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?

A robot and Japanese sword master square off in the Yaskawa Bushido Project

In a matchup you do not come across everyday, a programmed Motoman-MH24 industrial robot and five time world record holder, samurai master Machii Isao face off to determine the better sword wielder. Commissioned by Yaskawa Electric Corporation, the robot’s manufacturer, the video depicts the advancement of technical engineering, coupled with the incredible skill of Isao.

Check out the amazing footage by hitting play on the video above.

15 of the most amazing home-made robots, tanks, and vehicles in China

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RocketNews 24:

China is known as an industrious nation and, after pictures surfaced of one Chinese teacher who built a phenomenal “Iron Man” Hulkbuster replica in his garage, it seemed like the right time to take a look at some of the country’s most impressive home made inventions.

From full size, working airplanes to wooden, yet electronic cars, the Chinese have spent anything from a couple of months to several years, knocking up some pretty impressive modes of transports and robots.

Liu Fulong from the Shenyang, Liaoning province created a wooden electronic vehicle at home, which has a top speed of 30km/h.liu-fulong-from-the-shenyang-liaoning-province-created-a-wooden-electronic-vehicle-at-home-which-has-a-top-speed-of-30kmh

Yu Jietao, 26-year-old wood carver, also saw the potential in wooden vehicles and spent 100,000 yuan (£10,247, $16,010) on his invention. It can travel as fast as 30 km/h per hour.yu-jietao-26-year-old-wood-carver-also-saw-the-potential-in-wooden-vehicles-and-spent-100000-yuan-10247-16010-on-his-invention-it-can-travel-as-fast-as-30-kmh-per-hour

In the Shiyan, Hubei province, Su Daocheng spent two months building a home made mechanical horse to travel around in.in-the-shiyan-hubei-province-su-daocheng-spent-two-months-building-a-home-made-mechanical-horse-to-travel-around-in

A man only identified as Abulajon, in the Xinjiang Uighur autonomous region in China, spent 8000 yuan (£820, $1300) to create the 0.3 tonnes motorcycle. However, measuring 14 feet (4.3 metres) in length and 7.8 feet (2.4 metres) in height, makes it impossible for him to drive it on the street.a-man-only-identified-as-abulajon-in-the-xinjiang-uighur-autonomous-region-in-china-spent-8000-yuan-820-1300-to-create-the-03-tonnes-motorcycle-however-measuring-14-feet-43-metres-in-length-and-78-feet-24-metres-in-height-makes-it-impossibl

He Liang went for the minimalist option and spent a decade turning a suitcase into a motor-driven vehicle. It has a top speed of 20km/h.he-liang-went-for-the-minimalist-option-and-spent-a-decade-turning-a-suitcase-into-a-motor-driven-vehicle-it-has-a-top-speed-of-20kmh

Here, an unidentified man from the Heilongjiang province created a home made 12 brooms tied in the rear to help him clean the road in Mohe.
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Yang Shijun, a 45-year-old manager of a construction material company, spent 100,000 yuan (£10,228, $16,098) and one year of his time to make this plane. Yang said he made it as a tribute to his father who passed away in 2011 but had been a pilot for 29 years.yang-shijun-a-45-year-old-manager-of-a-construction-material-company-spent-100000-yuan-10228-16098-and-one-year-of-his-time-to-make-this-plane-yang-said-he-made-it-as-a-tribute-to-his-father-who-passed-away-in-2011-but-had-been-a-pilot-for-
Meanwhile, Liu Shijie, a 35-year-old farmer from the Huaibei, Anhui province, took six months and spent 30,000 yuan (£3,074, $4,850) to make a homemade armoured vehicle.meanwhile-liu-shijie-a-35-year-old-farmer-from-the-huaibei-anhui-province-took-six-months-and-spent-30000-yuan-3074-4850-to-make-a-homemade-armoured-vehicle

Another farmer, Zhang Wuyi, 37, created a multi-seater submarine at home to help harvest aquatic products, such as sea cucumber. He sold his invention to sold to a businessman in Dalian at a price of 100,000 yuan (£10,248, $15,855) in 2014.another-farmer-zhang-wuyi-37-created-a-multi-seater-submarine-at-home-to-help-harvest-aquatic-products-such-as-sea-cucumber-he-sold-his-invention-to-sold-to-a-businessman-in-dalian-at-a-price-of-100000-yuan-10248-15855-in-2014

