Tag: ‘War’

Samurai dog armor

12 Feb 2008

Samurai dog armor --

This suit of dog armor -- identified by antique Japanese armor dealer Toraba.Com as the only known and certified authentic example of its kind -- is believed to have been created for the pet of a wealthy, high-ranking and presumably eccentric samurai or daimyo (feudal lord) in the mid to late Edo period (mid-18th to mid-19th century). Although the carved wooden helmet and coat of black-lacquered scale mail would have provided effective protection against enemy attack, evidence suggests the canine never wore the armor into battle. More likely, the suit served as a decorative costume for parades and other formal ceremonial occasions. The samurai dog armor now belongs to an unnamed UK museum.

Samurai dog armor --

[Link: Toraba.Com (cached page) via Yachigusa Ryu]

$725,000,000 Gundam

11 Jan 2008

Gundam -- Ever wondered how much it would cost to build a working, life-sized Gundam robot? At least $725 million for the parts and materials, according to an estimate published on the SciencePortal website run by the Japan Science and Technology Agency. The price tag for this giant humanoid, which would stand 18 meters (60 feet) tall and weigh 43.4 metric tons (nearly 100,000 lbs), does not include the cost of labor (this is where an extensive pool of robot slave labor comes in handy), nor does it include the cost of the infrastructure needed to support the machine once you are ready to climb aboard and take it for a walk.

Estimated cost of Gundam parts:

Aluminum alloy (honeycomb) $1,800 43,875 $79,000,000
(+ Metal manufacturing/processing) $240,000,000
Main computer (IBM) $1,550,000 1 $1,550,000
Gas turbine engines (GE) $52,000,000 7 $364,000,000
Superconductive motors (IHI) $260,000 30 $7,800,000
Motor drivers $260,000 30 $7,800,000
Reducers $760,000 30 $22,800,000
Sensors $910,000
Cockpit $450,000
TOTAL: $724,310,000

Note that unlike in the anime, the Gundam described here would merely be able to walk -- it would not have the ability to fly or have any fancy weaponry. Also, instead of Gundanium, the robot would be covered in aluminum alloy plating.

Gundam -- An IBM Blue Gene supercomputer would serve as the Gundam's computer system ($1.5 million sounds like a steal), and its movements would be driven by 30 giant 400KW motors -- 12 in the legs, 2 in the torso, 14 in the arms, and 2 in the neck. A 400KW motor is quite powerful -- by comparison, some Shinkansen bullet trains use 300KW motors. The motors alone would cost $7.8 million, but to power them would require the equivalent of 7 Apache helicopter engines (the helicopters cost an estimated $52 million each).

While $700 million is a lot of money (more than the GDP of Liberia, Grenada and a dozen or so other nations), it does not seem like so much when you compare it to the cost of other large-scale machinery. Military tanks costs around $4 to $7 million each, commercial passenger planes cost around $200 to $300 million, rockets can cost around $100 million to launch, expensive fighter jets can cost billions, and aircraft carriers cost about $5 billion.

A robot of this size and stature would face a number of physical challenges, such as the inability to walk without completely destroying the ground surface beneath its feet. When humans walk, we exert about 1.5 times our body weight of pressure on the ground (and on our feet) with each step. This poses a huge problem for a 43-ton humanoid, which would probably need to have very wide feet (to distribute the pressure over a larger area) and walk very very slowly. Dinosaurs found a way to get around, though, so giant robots probably can, too.

But perhaps the greatest challenge of all would be to find the funding for an enormous walking machine with no apparent practical or military application. With no money, this Gundam will forever remain just a dream.

[Source: SciencePortal]


07 Jan 2008

Ill Machine (x Ultra Brain) --

The promo video for "ILL MACHINE (x ULTRA BRAiN)," a track off the recently released Nu Riot CD by Wagdug Futuristic Unity (a project involving Kyono of the Mad Capsule Markets), is set in a world 50 years hence (according to Kyono's blog), where heavily armed gas-masked clones battle giant machines that assemble themselves from trash and set out to cleanse the planet by blasting everything to smithereens. Directed by CG artist Satoshi Kuroda.


PET bottle armor

27 Sep 2007

PET bottle armor --

It takes only a few minutes to down a soft drink, but the plastic bottle it comes in is designed to last for centuries. In the eyes of Kosuke Tsumura, designer for the Final Home brand of urban survival clothing and accessories, the durability and abundance of PET plastic bottles makes them an ideal material for clothing...and armor. At the request of the world's largest cola cartel, Tsumura made this suit of armor by slicing up PET bottles and sewing the pieces together with transparent nylon thread. The armor may not hold up well in combat, but it looks cool as hell and it won't biodegrade until long after you are gone.

