the streets of Taiwan, asks locals for directions

With all of the cool, capable characters in anime, it’s not too hard to see the appeal of cosplay. For many fans, literally spending a few minutes in the shoes of their favorite hero or heroine lets them feel every bit as strong, smart, or beautiful as the costume’s usual 2-D inhabitant.

Confidence boost aside, though, slipping on a costume sadly still leaves you with all of the shortcomings you have when you’re wearing an ordinary T-shirt and jeans. Dressing up as Attack on Titan’s Mikasa won’t really transform you into a highly skilled acrobatic swordswoman. Wearing the same nondescript school uniform of the newest harem series’ blank slate male protagonist make you irresistible to women.

Likewise, all the fictional computer power behind Gundam still won’t prevent you from getting lost in the real world.

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Gamers rejoice! 500XP towards laziness level with hands-free snacking device【Video】

Gamers know that gaming is serious business. Whether you are fragging your enemies in Halo or Call of Duty, working on your pro-rated 150 APM in Starcraft II, or slaying internet beasts in World of Warcraft, gamers know that their hands will be occupied. Ultimate pwnage requires a gamer’s full attention but a simple truth of life is, everyone needs to eat and drink!

Plenty of companies already know this. A ton of products are aimed directly at that lucrative gamer demographic, including gamer snacks and gamer energy drinks. The point that everyone seems to miss is that eating and drinking requires your hands, which is a precious commodity for the serious gamer! Beer hats and straws already work wonders for drinks, but what about hands-free food? Some industrious gamers have been working on a solution, and they have a hilarious prototype they want to show off!

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Robot fools real birds – and us – in flight【Photos & Video】

Flight has long captivated humanity–we’ve built flying contraptions for centuries for a reason. While ornithopters–flying devices that use flapping bird-like wings–certainly seem like a good idea, they rarely seem to work out as well as fixed wing aircraft. However, that hasn’t stopped us from trying to get closer and closer to the flight of birds, inspiring numerous individuals and companies alike.

In fact, robots that mimic bird flight are already commercially available, but one Japanese man decided to take it upon himself to try building his own at home. Basing it off of Festo’s SmartBird, the remote-controlled robot flaps, glides, and banks almost like a real bird. The robot bird even proved life-like enough to actually attract the attention of four actual black kites midair! Check out the birds–robotic and organic–dancing through the sky below!

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Japan’s real and anime world technological icons combine with this Shinkansen transforming robot

You could argue that the Shinkansen is the greatest engineering marvel Japan has ever put together. Amazingly fast, the bullet train is also bulletproof in its reliability and punctuality, with almost no delays and not a single accident since the high speed rail service was opened in 1964.

To find a much cooler piece of Japanese technology, you have to go into the world of science fiction and anime robots. Now, some clever designers have put two and two together and created a transforming mecha character based on Japan’s fastest train.

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9 futuristic jobs we could see by 2030

With technology moving faster than ever, it’s hard to imagine what careers will look like 20 years from now. But The Canadian Scholarship Trust Plan (CST), a not-for-profit foundation dedicated to helping Canadian families save for their children’s post-secondary education, wanted to find out.

With help from foresight strategists, CST took a look into the future to find the jobs that may be commonplace by the year 2030.

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How to make your model robots shoot laser beams without using Photoshop

Despite having a love of giant robots since childhood, I never really got into the hobby of building models of them. I barely have the manual dexterity to properly feed myself, let alone glue small pieces of plastic together, so I was always sure the finished product would never look as cool as the fighting mecha in anime series like Macross or Escaflowne.

Of course, I may have to rethink my stance, now that there’s an easy way to make your models appear to shoot laser beams that doesn’t require any fine motor or photo editing skills at all.

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Patlabor’s giant robot gets taken out to the ballgame, keeps the peace in Chiba 【Video】

In planning any large-scale sporting event, organizers have to take security needs into consideration. Any time you combine thousands of people in a confined space with heightened emotions and flowing alcohol, there’s at least the chance that some individuals will be tempted to cross the line of polite behavior or even public safety, so it’s always a good idea to have a few security guards or uniformed police officers on hand.

Or, as shown in this awesome time-lapse video filmed outside a stadium in Chiba Prefecture, the giant robot from Patlabor.

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Giant Patlabor robot stands tall in Tokyo even as film’s director calls it “useless” 【Photos】

When surveys are done asking people which neighborhood of Tokyo they’d like to live in, Kichijoji often tops the list. It’s not hard to see why, as it’s filled with fashionable cafes, restaurants, and bars (including one with an airsoft firing range), and nearby Inokashira Park is one of the capital’s best cherry blossom viewing spots.

Safety is also an important concern in choosing a place to live, and at least for a day, Kichijoji had this in spades, as the Ingram, the giant robot used in the Patlabor science-fiction films, showed up last weekend.

Even as the Ingram was standing tall though, the films’ director, Mamoru Oshii was tearing down the dreams if aspiring mecha pilots everywhere by firmly stating his belief that we’ll never see giant bipedal robots in any practical, real-life application.

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Good news for robot and pop idol fans: new Macross anime series is on the way!

It’s hard to think of an anime franchise that’s had a bigger impact than Macross. Aside from being a huge hit in its native Japan, the military sci-fi saga has provided no fewer than three gigantic boosts to anime’s international popularity. The original Macross, repackaged internationally as Robotech in 1985, provided many English speakers with their first taste of Japanese animation, a feat repeated by its 1994 direct-to-video follow-up, Macross Plus. Macross’ first theatrical feature, 1984’s Do You Remember Love?, is even largely credited with kick-starting the practice of fan-produced anime translations.

Now, the franchise is poised to bring in yet another crop of new fans, with the announcement that a new Macross TV series is on its way.

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Japan already makes awesome industrial robots — Here’s what happens when it looks…elsewhere

Japan’s industrial robots and non-humanoid creations are already thriving — we’ll meet some of them shortly. But we’ll also take a look at the country’s eerie robotic human analogs that foreshadow a future where it might not be so easy to tell them apart from “real” people.

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