Gundam vs. Gundam

Posted by Michael Pinto on Dec 1, 2009 in Animation, Fandom, Tech

This video of two Gundam robots slugging it out is from the recent 2009 International Robot Exhibition. I like how the decapitated Gundam continues to dance after defeat…

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Why Can’t Hollywood Compete with Japanese Giant Robots?

Posted by Michael Pinto on Nov 11, 2009 in Animation, Cinema, Hobbies and Collections

Avatar AMP Suit

Yes I know James Cameron will make a billion dollars with Avatar. But you know what Cameron will never know how to do? Create a damn high quality giant robot that kids will want to buy thirty years from now! Shown above is the reason why: The Avatar AMP Suit (shown above) looks like a left over prop from the film Aliens: Read more…

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Students Recreate Knight Rider

Posted by Michael Pinto on Oct 25, 2009 in Tech

Some Stanford students have put together a autonomous running robot car by hacking an Audi TTS. The car was designed so it can race to the top of Pikes Peak in 2010, however the robot car reminded me a great deal of KITT from the 1982 TV series Knight Rider: Read more…

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A Virtual Pet Pig Alarm Clock to Oink You Awake

Posted by Michael Pinto on Oct 12, 2009 in Hobbies and Collections, Tech

The Pet'z (PEZ) PET-6008-PK Sandra animated alarm clock

If you’re too poor to afford an internet toy like the Chumby (which still costs $200) the next best thing may be the Pet’z (PEZ) PET-6008-PK Sandra animated alarm clock which costs about $32 plus shipping from Japan. This toy pig does double duty by acting as an alarm clock and virtual pet (which will get angry if you don’t feed it). The pink critter has the ability to produce animal sounds and features nine types of animated facial expressions: Read more…

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Vocaloid Android Creeps Me Out!

Posted by Michael Pinto on Oct 10, 2009 in Tech

This is video footage from the CEATEC conference in Japan which ends today: The show has a focus on cutting edge digital and electronics work. Shown above is a very eerie looking cosplay attired robot which uses Vocaloid software. What’s odd about this robot is that she blinks her eyes; In fact when I first looked at this video below it took me a bit to figure out (out of context of course) that I wasn’t looking at an actual human doing cosplay at an anime con: Read more…

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Gigantor: 6 Full Scale Videos of a 60 Foot Tall Robot

Posted by Michael Pinto on Oct 6, 2009 in Animation

Gigantor statue in Kobe, JapanWeighing in at about 50 tons and costing $1.5 million dollars the now famous Gigantor (原寸大鉄人28号) statute is the hit of Kobe, Japan. I figured at this point that everyone has seen all the photos of this 60 foot tall wonder, however some amazing videos are just starting to flood YouTube. Here are some of the coolest that I’ve come across so far that can give you a sense of scale: Read more…

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Does Your Health Insurance Include Robot Bear Coverage?

Posted by Michael Pinto on Aug 29, 2009 in Tech

Is it me or do you get the feeling that the team that designed the RIBA Robotic Assistance Bear had the entire robot designed — but then only after the fact slapped a moe looking bear head on the poor creature just to get some press? And as much as I love bears from a marketing point of view I just don’t think of them as a nurses best friend! Read more…

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Superdeformed Cola Zoids

Posted by Michael Pinto on Jul 24, 2009 in Hobbies and Collections

Cola Zoids

Tomy has released a cute line of Zoids which you can win if you buy certain soft drinks in Japan including Coca Cola, tea爽健beauty, and Fanta Zero Cider: Read more…

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RoboGeisha: I’m Surprised Nobody Thought of This Gimmick Before!

Posted by Michael Pinto on Jul 2, 2009 in Cinema

RoboGeisha is an upcoming film from writer/director Noboru Iguchi (井口昇). The trailer for this film (which will be released in 2010) looks quite campy, although I’d have to say that’s what makes me want to watch it! Read more…

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Japanese Retro Robot Memory Sticks

Posted by Michael Pinto on Jun 29, 2009 in Hobbies and Collections

AntDesignStore ROBOT Memory

The AntDesignStore is a Japanese version of Archie McPhee of sorts, they offer a wide range of novelties from this cute laptop chair to cat themed sleeping masks. Shown above is a line of their colorful looking retro robot line of USB memory sticks which are available at geekstuff4u.com. What’s cool about the design of these robots is that their LEDs light up when you plug them into your computer. Read more…

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Clockwork: A Homebrewed Stop Motion Robot Animation from Japan

Posted by Michael Pinto on Jun 19, 2009 in Animation

Clockwork is a short animated film that stars a cute robot girl named Hina. Being a caffeine addict the idea of robot making a morning brew caught my attention right away, but I have to say that the design of the robot is great and the animator did a great job of picking a refreshing soundtrack for this sweet little short. Here are some wonderful photos of Hina: Read more…

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Not a Bad First Attempt for an Anime Robot from Disney!

