robots

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

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

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 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】

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

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

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

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】

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】

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!

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 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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We check out Patlabor’s giant robot, plus cosplayers and anime booze galore, at Anime Japan

We check out Patlabor’s giant robot, plus cosplayers and anime booze galore, at Anime Japan

Last weekend the Tokyo Big Site convention center hosted the inaugural Japan Anime animation exposition, which combines the previously separately held Tokyo International Anime Fair and Anime Contents Expo.

We were drawn to the show by the promise of being able to see the giant Ingram robot being used in the upcoming live-action Patlabor motion picture with our own eyes, so we headed for Big Site and dove headfirst into the crowd of fans and exhibitors, where aside from giant robots we found amazing cosplayers and anime-themed edibles, not to mention hordes of ravenous anime song idol fans.

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Japanese government study on robot anime now available in English

Japanese government study on robot anime now available in English

Thanks to the patient translation efforts of AltJapan Co., Ltd. co-founder Matt Alt, readers can now read, in English,most of the 90-page study on robot anime made available by the Japanese government. Titled “Nihon Animation Guide: Robot Anime-hen,” the original document was written by anime critic Ryusuke HikawaSunrise head of cultural promotion Koichi Inoue, and writer Daisuke Sawaki, and compiled by Mori Building Co., which has previously also compiled reports on Japanese live-action special effects shows, movies, and other pop culture topics. In addition to these reports, the company also promotes media arts information, hosts symposiums, conducts surveys, and works on archive projects.

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Not-so-mighty challengers assemble to determine Japan’s wimpiest Gundam!

Not-so-mighty challengers assemble to determine Japan’s wimpiest Gundam!

As the most venerated of Japan’s many giant robots, Gundam casts a gallant figure. Whether he’s appearing onscreen in his newest anime installment, or simply casting his silhouette across the landscape, to gaze upon him is to be keenly aware of his unmistakable power.

Unless, of course, his back just went out. Or if he’s working part-time at the convenience store to earn extra cash.

You know what? With so many variations of Gundam out there, we’re starting to suspect that at least some of them are, in fact, wimps.

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We don’t care about the calories, just give us our Gundam donuts!

We don’t care about the calories, just give us our Gundam donuts!

Despite the traditional image of anime fans as couch potatoes whose consumption of junk food is only rivaled by their consumption of panty-flashing animation sequences, it’s only recently that gastronomy and Japanese animation have officially combined forces. Recently we heard about the giant, 10-patty Attack on Titan burger, but what if your tastes run less towards towering monsters and meat and more in the direction of giant robots and sweets?

If that’s the case, maybe you’d prefer a Gundam donut.

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Evangelion license plates sure to add visual impact to your ride

Evangelion license plates sure to add visual impact to your ride

The very first time she came over to the swinging bachelor pad/pitiful bunker I used to live in back when we were dating, my wife immediately noticed that the one and only interior decoration I had was a California license plate mounted on the wall. To me, the blue on white design is immediately nostalgic and reassuring.

In Japan, though, ordinarily the only thing that differentiates plates issued in different parts of the country are the kanji characters written across their tops, so they don’t provide quite the same immediate visual shorthand of local pride. Unless you happen to live in the city of Hakone, where motorists can show their love of their hometown and giant robot anime all at once with new Evangelion license plates.

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Japanese company builds giant robot you could be piloting right now

Japanese company builds giant robot you could be piloting right now

Chiba Prefecture’s Wonder Festival is a bi-annual figure and model expo. The event’s bread and butter is figurine of anime and video game characters, in both frighteningly realistic and sexily unrealistic varieties.

But while the first thing most people associate with the event is toys, if your model is made of metal instead of plastic or urethane, and it’s self-propelled to boot, you’ve crossed the line of three-dimensional art and moved into straight-up engineering. Of course, Wonder Festival’s exhibitors aren’t going to stray too far from their fanciful roots, so what do you get when you combine technology with science fiction? You get this amazing giant robot, which is so easy to pilot that attendees could test drive it.

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Our anime dreams come true as we operate a robot suit from Appleseed

Our anime dreams come true as we operate a robot suit from Appleseed

For years, science fiction movies have been teasing us with visions of high-tech wonders that remain frustratingly just out of reach. Where are our flying cars? Shouldn’t we at least have those hovering skateboards by now? How is it we can put a man on the moon, but we haven’t perfected an automated kitchen that can read our thoughts and cook what we want for dinner?

But today, the waiting ends for one of our technology-based dreams, as we operate a powered robot suit from anime and manga hit Appleseed.

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Apparently short on cash, Gundam takes a part-time job at 7-Eleven

Apparently short on cash, Gundam takes a part-time job at 7-Eleven

With 35 years as Japan’s favorite mecha anime, the Gundam franchise has grown to include dozens of TV and direct-to-video animated series, manga comics, and video game adaptations. With such a long history, some of them are, of course, less successful than others. Certain fans shook their heads at V Gundam’s cast of middle schoolers. Others were baffled by G Gundam’s schoolgirl uniform-inspired robot designs. Even the TV series that started it all, 1979’s Mobile Suit Gundam, has more than its fair share of goofy villains of the week who come and go like so many Scooby Doo criminals.

But despite the franchise’s occasional detours into outright silliness, the 1988 theatrical release Char’s Counterattack enjoys almost universal acclaim, both for the gravitas of its story and the commensurate visuals. Which makes it all the more disheartening to see the robot piloted by the film’s hero apparently reduced to having to take a job at convenience store 7-Eleven.

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Awesome Japanese rescue robot probably won’t kill you

Awesome Japanese rescue robot probably won’t kill you

DARPA, the American agency commonly known for its hilarious supervillain-esque laser projects and weaponized dolphins, took time out of its wacky military inventions schedule to hold its Robotics Competition in Miami, Florida, where a humanoid robot from Japanese company Schaft, Inc. took top prize.

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