Yang Zongfu spent two years creating a ball container named Noah’s Ark of China. It is capable of housing a three-person family and sufficient enough food for them to live for 10 months.yang-zongfu-spent-two-years-creating-a-ball-container-named-noahs-ark-of-china-it-is-capable-of-housing-a-three-person-family-and-sufficient-enough-food-for-them-to-live-for-10-months

Tan Yong, a 44-year-old farmer, created a home-made submarine at a lake in Dangjiangkou, Hubei province. He spent five months building it and now it is capable of diving to a depth of 10 metres.tan-yong-a-44-year-old-farmer-created-a-home-made-submarine-at-a-lake-in-dangjiangkou-hubei-province-he-spent-five-months-building-it-and-now-it-is-capable-of-diving-to-a-depth-of-10-metres

Farmer Wu Yulu started to build robots in 1986 and, by 2009, he unveiled this rickshaw that is being pulled by a robot.farmer-wu-yulu-started-to-build-robots-in-1986-and-by-2009-he-unveiled-this-rickshaw-that-is-being-pulled-by-a-robot

In Beijing, self-taught inventor Tao Xiangli spent less than a year and 300,000 yuan (£30,750, $49,037) to create a home made humanoid robot with a remote controller. However, it is too heavy and too tall to walk out of his front door.china-invention-8

Xing Yile (L), a 26-year-old middle school art teacher, took two months to build a homemade replica of the Hulkbuster “Iron Man” armoured suit from the movie “Avengers: Age of Ultron.”xing-yile-l-a-26-year-old-middle-school-art-teacher-took-two-months-to-build-a-homemade-replica-of-the-hulkbuster-iron-man-armoured-suit-from-the-movie-avengers-age-of-ultron

A man in China identified only as “Xing” made this suit in a parking lot.

Meanwhile, Li Lei from Shanghai builds an array of “Transformers” robot replicas for rent and for sale.meanwhile-li-lei-from-shanghai-builds-an-array-of-transformers-robot-replicas-for-rent-and-for-sale

Business_Insider

Tohoku University develops flying drone and crawling robot to measure radiation levels in Fukushima nuclear plant

Tohoku University develops flying robot to measure radiation levels
House of Japan:
A research team at Tohoku University has developed a robot capable of being sent aloft and surveying radiation levels inside the reactor building of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
The propeller-driven device, unveiled March 12, will be carried on a rolling robot, which can move through debris-filled areas. Both can be dispatched into highly radioactive areas where plant workers cannot enter.

Designed for use inside the Fukushima plant reactor buildings, the flying robot, weighing 2.6 kilograms, can withstand deadly radiation levels as high as 10 sieverts per hour.

The crawler robot it sits atop weighs 75 kg. Rolling on belts looped over the wheels, the robot can crawl around debris and up stairs. It is controlled remotely using a 250-meter cable.

The project was commissioned by the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy at a cost of 180 million yen ($1.5 million).

This Japanese robot feeds you tomatoes while you run

This Japanese Robot Feeds You Tomatoes While You Run

Gizmodo:

Okay, it’s not exactly a robot—but I bet it’s still the craziest thing you’ve seen all day. Japanese juice and ketchup company Kagome built a wearable tomato dispenser for a runner at the Japan Marathon this weekend.

The video pretty much speaks for itself:

What’s really going on here? Believe it or not, it’s a PR stunt to promote tomatoes over bananas. Dole Japan has sponsored the Japan Marathon since 2008, and reportedly provides giant bins of bananas every year to keep runners going. Kagome would obviously love if those runners picked tomatoes instead.

North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un’s new haircut makes him look like an evil anime mecha

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RocketNews 24:

Whether they’re being called dear, supreme, or great, North Korea takes the image of its top leaders very seriously. After all, this is the same country which claims the late Kim Jong-il, in his first round of golf, finished 38 shots under par (in case you’re not familiar with the technical terms, one under par is a “birdie,” two under is an “eagle,” and 38 under is generally referred to as a “crock”).

So it’s a little surprising that current head of hermit state Kim Jong-un’s fashion consultants have let him rock a hairstyle that seems to perfectly gel with the rest of the world’s image of North Korean dictatorship as cartoonish supervillainry, with a ‘do that makes him look like one of the antagonist mecha from classic anime Mobile Suit Gundam.

