robots

We don’t care about the calories, just give us our Gundam donuts!

Despite the traditional image of anime fans as couch potatoes whose consumption of junk food is only rivaled by their consumption of panty-flashing animation sequences, it’s only recently that gastronomy and Japanese animation have officially combined forces. Recently we heard about the giant, 10-patty Attack on Titan burger, but what if your tastes run less towards towering monsters and meat and more in the direction of giant robots and sweets?

If that’s the case, maybe you’d prefer a Gundam donut.

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Evangelion license plates sure to add visual impact to your ride

The very first time she came over to the swinging bachelor pad/pitiful bunker I used to live in back when we were dating, my wife immediately noticed that the one and only interior decoration I had was a California license plate mounted on the wall. To me, the blue on white design is immediately nostalgic and reassuring.

In Japan, though, ordinarily the only thing that differentiates plates issued in different parts of the country are the kanji characters written across their tops, so they don’t provide quite the same immediate visual shorthand of local pride. Unless you happen to live in the city of Hakone, where motorists can show their love of their hometown and giant robot anime all at once with new Evangelion license plates.

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Japanese company builds giant robot you could be piloting right now

Chiba Prefecture’s Wonder Festival is a bi-annual figure and model expo. The event’s bread and butter is figurine of anime and video game characters, in both frighteningly realistic and sexily unrealistic varieties.

But while the first thing most people associate with the event is toys, if your model is made of metal instead of plastic or urethane, and it’s self-propelled to boot, you’ve crossed the line of three-dimensional art and moved into straight-up engineering. Of course, Wonder Festival’s exhibitors aren’t going to stray too far from their fanciful roots, so what do you get when you combine technology with science fiction? You get this amazing giant robot, which is so easy to pilot that attendees could test drive it.

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Our anime dreams come true as we operate a robot suit from Appleseed

For years, science fiction movies have been teasing us with visions of high-tech wonders that remain frustratingly just out of reach. Where are our flying cars? Shouldn’t we at least have those hovering skateboards by now? How is it we can put a man on the moon, but we haven’t perfected an automated kitchen that can read our thoughts and cook what we want for dinner?

But today, the waiting ends for one of our technology-based dreams, as we operate a powered robot suit from anime and manga hit Appleseed.

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Apparently short on cash, Gundam takes a part-time job at 7-Eleven

With 35 years as Japan’s favorite mecha anime, the Gundam franchise has grown to include dozens of TV and direct-to-video animated series, manga comics, and video game adaptations. With such a long history, some of them are, of course, less successful than others. Certain fans shook their heads at V Gundam’s cast of middle schoolers. Others were baffled by G Gundam’s schoolgirl uniform-inspired robot designs. Even the TV series that started it all, 1979’s Mobile Suit Gundam, has more than its fair share of goofy villains of the week who come and go like so many Scooby Doo criminals.

But despite the franchise’s occasional detours into outright silliness, the 1988 theatrical release Char’s Counterattack enjoys almost universal acclaim, both for the gravitas of its story and the commensurate visuals. Which makes it all the more disheartening to see the robot piloted by the film’s hero apparently reduced to having to take a job at convenience store 7-Eleven.

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Awesome Japanese rescue robot probably won’t kill you

DARPA, the American agency commonly known for its hilarious supervillain-esque laser projects and weaponized dolphins, took time out of its wacky military inventions schedule to hold its Robotics Competition in Miami, Florida, where a humanoid robot from Japanese company Schaft, Inc. took top prize.

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Japanese company wants to send robots to the moon to build a laser to point at Earth (to help us, of course)

Right now, how terrified would you be if we told you that Shimizu Corporation, one of Japan’s largest and most powerful engineering and contracting conglomerates, is in the planning stages for a project to send a team of robots to the moon in order to build a laser to point at our home world?

Don’t worry though. Shimizu isn’t plotting to enslave the people of earth. Instead, the company is looking to provide us all with clean, renewable energy.

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Lexus releases swarm of automated robot helicopters in awesome new ad

In case you were wondering, no, Lexus, Toyota’s luxury marque, hasn’t decided to start selling helicopters. But while the car manufacturer is still firmly committed to ground-based transportation, Lexus is exploring new technology in hopes of making self-driving cars a reality, much like rivals Nissan and Honda.

