Category > Technology
Fans of collectable anime figures will already be aware of winter Wonder Festival 2016. It's always interesting to see what figures have been launched and how stressful it will be on your wallet. The good folks from Yukai Engineering Inc have sent us details of their latest concept project. A collaboration with figure firm Good Smile The iDoll x Nendoroid combines the Yukai Engineering iDoll with Good Smile's popular Nendoroid figure. They've created a singing dancing Hatsune Miku figure that interacts with a smart phone app.
Yukai Engineering Inc are not new to making otaku products they were also involved in the necomimi, those brainwave reading cat ears.
Category > Features
As children we've often spent our time drawing giant robots and fighter jets. Many of our readers would still do this for fun now and again. But what if you want to do it professionally? We were lucky enough to meet one such man - Mecha Designer Hidetaka Tenjin. He's does technical illustrations and designs cool mechanical things. He's done technical illustration for Macross Zero, Macross Frontier, Macross Frontier: The False Diva and Macross Frontier: The Wings of Goodbye.
He's got a few art books to his name too. Plus he also does lots of box art for model kits.
We were lucky enough to catch up with Hidetaka Tenjin at the May 2015 MCM London Comic Con where he was invited by streaming service Viewster to be the anime guest of honour.
Read More... | Souce: Otaku NewsJoe
It's the 21st Century and everyone wants their own robot companion. Japan is leading the way with this technology as a great video from BBC News shows. The first half of the video shows robotic legs forming in an exo-skeleton which is used to help stroke patients with walking. It even has a lady who is wheel-chair bound walking down stairs using this technology. The second half of the video focuses on a robot companion used to help blind people. It's fascinating stuff.
Souce: BBC NewsJoe
BBC News have a fascinating article about a wedding with a difference in Tokyo. It was the worlds first wedding to be conducted by a robot. Appropriately both bride and groom are connected to Japan's robotics industry. The robot is called the I-Fairy, has flashing eyes and a flowery headdress, it speaks in Japanese and can be seen on the BBC video instructing the groom to to lift the brides veil for the traditional first kiss. The article does not state if the robot has any legal power to marry anyone.
Souce: BBC NewsJoe
BBC News have some interesting video footage of a life-like walking female robot.
The HRP-4C has 30 motors in it's body which allow to walk and move it's arms. It also has 8 motors in it's face to create various expressions.
Category > Events
London anime fans are a in for a real treat on Saturday 31st January 2009, where a special Tokyo Day will be running. Organised by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, Tokyo Day is set to be packed with tons for otaku to see and do.
The event will be held at Lawrence Hall at the Royal Horticultural Halls and Conference Centre.
Admission is free. It's set to run from 10am to 8pm.
BBC News are running a fascinating story about a robotic actor in a Japanese play. Hataraku Watashi (I, Worker), is set in the near future, the play had it's premiere at Osaka University, and stars a Wakamaru robot made by Mitsubishi. Software for the robot was especially written train it for the stage and took over two months to develop at the university.
The play focuses on a young couple who have two housekeeping robots, one of which loses its motivation to work, complains that it has been forced into boring and demeaning jobs, and enters into a discussion with the humans about it's role in their lives. The play is written by Oriza Hirata. Currently the play is 20 minutes long, they are considering producing a full length production by 2010.
Souce: BBC NewsJoe
Wired have an interesting article about how to make a mech. Takayuki Furuta the director of the Future Robotics Center in Chiba Japan, was worried that kids don't care about robots any more, so he ran computer models to figure out the best way to build a six story tall Gundam. Apparently they have blueprints for the robot, and actually intend to build one, although a 60 foot tall model wouldn't be financially feasible a 13 feet tall version could be produced by 2011.
The article also links to an article with the price breakdown in yen, a must for all those project managers out there. ^_-
Following on from a story about a wine tasting robot, it can identify wines, cheeses, meats and hors d'oeuvres, so a reporter put the robot to the test, putting his hand in it's sensor. The robot reported that human flesh was bacon. Apparently we don't taste like chicken. I'm sure Otaku News readers aren't cannibals, but some cannibal tribes call human flesh long pig, as they thought we taste like pigs, the robot seems to confirm this.
Souce: Wired BlogsJoe
Category > Fandom
Otaku - Japan's Consumer Cult.
A syndicated article that appears MSNBC and Business Week focuses on the Otaku, who are Japan's Consumer Fanatics.
It mentions their geeky tendencies to build their own computers, along with their spending large amounts of money on collectable manga and associated merchandise. Interestingly enough the article also states their raw spending power, around $3.5 Billion dollars (USD), a year on anime DVDs, manga, IT gadgets and other toys. Namco Bandai's Idol Manager idolm@ster gets a mention too.
