Tag: ‘Yokohama’

Giant robot spider in Yokohama (pics/ video)

19 Apr 2009

La Princesse mechanized spider in Yokohama --

A pair of giant robotic spiders designed and built by French performance art group La Machine have come to Yokohama to take part in the upcoming Expo Y150, a 5-month festival commemorating the 150th anniversary of the opening of the city's port.

La Princesse giant spider robot in Yokohama --

Although the Expo Y150 festivities are not scheduled to officially begin until the end of April, the enormous steampunk spiders could be seen prowling the Yokohama waterfront this weekend.

Here is some superb video of the spectacle on Friday (April 17) night, when one of the 12-meter (40-ft) tall, 37-ton mechanical spiders was observed in the red brick warehouse area of Yokohama -- far from its natural habitat of Nantes, France.

+ Video

On Saturday (April 18) evening, one of the mechanical spiders performed a water dance at Shinko Pier while the other looked on from its perch atop a nearby shipping container. For the performance, the spider moved its mechanical legs and shot steam and water and from its mouth and rear end, while suspended over the water from a large crane. Water cannons, fog machines, lights and live atmospheric music added to the drama.

La Machine's mechanical spider in Yokohama --

On Sunday (April 19), both spiders were scheduled to depart Shinko Pier, take a stroll up Nihon-Odori street, and head back to the red brick warehouse area.

La Machine's giant arachnid robot in Yokohama --

La Machine's giant spiders will be on public display at Expo Y150 from April 28 to September 27.

Photos: Robo Japan 2008

12 Oct 2008

Here are some of the friendly faces seen at the Robo Japan 2008 exhibition held at Pacifico Yokohama Hall this weekend.

Noir at Robo Japan 2008 --

The Kanagawa Institute of Technology exhibited Noir, a blue-eyed "grandchild" robot designed to communicate with and help take care of the elderly. This modified version of Vstone's Robovie-R robot can carry on a basic conversation, sing songs, and play rock-paper-scissors.

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ReborgQ at Robo Japan 2008 -- MKR-003 at Robo Japan 2008 --
Reborg-Q // MKR-003

Security firm ALSOK showed off Reborg-Q (left), a patrolling security robot that keeps an eye out for suspicious activity in public places while entertaining the kids. Keio University's MKR-003 (right) is an autonomous robot designed to carry medical supplies around inside hospitals. The robot can map and understand its own location inside the hospital, avoid obstacles, and verbally communicate with human co-workers and hospital visitors.

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Gray-brown Paro at Robo Japan 2008 --
Gray-brown Paro

The uber-famous Paro "Mental Commit Robot" appeared in various colors at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) booth.

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Manoi at Robo Japan 2008 --
Manoi athlete humanoids

Kyosho exhibited their line of Manoi humanoid athlete robots. Here they are relaxing.

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Yume-Neko Smile at Robo Japan 2008 -- EMA at Robo Japan 2008 --
Yume-Neko Smile // EMA

Sega Toys' robot toy display included the Yume-Neko Smile cat robot (left) and EMA (Eternal Maiden Actualization), an interactive mini-fembot that can sing, dance and strut like a runway model (right).

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AYA at Robo Japan 2008 --

Robot creator SK-PANG demonstrated AYA, a stand-mounted mini-android that dances and sings tunes created with the popular Vocaloid software.

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HASHIMOTO 3 at Robo Japan 2008 --

HASIMOTO 3, also created by SK-PANG, is an in-your-face entertainment robot designed to work the crowd at special events.

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SPC?101C at Robo Japan 2008 -- i-SOBOT at Robo Japan 2008 --
SPC?101C // i-SOBOT

Speecys showcased the many talents of the SPC-101C programmable family entertainment robot (left). Takara Tomy exhibited the tiny i-SOBOT humanoid (right).

