Voltron returns in new Netflix series… starring Steven Yeun!

Angry Asian Man:

Last weekend at WonderCon, DreamWorks Animation unveiled new artwork and footage for its highly anticipated upcoming original series Voltron: Legendary Defender, premiering June 10 on Netflix. They also introduced the voice cast, which includes none other than The Walking Dead star Steven Yeun.

Inspired by the classic, fan-favorite 1980s cartoon series, executive producer Joaquim Dos Santos and co-executive producer Lauren Montgomery — the team behind The Legend of Korra and Avatar: The Last Airbender— reimagine the Voltron legend in an all-new comedic, action-packed animated saga.

The series follows five teenage friends who embark upon an epic journey when they are transported from Earth into the middle of a sprawling intergalactic war, and become pilots for five robotic lions in the battle to protect the universe from evil. Only through the power of teamwork can they unite to form the might warrior Voltron!

The voice cast includes Kimberly Brooks as Princess Allura; Rhys Darby as Coran; Josh Keaton as Shiro, Black Lion; Tyler Labine as Hunk, Yellow Lion; Jeremy Shada as Lance, Blue Lion; Bex Taylor-Klaus as Pidge, Green Lion; and Steven Yeun as Keith, Red Lion.

Thirteen episodes of Voltron: Legendary Defender debut on June 10, exclusively on Netflix.

Artist re-imagines political bigwigs as fearsome mechanized transforming robots

transformers 3

RocketNews 24 (by KK Miller):

The leaders of countries are like super heroes on the political world stage to some people. So why not envision them as Autobots, the heroes of the Transformers franchise?

Artist Gunduz Agayev has transformed a number of the world’s political leaders with his art, mashing together heads of state with instantly recognizable vehicles from their country. The floor of the UN national assembly would be very different if everyone could transform into these alien robots.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin

President of USA Barack Obama

President of Turkey Erdogan

Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un

Queen Elizabeth (United Kingdom)

Supreme Leader of Iran Ali Khamenei

 

Brendan Tang’s “mechanized vases” morph Ming-style ceramics with the biomorphic mechas of comics, manga, anime and sci-fi

Brendan Tang - Ceramics

Beautiful Decay (by Hayley Evans):

Brendan Tang is a ceramic artist who sculpts elaborate pieces that fuse together various cultural imageries and traditions. The series of work featured here, titled Manga Ormolu, can best be described as “mechanized vases”—vases that combine Ming-style ceramics with the biomorphic mechas of comic books and science fiction.

The forms are abstract and futuristic-looking; there are pots and plates with rocket engines, valves, wires, tubes, and more. Some of the creations seem to be caught in the moment of “turning,” creasing ceramic skin to expose the robotic structures beneath. As objects of curiosity and ambiguity, Tang’s works look as unpredictable and otherworldly as they do beautiful and decorative.

The seamless hybridity of Tang’s Manga Ormolu explore contemporary discourses on technology and globalization. Born in Ireland to Trinidadian parents and currently residing in Canada, Tang brings his own diverse background and experience into his work. As his sculptures evolve into unique cultural-technological beings, they comment on how disparate cultural histories are encountering each other in the present-day world—and the speed at which they are doing so. The harmony embodied by each vase-hybrid, however, also seems to signify a unique form of transnational identity: one that overcomes the limitations and demarcations of national borders without losing its sense of culture and history.

Visit Tang’s website and Instagram to view more of his works.

Brendan Tang - Ceramics

Brendan Tang - Ceramics

Brendan Tang - Ceramics

Brendan Tang - CeramicsBrendan Tang - CeramicsBrendan Tang - CeramicsBrendan Tang - Ceramics

Giant Gundam headed for Hong Kong

Unicorn Gundam

RocketNews 24 (by Aleisha Riboldi):

Citizens of Hong Kong, brace yourself. An exciting Gundam exhibition is headed your way. This summer, as part of a month-long exhibition in Hong Kong, a giant  Gundam statue – something not usually seen outside of Japan’s Odaiba Bay in Tokyo – will be on display.

This isn’t the first time that Hong Kong has hosted a Gundam display; two years ago, there was an exhibit featuring a stand-off between an RX-78 Gundam statue and a Char’s Zaku statue. This time around, the exhibition will feature several giant displays including a 1:3 scale statue of an RX-0 Unicorn Gundam suspended Wing Gundam, a three-metre (approx. 10-foot) wide S-06F Zaku II head, and two-metre (6.5 foot) tall Gundam Build Fighters TRY statues.