The article then goes on to explain the Densha Otoko and maid cafes, along with English language websites that track the news. They single out two websites Otaku World and this website Otaku News. ^_^
The article also mentions kakure-otaku (hidden otaku), and the Secret Otaku Support Commission.
It then finishes with Kondo Kagaku, a company that noticed a lot of it's servomotors were being bought buy keen otaku who wanted to produce their own robots, so the company met demand and produced their own robot kit.
Souce: Business WeekJoe
According to BBC News the clever people at NEC have created a wine tasting robot. The 2 foot tall robot use infrared light to detect different tastes. Originally developed to taste and identify foods by checking the ingredients and their quantities, the team decided to focus on wine as it was more challenging. The robot will even recommend wines based on the users previous tastings. For some reason or another we can't stop thinking about Bender from Futurama.
Souce: BBC NewsJoe
For the otaku that has everything Japanese firm ZMP have developed a robot that rolls around playing music. The egg shaped robot is called Miuro which stands for - music innovation based on utility robot technology. Miuro has all sorts of interesting features such as an iPod dock, a remote control and can even use wireless signals from a PC to play music from iTunes or similar software (the article isn't clear which wireless technology is used). The robot uses a Kenwood speaker system. Camera and sensors are available as an optional extra to allow Miuro to map out it's on position and remember routes.
Miuro is available to buy on-line in Japan, with overseas availability expected in the second half of 2007. Retailing at $930 (USD), it isn't exactly at the cheap end of iPod accessories.
Souce: Yahoo! NewsJoe
The Mainichi Daily News has an interesting story on Robo Garage who have previously made a child and an adult robot which appear to be male, have produced a "Female Type" bipedal robot.
Weighing just 800 grams and 35 centimetres tall the tiny Female Type (or FT), has a feminine shape and can strut along like a super model! Bipedal robots have always presented a challenge, since it's tricky to get a robot to walk and balance on two legs. A low centre of gravity helps, which would have made the robot look fat, so to counter this a lightweight motor was used, along with two sensors to detected if the robot starts to lean.
Souce: Mainichi Daily NewsDavie
Category > Anime
According to Manga News there is an interesting article about a robotic version of Me-Teru from the famous manga Gingatetsudo 999, or Galaxy Express 999 as a receptionist. This robot is working at the airport of Kita-Kyushu (the home town of its creator Leiji Matsumoto), and it is reported that Me-Teru has been programmed to answer around 200 questions!
Souce: Manga NewsSpike
As some of you may have noticed, we rather like our robots over here at Otaku News. So imagine our glee when we discovered that Hitachi and Hitachi building services are installing a new robotic desk clerk at the Grand Tokyo Bay Hotel.Joe
Japanese Toy maker Kyosho have produced a robot that can be assembled by the general public. The robot has been named Manoi is able to walk on two feet and kick a soccerball. Standing 40cm high the robot is marketed as being 1/5th the size of a human and is designed by Tomotaka Takahashi, who it appears has modelled the machine after Astroboy.
Manoi retails for around 150,000 Japanese Yen, which works out at $1270 US. However unlike Astroboy he cannot fly!
BBC News are running a story titled Europe Needs Bigger Robots Push, at first we were hoping the EU needs some Gundams or other giant mecha, but infact it's an interesting story about how advanced Japanese robot research is compared to Europe.
Apparently the EU is going to give a boost to selected companies to aid in their development of robots.
Souce: BBC NewsJoe
According to BBC News Professor Hiroshi Ishiguru of Osaka University has unveiled the most human looking robot yet devised. The android Repliee Q1 is female in appearance and can currently only sit in a fixed position. She has 31 actuators in her upper body, powered by a nearby air compressor which are programmed to allow her to move like a human. Q1 has a soft silicon skin instead of a hard plastic shell, she can turn and react in a human like manner. The article also mentions R1, a predecessor to Q1 also designed by Professor Ishiguru that has the appearance of a five year old Japanese girl.
Souce: BBC NewsJoe
Category > Anime
Those clever people at TechJapan have discovered an article on the renewal of the Gundam Museum which is run by Bandai. The renewal includes a "V Operations Cockpit Reproduction", where visitors can take pictures of themselves inside a Gundam cockpit, otaku will also want to see the 2 story (that's 5.6 meters / 18 feet) 1/1 scale model of Gundam A-Parts! The Otaku News Crew wonder if Bandai will release a 1/1 Perfect Grade kit of this. ^_-
According to Japan Today, Toshiba announced on Friday the development of two robots that the company defined as being "a life support partner".Davie
In Maebashi an enviromental machinery maker announced that it has developed a robot with features like the one in the Gundam Mobile Suit Animation Series.Joe
Japanese electronics firm Hitachi has unveiled its first humanoid robot, but unlike other Sony's Qrio or Honda's Asimo, Emiew has wheels instead of legs. Hitachi announced that it's the worlds quickest moving robot, able to move at 6km/h (3.7 miles per hour).
