Creating beautiful Japanese calligraphy is an art that requires years of practice to master, but what if a robot could mimic the exact hand movements of the artist, churning out masterpieces like a photocopy machine? That's the idea behind the Motion Copy System, developed by researchers at Keio University in Tokyo.
In many cities, payphones are rapidly disappearing from the streets, which is no real surprise in a world where most people carry a cellphone. But what do you do with all those old phone booths? A Japanese art collective has come up with their own plan, and are turning Osaka's disused booths into giant fish tanks.
The more we understand the fundamentals of electronics, the easier it becomes to marry their myriad functions into imaginative designs. A Japanese tinkerer took this notion to the extreme with a construction kit that makes creating gadgets both a game and an art project in one.
We're not saying we want the chiseled bodies of human lifeguards to disappear from beaches, but if Japan's Swumanoid swimming robot keeps making breakthroughs, their days are numbered.
At last, you can now fulfill your Gundam fantasies, sorta. Suidobashi Heavy Industries is selling a real build-to-order Kuratas mech suit, but only if you hand them $1.4 million and promise to only use it to fight alien scum.
Tokyo has no shortage of strange food devices and restaurants — from the SushiBot to Capcom's video game inspired restaurants. This one takes the cake and then some. Futuristic robot Amazons, piloted by real girls, roll around with giant trays ready to take your drink order and serve food.
Spielberg's film A.I. introduced us to the unsettling prospect of dealing with the feelings of neglected robot children. Now a lab in Japan has developed a real robot baby to test how such a scenario might actually play out.
Japan's romance with Gundam will never extinguish, especially now that it has Gundam-themed hotel rooms available for reservation. There's tons of Gundam memorabilia inside the suites and even a life-sized pilot cockpit to re-enact Gundam simulations.
Oddly enough, one of the few similarities between children in the U.S. and Japan is the game of Rock-Paper-Scissors, known in Japan as Janken. Now a research lab has used that simple kid's game to offer a glimpse at the inexorable perfection curve of robots versus humans.
Although the popular Sony AIBO was discontinued way back in 2006, there remains a healthy demand from geeks, young and old, in owning a robot dog. Hoping to once again test the robotic pet market is Takara Tomy's new Omnibot i-Sodog.