Gundam build fighters

Gundam suspended

According to the Gundam Global Portal Facebook page, there will also be the chance to meet director Kazuhiro Furuhashi and voice actor Koki Uchiyama from the anime series Mobile Suit Gundam UC. In addition, there will be lots of limited-edition model kits and items as well as a display of Hajime Katoki’s Gundam art which has never been exhibited outside of Japan.

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Occupying Hong Kong’s Time Square, the exhibit will no doubt be hard to miss. The event, titled “Gundam docks at Hong Kong II“, will only be on exhibit for a limited time running from August 1-31.

Haneda Airport to give their workers super-human strength with robotic exoskeletons

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RocketNews 24:

A number of developed countries around the world are experiencing declining birth rates, as people focus more on building careers and social life than on repopulating for future generations. While lower birth rates aren’t necessarily a bad thing — they tend to arise from increased education in a society — it can prove worrisome for countries like Japan, which experts predict will see a population decline of more than 20 million people by the year 2040.

With a skyrocketing number of centenarians and not enough people to support them, what’s a country to do? There is the option of recruiting more women into the workforce, or increasing the number of immigrants to fill in the gaps, but with so many elderly people on hand, why not keep them working by giving them the power to get the hard work done with robotic exoskeletons?

Haneda Airport in Tokyo has partnered up with Japanese robotics company Cyberdyne to give their workers the extra strength needed for the back-breaking task of lifting heavy luggage. The tool for the job? A robotic exoskeleton called HAL for Labor Support, HAL being short for hybrid assisted limb.

The company previously introduced a full-body robotic suit back in 2013, called HAL. This newer version is much smaller, and uses bioelectric signals from the wearer’s muscles to aid in movement, effectively allowing someone who weighs 110 lbs (around 50 kg) to easily lift up to 45 lbs (23 kg).

roboskel

The HAL apparatus itself is super lightweight and, as Cyberdyne states on its website, since “…the devices are designed so light that female or elderly workers can wear, they will encourage the participation of those various people into a society with a low birthrate and aging population.”

When you don’t have enough workers to do the backbreaking labor, why not bring in some robotically-enhanced elderly people to do the job?

While the device is meant to help people lift and move objects beyond their normal physical means, Cyberdyne CFO Shinji Uga also stated: “The main purpose of this type of robot is to prevent back pain.”

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In addition to the exoskeleton, Cyberdyne has also introduced floor robots (resembling giant Roombas) that can cart loads up to 400 lbs (181 kg) and can also clean airport terminals. Hopefully it won’t end up making any messes worse…

▼ Check them out in action

Real life giant mecha duel planned between USA and Japan

Otaku USA:

You may remember the 2012 announcement of a real, functioning giant robot prototype called Karatas, by Suidobashi Heavy Industries of Japan. A human pilot can actually sit inside the cockpit, drive it down the streets, manipulate its arms, and deploy its weapons. Intended as an “art piece” and not a military weapon, it comes equipped with a “LOHAS Launcher” designed to fire water-propelled plastic bottle rockets which “from time to time… will hit its target”, and a twin gatling gun which fires airsoft pellets at 6000 rounds per minute whenever the pilot smiles (yes, you read that right).

Much of this has to be seen in the demonstration video to be believed. Despite a top speed of only about 10 miles per hour, it’s pretty impressive to see it cruising through traffic. The heads-up display inside the cockpit looks like something out of an scifi movie, but actually works! Aside from being showcased in a few different art exhibits throughout Japan, the Karatas appeared as an enemy robot in the first episode of Next Generation Patlabor, and in a 2013 Real Escape Game event in Makuhari Messe, Chiba.

Inspired by the Karatas, an American company called Megabots Inc. spent the last few years quietly developing a competitor. They debuted their prototype in a video sent to Suidobashi Heavy Industries earlier this week, challenging the Japanese team to a robot duel planned to happen in one year’s time.

Designed with the concept of robot fighting in mind, the Megabot Mark II fires 3lb paint cannonballs at 100 mph and requires two pilots to operate. One has to question the utility of a paint marker that shatters automobile windows on impact, but hey – it looks really amazing! Unfortunately this capability may not get to be utilized at all anyway, as Suidobashi’s reply accepted the challenge on the condition that the contest take the form of a melee duel.

The major question now is how these mecha designers will manage to solve the problem of pilot safety while pitting these multi-ton monstrosities against eachother at close range. Will Suidobashi back down on the melee fighting concept and opt for a giant robot paintball match, or will both sides show up to the match with clever ideas up their sleeve for non-lethal robot melee weapons?