Posted by Michael Pinto on Apr 28, 2009 in Animation

figma Drossel von Flügel figure

I was quite pleasantly surprised that the above robot design was created by Disney! Earlier this year Disney cracked the Japanese market with a show called Fireball which was designed to appeal to a Japanese audience (with some help from Toei who did all of the heavy lifting). The main character is a robot-girl named Hatsune Miki who also goes by “Drossel” is a mech-girl — shown above is a figurine based on her character (which can be pre-order from National Console Support). Sadly Fireball didn’t do too great because a second season isn’t in the works, but here’s a bit of video to give you a taste: Read more…

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Reprise of the Robo-Girls: A Brief History of Virtual Idols

Posted by Guest Author on Apr 21, 2009 in Animation, Tech

Kyoko Date: The first virtual idol singer from a 1996 Magazine Cover

Virtual idols have been around longer than you think — shown above is a magazine cover featuring Kyoko Date from 1996. In this article Nick Kent gives us his insights:

The interesting “real” Robo-Girl in the pop culture room is Hatsune Miku, who really is software:

She’s a second generation Windows voice synthesis software released in 2007 that anyone can buy at mainstream Japanese software retailer for around $150. With a slightly difficult user interface software one can program her to sing anything in a voice that’s now not far out of place on the pop charts. The Vocaloid technology was created by Yamaha and then licensed to developers, namely Crypton who developed the character and voice. Read more…

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Invasion of the Robo-Girls: J-Pop Cyber Sounding Singers

Posted by Guest Author on Apr 20, 2009 in Japanese TV, Tech

The J-Pop band Perfume

In this article pop culture pundit Nick Kent gives us his insights into the growing trend of J-Pop singers who want to sound cyber:

I’ve been noticing a mini-trend in Japanese pop music lately consisting of pretty female singers singing with android sounding vocals rather than natural sounding ones. I can’t help but to think Cher’s 1998 hit single “Believe” makes her the Borg Queen of this phenomenon: Read more…

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Erector Spykee Robots: Toy Fair 2009

Posted by Michael Pinto on Feb 18, 2009 in Hobbies and Collections, Tech

Erector Spykee Robots

Sometimes it takes just the right twist to make something interesting, in this case the Spykee Spy is a WiFi robot which is controlled remotely by you but the cool thing is that the robot can take pictures and video. So while at work your robot can wander about your home and report back to you. Each robot features a bitmaped face which lends some humor to the design. But best of all certain models of the robots can act as a cradle for your iPod or iPhone (which is a nice touch):

Erector Spykee Robots Read more…

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Hexbugs: Toy Fair 2009

Posted by Michael Pinto on Feb 18, 2009 in Hobbies and Collections, Tech

Hexbugs: Toy Fair 2009

I hate insects with a passion but my favorite new toy line of the entire show was Hexbug — this is a collection of actual working robots each of which is equipped with a different type of sensor (light, sound, motion, etc.) which effects how it interacts with you. I’ve seen these sorts of creatures before made by robotic fanboys, but this product will bring these sorts of critters more into the mainstream as they very low priced (I was told they were going for about $10 on average – you can buy the entire line of 10 for $100 too). In fact the CEO of the company told me that kids were using these toys as fundraisers for science fairs in order to build their own robotic creations. Here are the Hexbugs in action at the fair:

Read more…

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The Man Behind Beloved Robot is Unplugged: Bob May Passes Away

Posted by Michael Pinto on Jan 19, 2009 in Television

Danger Will Robinson! Any fanboy who has loved the 60s sci fi drama Lost in Space knows that one of the more interesting characters in the show was the Robot. Sadly the the man behind the robot just passed away — his name was Bob May. It should be noted that Bob didn’t give the robot his voice — that privilege belonged to Dick Tufeld. Although silent you could say that May was the man pulling the strings of the puppet and bringing him to life.

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Robo Dog: DIY Robotics on the Streets of London

Posted by Michael Pinto on Dec 11, 2008 in Hobbies and Collections, Tech

In this video Lyle of the Mutoid Waste Company shows off his fire breathing Robo Dog creation to the public. The Mutoid crew dates back to the mid-80s when they started out as an arts collective that would hold huge parties that would feature all sorts of neat mega sized kit bashed creations — sort of like the Burning Man of England. Read more…

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Robotto Paruta: Quirky Cardboard Robot Anime

Posted by Michael Pinto on Nov 29, 2008 in Animation, Japanese TV

I always love discovering anime that isn’t what you’d expect — there’s a real wealth of amazing kids cartoons that many fanboys just don’t know about: Robotto Paruta (ロボットパルタ) got started as a segment within the 1994 NHK show Cartoon Bubble Wrap. The series was directed by Katsushi Yasuda and in 2005 Pony Canyon released a four volume DVD set (which I couldn’t find, however you can buy quite a few DVDs from the series at Amazon.jp).

Robotto Paruta ロボットパルタ

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Mobot the Magnificent Mobile Robot

Posted by Michael Pinto on Nov 20, 2008 in Science

Mobot the magnificent mobile robot invented by Hughes Aircraft Electronic Labs. 1961

The year is 1961 and Hughes Aircraft Electronic Labs is set to revolutionize the world with Mobot the Magnificent Mobile Robot. Mobot is slightly larger than several refrigerators put together and this mechanical marvel will automate every mission critical task in your life like doing your nails, zipping up your dress, and helping you comb your hair while looking at yourself in a mirror. The only minor catch is that Mobot requires a college educated engineer at the controls the robot 24/7 in a little booth in the corner. I wonder why this gizmo didn’t catch on?

Mobot the magnificent mobile robot invented by Hughes Aircraft Electronic Labs. 1961 Read more…

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Props to Lockwasher for Roboskater

Posted by Michael Pinto on Oct 29, 2008 in Hobbies and Collections

Roboskater

I’ve always admired the mechanical creations of Lockwasher. What’s wonderful about this robot is that he a definite sense of boyish excitement about him mixed with with a just a tad of punk attitude in his skull and cross bones emblem.

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