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Lady Bird at Robo Japan 2008 --

LadyBird, a large, autonomous ladybug-shaped robot developed by Chinougijutsu Co., Ltd., is designed to clean public restrooms. Microphones, speech recognition software and a voice synthesizer enable the friendly robot to carry on a basic conversation.

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Asimo at Robo Japan 2008 -- Wakamaru at Robo Japan 2008 --
Asimo // Wakamaru

Honda's Asimo (left) entertained crowds by dancing, running, kicking soccer balls and carrying drinks. Mitsubishi's Wakamaru (right) charmed onlookers with its grin and showed how Kyokko Inc.'s flexible sensor tube (FST) body suit can be used as a remote robot controller.

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KARFE at Robo Japan 2008 --

KARFE, an educational/comedian robot developed by Nihon Kogakuin College, told jokes to all who would listen.

JR tests fuel cell hybrid train

19 Oct 2006

NE Train -- On October 19, East Japan Railway Company (JR East) made a test run of its NE Train (New Energy Train) -- the world's first fuel cell hybrid train -- in Yokohama's Kanazawa ward.

With two 65-kilowatt fuel cells and six hydrogen tanks under the floor and a secondary battery on the roof, the clean train emits only water and runs without receiving juice from power lines. The train can travel at a maximum speed of 100 kph (60 mph) for 50 to 100 km (30 to 60 miles) without a hydrogen refill.

Thirty passengers boarded the train for the test run, which consisted of a series of back-and-forth jaunts along a 300-meter test track. The train smoothly accelerated to a maximum speed of 50 kph (30 mph), providing a ride quality no different from an ordinary train.

A separate fuel cell train is under development by the Railway Technical Research Institute (RTRI), but the NE Train differs in that it is a hybrid relying on a secondary battery that stores electricity generated during braking. The secondary battery provides auxiliary power during acceleration or when fuel cell power is insufficient.

JR East hopes to see hybrid commuter trains in widespread use in 10 to 20 years. Lowering the cost and improving the mileage of fuel cells is a serious challenge, but the effort is not without reward. In addition to environmental benefits, eliminating the need for unsightly power lines means lower infrastructure costs and a prettier landscape to look at from the train window.

Testing of the train on public tracks will begin next April.

[Source: Chunichi Shimbun]

Petaflops-level supercomputer to be unveiled

20 Jun 2006


On June 19, Japan's Institute of Physical and Chemical Research (Riken), SGI Japan and Intel announced the development of a supercomputer with a theoretical peak performance of 1 petaflops (one million billion floating point operations per second). Known as the MDGRAPE-3 (or the Protein Explorer), the computer system is designed to perform molecular dynamics simulations of such phenomena as non-bonding interactions between atoms.

The system consists of 201 units equipped with 24 of RIKEN?s MDGRAPE-3 LSI chips for molecular dynamics simulation (total of 4,808 chips), which are connected to 64 parallel servers equipped with 256 of Intel's Xeon 5000-series cores and 37 parallel servers equipped with 74 Xeon 3.2 GHz cores.

In the future, RIKEN plans to further upgrade the system with Xeon 5100-series processors (codenamed Woodcrest), and testing is now underway.

The LINPACK Benchmark, which is the standard for the Top 500 List, could not be performed on the system, so the performance cannot be compared directly with the world's other top supercomputers. However, the system's theoretical peak performance of 1 petaflops will set the computer firmly at the top of the list, with a speed about three times that of IBM's BlueGene/L at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (currently No.1 on the list).

The system will be unveiled to the public on June 24 at RIKEN's Yokohama laboratory.

[Source: IT Media]

Electrical Fantasista: Hip technology you can feel

27 Feb 2006

Cutting-edge technology meets art at Electrical Fantasista, an exhibit and series of events held at BankART Studio NYK in Yokohama (Feb 24 ? Mar 14). The exhibit is divided into four zones that explore the future of modern lifestyle.