Eminew stands for Excellent Mobility and Interactive Existence as Workmate. The robot has a vocabulary of around 100 words, and is intended for practical office and factory use in as little as 5 to 6 years.
Japanese firms like Sony, Honda and Toyota have all unveiled robots to showcase their engineering talent and are currently used for Research and Development as well as big PR exercises. These robots are currently not for sale (unless you want to buy Sony's robot dog Aibo). Until the last few years bipedal robots have been hard to make since walking required a lot of quick processing power (you've got to balance, transfer weight, deal with momentum and so on), the Otaku News Crew suspect that along with the extra benefit of speed, Hitachi have decided to use wheels instead of legs because it is easier to produce a robot, their Mechanical Engineering Research Laboratory have produced a fascinating range of robots over the last 40 years, but to our knowledge none of them have only two legs.
The BBC News site has more details about Eminew, Honda's Asimo page has a great history section too.
Souce: BBC NewsSpike
A man in Wasilla, Alaska, USA has managed to construct his own giant robot in his parents back garden. The 18 foot mecha boasts shoulder-mounted 9-inch nail launchers and flame-throwers capable of a hefty 20 foot reach on the forearms, and just for that extra coolness factor, glowing red eyes. Interested readers can view the full article here, while The Otaku News crew check the price of asbestos body armour.
Souce: Juneau EmpireJoe
In a story that sounds more like an episode from a comedy anime series, several news websites are covering the details about a robot that has been programmed to record and then replay traditional Japanese dance. The clever researchers at the University of Tokyo are using this to preserve Japanese heritage, since fewer people are learning traditional Japanese dance and now only see it at local festivals.
The robot used for this project was the Humanoid Robot HRP-2 "Promet", from Kawada Industries, our mecha-head readers will already know that this was designed by Yutaka Izubuchi, who has design credits for many mecha in anime series.
The Otaku News Crew wonder if these robots can also play Dance Dance Revolution?!
BBC News have published a very interesting story about Toyota's latest concept vehicles which have been classed as personal mobility devices. The i-unit, a four wheeled leaf like transport looks like it will fit in many futuristic Sci-Fi show, it's built using organic materials, it even has an autopilot on equipped lanes.
What's probably got all of our mecha fan readers excited is Toyota's i-foot, it's a bipedal "robot-like device" (that's the BBC's way of saying mecha to their readers ^_-), it can apparently walk at about 1.35km/h (0.83mph) and even tackle staircases. The BBC article then goes on to talk about exoskeletons in the military and other possible uses for the concept vehicles.
Both these vehicles are on display at the Toyota Group Pavillion at Expo 2005 - Aichi, Japan, where Toyota's opening show even has music playing robots!
Souce: BBC NewsJoe
Yahoo! News are currently running a story about the Japanese Snuggling Ifbot, a 45cm (18 inch) robot that is programmed to provide just enough small talk to stop the elderly going senile through lack of communication. The robot is able to match several million patterns of word phrases when spoken to. The robot also adjusts it's speech based on the date and time.
'To a statement, "Isn't it nice today?", the robot could say, "It is a fine autumn day," by detecting the season from its internal clock.'
The robot currently is only able to speak Japanese and retails for 576,000 yen ($5,600 USD). The makers are planning to develop an English speaking version of the robot as a language aid to Japanese children learning English.
Souce: Yahoo! NewsJoe
BBC News are running an interesting article about a study at the University of Hertfordshire. They intend to learn about robots and robotiquette by playing games like pass-the-parcel. The idea of this experiment is develop the way future robots should behave in social situations. Anime and manga of course have many different solutions to this and in some cases I don't think the robot will pass the pacel along once it has it! ^_^
The BBC are also reporting that the demand for robots will increase increase drastically by 2007.
Souce: BBC NewsJoe
Souce: AME InfoSpike
Those clever guys over at UC Berkeley in California have successfully developed a military walking frame. The Berkeley Lower Extremity Exoskeleton (Codename BLEEX) is designed to aid the user by the use of mechanical leg braces and back support, allowing them to carry heavy loads over long distances. Theoretically such a system could be developed into powered armor or a control system for large scale robotics.
Reluctant pilots apply within...
Souce: UC BerkeleyJoe
The folks at Slashdot have brought to our attention a really cool new robot from Epson, the same company that makes all printers for your PC.
You can read the offical press release here, or the Slashdot crowds take on it.
Scientist Yoshiyuki Sankai is the proud creator of a real life robotic suit! Inspired by Isaac Asimov stories and the manga "Cyborg 009" and "Tetsujin No. 28". The suit called Hybrid Assistive Limb-3, is designed to improve the mobility of elderly and disabled people.Joe