To that end, Lexus has teamed up with the engineers at KMel Robotics to produce this amazing ad, under the automaker’s slogan of “Amazing in Motion.”

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Do you remember giant robots? Full-scale Macross Valkyrie lands in Yokohama

The deployment of anime mecha to Yokohama continues. Earlier this month the Ingram from police story Patlabor made an appearance in the bayside city, and now comes a life-size VF-25 Valkyrie from Macross Frontier.

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Japan’s giant robot proliferation continues as filming starts on live-action Patlabor movie

Japan loves its fictional robots. The adorable Doraemon and unsettling Evangelion are instantly recognizable to both young and old. The giant statue of Gundam in Tokyo has become a major tourist attraction, despite being in the middle of Odaiba, which was already a major entertainment district with no shortage of other, hipper attractions.

And now, another robot, the Patlabor, has joined Gundam in making the leap into the three-dimensional world, towering size intact.

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Giant robot design from Mobile Suit Gundam transformed into the manliest of man bags

One of the first major adjustments I had to make after moving to Japan was making a habit of carrying a bag with me whenever I go out. Having grown up in L.A., it took me a while to overcome the notion that bags were strictly for students and people with a double set of X chromosomes, but eventually I saw the light. If you live in an urban area of Japan, you’re reliant on public transportation. Without a car and a trunk to haul stuff in, a bag is really the only way to carry anything you can’t fit in your pocket but don’t want to hold in your hand all day.

Of course, my resistance might have broken down a lot quicker if I’d known about the upcoming man bag that makes you look like a giant robot.

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Fan creates video line-up of 174 real-life, anime and video game robots… in height order

Remember those science videos they used to show at school which began with the smallest known organism and zoomed out and out until the entire solar system filled the screen? Well imagine that but with almost every robot and mecha you could ever imagine thrown in for good measure.

Uploaded to Niconico Video by user Monako, the video “I Compared the Size of 174 Robots: Microman to Gurren Lagann” is making an appropriately huge splash online today as netizens play Name that Robot while marvelling at just how enormous some of these sci-fi creations are actually supposed to be. From Doraemon and Mega Man to Optimus Prime and Macross Quarter, this is one heck of a nerdy science lesson!

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Yes, Zima’s robot band will play metal and electronica, as long as you compose it for them

Zima never really took off in the U.S.. Molson Coors’ clear malt beverage never even made it out of puberty in its home market, lasting just 15 years before the last Zima made for American consumption shipped in 2008.

In Japan though, it’s been a solid hit, particularly at clubs. The company recently asked the lofty question of whether the way human beings party is advancing at the same rate of other aspects of our modern lifestyle, and has decided to give it an evolutionary kick in the backside by creating a robot party band.

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Baby’s First Warmachine: the Perfect Mech for Your Tiny Supervillians!

As with most weeks in Japan, robots seem to be dominating the news, but this one’s much cuter and waaaay more alarming.

Sakakibara Kikai (or Sakakibara Machines), a well established manufacturing company in Gunma Prefecture, has released a video of their KID’S WALKER CYCLOPS out for a test drive. (No buildings were destroyed by errant missiles in the filming of this video.) Read More

Tokyo Robot Can Think, Learn, and Apply Knowledge: Nothing to Fear Here!

It seems every time a news story about robots appears, someone inevitably freaks out, screaming about Skynet or the Matrix. Well, this time, they might be right!

While it lacks the dexterity and sweetness of other robots, this one can not only assess and comprehend its surroundings but also learn through the Internet! (Oh, please keep it away from Wikipedia. It’ll conquer the world in a month.) Read More

SECOM Unveils World’s First Flying Crime-prevention Robot


With shades of Minority Report, Japanese security services company SECOM unveiled an autonomous flying crime-prevention robot to the press on December 26. Basically a flying surveillance camera, the robot is the first of its kind in the world to be offered for private security use. Shuji Maeda, SECOM’s president, said he hoped to make the device available in 2014.
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