Since assuming power in 2012, Kim Jong-un’s been gradually filling into his role as unchallenged ruler of North Korea. While he was always known for his cherubic facial structure, the Supreme Leader seems to have packed on a few more pounds during his first two years in office, and in recent photos has been sweeping back his boyish bangs, perhaps in an effort to adopt a more dignified and commanding persona.

Not everyone is convinced this taller hairstyle is the way to go, though. Combined with, for some reason, much shorter eyebrows, some say it gives the 32-year-old a “creepy” vibe.

View image on Twitter

We have to agree that there’s something just a little sinister about Kim Jong-il’s voluminous flattop in the above photo. Somehow, it’s just a little too precise. As a matter of fact, it’s almost robotic.

Speaking of robots:

View image on Twitter

Pictured on the right is the MSM-08 Zogok, an 18.8-meter (61.7-foot) amphibious warmech used by the Gundam franchise’s recurring villains Zeon in 1986’s Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ TV series, and also in the more recent Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn direct-to-video series.

▼ The Zogok even strikes menacing, dictator-like poses on occasion.

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So did Kim Jong-il walk into his barber, carrying some bootleg Gundam DVDs procured in neighboring China, and tell his hairstylist, “I want that!” while pointing at the Zogok? That seems a bit on the nose, considering the side that builds and operates the mobile suit in the anime is so unabashedly fascist that its battle cry is “Sieg Zeon!”

 

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At the same time, it’s hard to imagine Kim Jong-il doesn’t look exactly as he wants to in the above pictures. After all, if he had so much as a hair out of place, we’re sure North Korea’s crack photo editing team would spring into action and do such a great job that we’d never be able to tell the images were retouched.

Meet hyperreal android “Asuna”

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RocketNews 24:

Wonder Festival is a semiannual Japanese convention dedicated to model and figure-building which attracts all manner of pros, amateurs, and cosplayers from across the country. Most recently, the Winter 2015 Wonder Festival was held at the Makuhari Messe Convention Center in Chiba City on February 8.

Our reporter Meg was busy checking out the show when she spotted a cute girl standing behind robotic company A-Lab’s booth. “Aww, she looks just like an idol from AKB48!” Meg thought. But when she got closer, she was shocked to realize that the girl was actually a hyperreal-looking android! In fact, many of the people attending the exhibition were equally stunned to learn that Asuna was an android, and not a living, breathing human girl. Would you have been tricked along with them?

Asuna, the android that’s attracting attention from all over the world

People often look at humanoid robots and think “That’s creepy!” However, Asuna is so human-like that you might find yourself thinking “She’s cute!” instead. Researchers have determined that there is a human instinct to react with disgust when people see something, such as a doll or robot, that appears to be too human while still falling short of looking exactly like the real thing. That said, researchers are now investigating the possibility that extremely human-like robots such as Asuna have the ability to bypass this repulsion entirely and be viewed merely as other people instead.

According to her official profile, Asuna is a beautiful 15-year-old who was “born” in Tokyo. She is 155 cm tall (61 inches) and weighs 43 kg (95 lbs).

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Our reporter felt an instant affinity to Asuna’s lifelike movements

Sure, you’ve probably seen pictures of humanlike robots before, but the true charm behind this android lies in her movements. Meg comments that she was blown away by the sheer naturalness of Asuna’s mannerisms. From the way she blinks and squeezes her eyes shut to the shape her mouth makes as if she were about to yawn, Asuna is truly on a different level from other androids.

Take a look at Asuna’s incredibly lifelike facial movements in the following video:

What it feels like to touch one of Asuna’s ears

Meg felt like the secret behind Asuna’s lifelike appearance had something to do with her skin, so she was pleased to learn that visitors to the booth could touch a sample of one of Asuna’s ears. Expecting to touch something hard, Meg was surprised to feel something soft and squishy instead. “Hey, this actually feels kind of nice,” she thought. Apart from having no warmth, it actually felt similar to a real girl’s ear.

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A-Lab, the same company that built the “Matsukoroid”

The folks at Tokyo-based A-Lab have been involved with many projects, of which Asuna is just one. They are in fact the same company that developed the“Matsukoroid,” another android that could be a carbon copy of Matsuko Deluxe, the plus-sized Japanese TV personality known for his cross-dressing stage persona and deep voice. “Matsukoroid” will reportedly join the real Matsuko as early as this April on a new TV program appropriately called “Matsuko and Matsuko.”

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We’ll leave you now with some more photos of Asuna from Wonder Festival. Who knows, maybe a robotic idol group isn’t that far from reality!

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