Master Robot Designer & Master Showman Wins Robot Japan 2 Dance Contest (Video)

dancing robot

Besides being a totally awesome humanoid robot designer, Azusa Amino is also a master showman. Well known for his Toko Toko Maru ROBO-ONE champion class robot, Amino never fails to surprise and delight audiences and robot fans with colorful and action packed robot performances specifically designed to fit in with the theme of a competition.

He consistently goes to extremes to make his robot designs, costumes, and performances as realistic as possible, even when that requires developing new techniques. Pay close attention about half way through the video below and you will immediate see what I mean. The video was captured during the Robot Japan 2 Dance competition and clearly demonstrates why Toko Toko Maru was awarded First Place.


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Now Everyone Can Have a “My Keepon” Robot (Video)

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The original Keepon robot, developed by Hideki Kozima at Miyagi University in Japan, was incredibly cute and engaging, to the point that people just couldn't help smiling, laughing, and moving in sync while the robot danced to music or used it's built-in sensors to interact realistically with them.

The Keepon design concept was intended to explore the possibility that a simple emotive robot could help autistic children with communication and learning challenges. Most autistic children tend to be completely overwhelmed by the volume of input and sensory data involved in even the most basic social interactions. It's kind of like trying to take a drink of water from a fire hose. Kozima's insight, which turned out to be right on the money, was to reduce the flood of inputs to a minimum while packaging the robot in an appealing, friendly body.


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Data the Robot Comedian and his Comely Creator (Video)

data the nao robot

A couple days ago I blogged a photo of Data The Robot doing stand-up comedy routines at the Lincoln Center. Data's owner/operator/muse is non-other than Heather Knight, a.k.a. "Marilyn Monrobot". Heather modestly describes herself as a "Social Roboticist" but her talents go way beyond that humble title. She's pursuing her doctoral research at CMU in Pittsburgh, doing applications design with Aldebaran Robotics, creating interactive installations, while somehow finding the time to put on engaging and entertaining robot and technology gigs that artfully combine traditionally cold/sharp/hard technology with soft/feeling/emotional art and creativity.

Check out Data The Robot, and Heather, in the video below recorded live at the Gramercy Theatre in New York City earlier this summer.


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“My Robot is Better Than Your Robot” Rock and Roll Meets Science Head-on (Video)

my robot is better than your robot

People, especially kids growing up, respond emotionally to role models. They see through the rules, regulations, and official words, and respond directly to people they respect, admire, and want to be like. You can lecture them all day, and all night, and never convince them that studying science and technology is 'cool' and that they should dedicate themselves to a career in robotics.

But, what if major personalities, the most popular and well known rock stars, people like Miley Cyrus, Wi.i.am, Britney Spears, Snoop Dog, Jack Black, and even heart throb Justin Bieber, delivered the same, positive, compelling message about studying technology to make a difference?

We're about to find out...


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Top-selling Robot Monkey Hits US Store Shelves and Hearts (Video)

monkey robot

RoboGames champion Nick Donaldson seems to live, eat, sleep, and breathe robots. He consistently wins a raft of medals across a wide range of different categories during the annual robot gathering, and has designed all types of robots including LEGOs, multi-legged rescue bots, and even a few that might be difficult to categorize. Now, thanks to almost 10 years of hard work, dedication, and a little luck, it looks like one of Donaldson's cutest robot creations, a robot monkey, just might become the hottest selling robot toy in the US this Christmas.


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Where’s My Jetpack? – NYC Exhibition

where's my jetpack?

As much as I love living in Japan, there are times when I miss the excitement, variety, and creativity of New York. Things happen there, especially when technology and art collide head-on, that are unique in the world. A great example is the KAL SPELLETICH "Where's My Jetpack?" exhibition currently underway at the Jack Hanley Gallery in Manhattan.

"Before flying was a means to an end, it was a sensation. The perennial struggle to fly aimed forthe deep-rooted joy of weightlessness, a release from our own corporeality, and the all-too-humansatisfaction of  “touching the sky”. The flying machine made the human superhuman. For KalSpelletich, flight’s future promise may be gone but not forgotten – Where are the jetpacks? Theflying cars, escape pods, gravity boots, moon colonies? This is supposed to be the future. Where’sMy Jetpack?! takes us back to a moment of invention. Or perhaps, reminds us that its time is now."

Unfortunately I'm going to miss seeing it in person, at least this time around, so I can only drool over the images on the exhibition website.

(Via Jack Hanley Gallery Exhibition - KAL SPELLETICH: Where's My Jetpack?!.)

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