ZONE 1: Positive Living
Artists and scientists from Japan have created robots and machines that rely on IT to bring comfort to people. The works in this zone fuse art with the latest in technology to evoke true delight, providing a glimpse into the future of relaxation.

ZONE 1 works
- Tabby: Communicative healing IT interior that reacts to voice and touch
- PARO: Interactive seal robot with therapeutic powers recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records
- Co-animation table: Table that anyone can enjoy to create animation
- Mutant Critter: "Skins" that transform things into furry creatures
- Mr. Jones Watches: Series of retro-futuristic watches with a variety of unique functions
- Katazukue: Tidy table that forces slobs to clean up

PARO, the healing seal robot

ZONE 2: Game Is Life
The "games" in Zone 2 are the stuff that fuels the development of games. But beware, these works of art from Germany and Japan venture dangerously into realms ordinary games only dream to go, which explains why gamers and developers from across the globe are dying to try them out.

ZONE 2 works
- PainStation: Arcade game that exposes the loser to electric heat/shock and lashings
(Note: Due to the possibility of physical harm, play is limited to those who agree to bear full responsibility for any injury incurred.)
- Through the looking glass: Air hockey game that pits you against your mirror image
- MisLeading MisReading: Artificial intelligence message game that uses advanced speech recognition and machine translation technology to translate your spoken words


ZONE 3: Electrical Lounge

MorphoTowerZone 3 explores new types of experience in optics. Relying on the latest in optic technology, such as LED and sensors, the works in this zone go beyond the flashing of lights to magically stimulate all the senses. Here, visitors experience new forms of comfort and stimulation.

ZONE 3 works
- Kaze-no-michi: Light sculpture that transforms the beauty of wind into light that illuminates the floor
- MorphoTower: Living sculpture of magnetic fluid that continuously morphs into magical shapes
- Fuwa Pica: Sofas that change color when you sit -- soft on the eyes, soft to the touch

ZONE 4: Flash Fantasista
Zone 4 features a selection of interactive art chosen the curators. See http://www.shift.jp.org for details.

(Map to BankART Studio NYK)

[Source: Creative Cluster]

Exotic chocolate exhibit at Yokohama Curry Museum

23 Feb 2006

An unusual chocolate exhibit at the Yokohama Curry Museum may provide the perfect opportunity for gag gift shopping, whether it?s for your despicable boss or for yourself. The exhibit features a selection of around 70 varieties of novelty chocolate, alcoholic chocolate, fruit chocolate, and joke chocolate, all of which are available for purchase. The exhibition will be held until March 31 in the Masaraya museum shop on the 7th floor of the museum.

Some of the featured items include:

- Curry chocolate: Amazing, award-winning chocolate
- Wasabi chocolate: White chocolate with wasabi mustard
- Dried kelp chocolate: Chocolate with powdered gagome dried kelp from Hokkaido
- Hokkaido salt chocolate: White chocolate spiced with salt from the Sea of Okhotsk
- Korean red chili pepper chocolate: Chocolate with red chili pepper extract

(Curry chocolate, wasabi mustard chocolate and gagome dried kelp chocolate)

(Chocolate Factory Series: Car Mania Set, squid chocolate and Sapporo Beer chocolate)

The curry chocolate, a Yokohama Curry Museum original, has sold particularly well -- 25,000 packages in January. ?At first it seems like regular chocolate," says museum official Takehisa Inoue, "but its subtle spicy aftertaste gives it an exquisite flavor.? Created with the cooperation of confectionery manufacturer Meiji Seika, the curry chocolate is made with a blend of various spices.

In conjunction with the exhibit, the Petit Vert cafe on the 8th floor is serving fruitcake that looks just like a plate of curry (1,200 yen) until March 31. Created by Nobuyuki Yamamoto, former head pastry chef at Hotel New Grand (Yokohama), this dessert is a museum original with local roots. The "rice" is made from chocolate and sponge cake, and the "curry roux" consists of a mixture of turmeric and orange juice.

[Source: MYCOM PC WEB]