PET bottle armor --

[Link: Tsumura-Room]

Mickey the Knight

13 Jul 2007

Mickey the Knight ---

Mickey the Knight, a sculptural work by visionary neo-pop artist Yanobe Kenji, is a mouse-eared, gas-masked, fully-armored warrior who looks like a mutant samurai member of the Mickey Mouse Club.

According to Yanobe's notes, which were on display along with Mickey the Knight at a recent Yokosuka Museum of Art exhibit, he was invited to submit a Disney-themed piece for Disneyland's giant 50th anniversary celebration held in 2005. Known for work that explores issues like how to survive and have fun in post-apocalyptic settings, Yanobe drew inspiration from the legendary Mickey Mouse Gas Mask, an intriguing historical artifact whose background story reflects some of the themes found in Yanobe's work.

Mickey Mouse Gas Mask --- The Mickey Mouse Gas Mask was manufactured in 1942, at a time when segments of the American population, particularly those in Hawaii, feared a potential gas attack by the Japanese. With the permission of Walt Disney himself, 1,000 of the masks were produced for the US Army, who distributed them to civilians in the hope that the friendly, toy-like design would encourage children to carry them around and wear them for longer periods of time should an actual attack ever occur, thus improving their chances for survival. Apparently, this concept inspired Yanobe to create Mickey the Knight.

Unfortunately, however, Disney was not impressed with Yanobe's creation, and the big anniversary celebration passed without an invitation. Now, Mickey the Knight can be seen on occasion hanging out at museums and galleries. (The top photo shows Mickey the Knight at an installation in an old factory in Ibaraki prefecture, which was part of the Toride Art Project 2006.)

Video: Kansei robot fears war

07 Jun 2007

Kansei robot -- Kansei, a robot face capable of 36 expressions that vary according to emotional interpretations of words it hears, is the latest achievement to emerge from a Meiji University research lab working to develop conscious and self-aware robots. When Kansei hears a word, it uses software to access a database of 500,000 keywords, create word associations and determine an emotion -- ranging from happiness to sadness, anger and fear -- which is expressed by a system of 19 actuators under its silicone skin.

"What we are trying to do here is to create a flow of consciousness in robots so that they can make the relevant facial expressions," said project leader Junichi Takeno, a professor at Meiji University. "I believe that's going to be a key to improving communication between humans and robots."

Check out the video to see how Kansei reacts to the word "president."

Link: Reuters video

[Source: Yahoo!]

Neo-Ruins: Lithographs of post-apocalyptic Tokyo

10 May 2007

Neo-Ruins --
Shibuya Center Town

Neo-Ruins --

Neo-Ruins --

Neo-Ruins --
Ginza Chuo Dori

Neo-Ruins --
Ginza 4-chome Intersection

Hisaharu Motoda's "Neo-Ruins" series of lithographs depict the cityscape of a post-apocalyptic Tokyo, where familiar streets lie deserted, the buildings are crumbling and weeds grow from the broken pavement. The antique look of the lithographic medium effectively amps up the eeriness of the futuristic setting. "In Neo-Ruins I wanted to capture both a sense of the world's past and of the world's future," says Motoda on his website.

More images: 1, 2, 3

[Link: Hisaharu Motoda]

Video: Vintage robot rampage remix

13 Apr 2007

Old-school anime bots go wild in this video pieced together from the robot battle scenes in Toei's 1965 animated film Gulliver no Uchuu Ryokou ("Gulliver's Space Travels" or "Gulliver's Travels Beyond the Moon"). The video was created by Steven Wagner of Astropolitan Pictures, and the soundtrack is Japanoise band Melt-Banana's "Alpha Boost," which was remixed for Salvo Beta's Evil Against Evil compilation.

Hiroshima resets “peace clock” after NK nuclear test

11 Oct 2006

Peace Clock at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum -- The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum's Peace Watch Tower, which records the number of days since the last nuclear test, was reset on October 10, one day after North Korea conducted an underground nuclear test.

The peace clock's two digital displays show the number of days since the US atomic bombing of Hiroshima and the number of days since the last nuclear test was conducted. Before being reset on Monday, the clock read 40 -- the number of days since the US conducted a subcritical nuclear test at the end of August.

The clock was set up on August 6, 2001 on the 56th anniversary of the 1945 U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Over the past 5 years, the clock has been reset 11 times following each of the nuclear tests conducted by the US (some in cooperation with the UK) and Russia.

Museum director Koichiro Maeda says, "We are concerned that more nations will start to believe their national security can be strengthened by possessing nuclear weapons. It is extremely foolish." The museum is now considering making room for North Korea in the reference library exhibit, which displays information about nations possessing nuclear weapons.

About 300 survivors of the Hiroshima nuclear bombing gathered in the park near the museum condemning the possession and testing of all nuclear weapons by all nations.

[Source: Asahi Shimbun, Chunichi]