Taking Advantage of Gundam

Big poster in Akihabara station promoting a special 30th Anniversary Gundam World 2009 event at Nasu Highlands Park. A smaller segment to the lower left is pimping the LEGO Stadium and the space center located in the same park.


Located a little under 2 hours by Bullet train from the center of Tokyo, Nasu has turned into a popular family resort area, especially for those trying to escape the summer heat and humidity.

When they throw in extra features that speak directly to the otaku's heart (almost always the father in this type of scenario), it's a given that the family will be spending most, if not all of it's summer vacation budget there.

Did we mention that they also have rollercoasters?


-- Posted using the Robots Dreams iPhone.

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Robot Dog Gains Attention and Recognition in Japan

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We were really glad to hear that the new HPI G-Dog robot canine landed the cover of the next ROBOCON magazine. ROBOCON is, without a doubt, the leading Japanese robot focused periodical. So when the magazine's editors pick a robot to grace the cover, it means that they like it a lot, and think it will do quite well.

The issue featuring the G-Dog will hit stores on August 18th, and includes a four page article covering the robots design, features, and appeal. We got some hands on time with the robot dog at RoboGames 2008 (see video), and were definitely impressed. HPI hasn't disclosed their release schedule for the US market yet, but we're sure it will be a winner when they do.

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HPI Preparing New Parts Options for the G-ROBOTS Robot Kits

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It's going to take us a day or two to translate, and perhaps longer than that to figure out the full implications, but it appears that HPI will be rolling out a long list of new parts and other items for its popular G-ROBOT humanoid robot kits.

The G-ROBOTS line was designed in conjunction with Futaba, and is essentially identical to the Futaba RBT-1 robot sold in the US. At this point there is no word on whether or not the same new parts will be made available for sale outside of Japan.


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Kondo Rolls Out New Robot Controller Board

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Here's the scenario: A few years ago we bought a Kondo KHR-1 (the original version) and took a two day class covering how to assemble, test, and program the humanoid robot. As fate would have it, we also had the opportunity to sit in on a pre-release private seminar on the RCB-3 robot controller board. The board was released for sale within about a month, and was quickly followed by the new KHR-2HV humanoid robot that used the controller board.

Now, a couple years later, Kondo has just announced a brand new controller board, the KCB-1, that looks pretty sweet, at least from the published specifications (see below). Will history repeat itself? Will Kondo release a hot new humanoid robot in the near future? It's any body's guess. We don't have any inside info on this one, but we would sure love to...


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Keepon Robot Gets Down With Spoon in Akihabara (Video)

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Marek Michalowski setup the bright yellow, and extremely rhythmic, Keepon robot to perform to Spoon's "I Turn My Camera On", recorded it on video, then uploaded it to YouTube where it became an instant hit scoring close to 1.3 million views.

Now Keepon and Spoon are paired up again, only this time it's an official production (see video below), sponsored by WIRED, directed by Jeff Nichols, and with walk-on roles by many of our favorite local humanoid robots. The result is, in our very biased opinion, the best robot music video ever.

By the way, the interior scenes towards the end of the music video took place at RT Corp's store in Akihabara and were organized by Yuki Nakagawa, one of the most well known and well respected robot leaders here.

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Robot Week In Japan!

ROBO-ONE kicks off next Saturday morning, and early indications are that tickets for the premier robot event may sell out long before the doors open. The latest measure of the extreme interest in personal humanoid robots here is a content rich, multiple page, robot special section unveiled this week at the top of the Yahoo Japan website. 

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Exclusive Software Report: HPI G-Robots GR-001 Part III

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The first post in our review of the new HPI G-Robots GR-001 humanoid robot covered the overall design, architecture, and motions, including a video of the robot being put through its paces. The second post in the GR-001 series focused on the 3D display and using it to adjust the robots servo positions interactively.

Now we'd like to show you how the motion editor application makes it a pleasure to work with the robots poses, motion sequences, and scenarios. It's probably particularly timely since the GR-001 robot kit goes on sale tomorrow morning here in Japan.


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