Drawing inspiration from Japanese capsule hotels, while incorporating a lot more style, comfort, and size, the Yotel hotel even features a robot bellboy to take care of your checked luggage while you explore the Big Apple. The decor, as you can see from the video below, seems straight out of a futuristic SF movie and could be a bit stark for some tastes. Nevertheless, the room rates would be hard to beat in what has to be one of the most expensive cities in the world.
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.
The BBC recently visited the Cognitive Robotics lab at the University of Ulster, Intelligent Systems Research Center and broadcast a short news segment (see below) covering the advanced robotics research work underway in the lab. While it doesn't disclose anything dramatically new or exciting, the video does provide an additional views of the Willow Garage PR2 preparing coffee and solving a Rubik's cube along with a researching shaking hands with the one of the famous Shadow robotic hands.
That being said, the vintage footage that starts off the video makes it all worthwhile - classic robot camp stuff.
Hiroshi Ishiguro's famous robotics laboratory situated in Kyoto, Japan, is looking for an outstanding international scientific engineer that can make a major contribution to their development in teleoperated robotic systems. Demonstrated expertise with state of the art robotics projects is one of their key selection criteria. The exact definition of a 'scientific' engineer isn't immediately clear - at least to me, though they are looking for candidates with experience in hardware/software humanoid robot construction; teleoperation; computer vision, and/or spoken language processing.
The laboratory is world famous for pushing the edge with startling, sometimes almost frightening, android creations including the Geminoid series, Telenoids, and Elfoids. While other robotic researchers tend to shy away from the boundaries of the Uncanny Valley, Ishiguro's laboratory seems to have staked out the territory as their own personal hunting ground.
All things considered, it looks like a real plum job for the right candidate, the opportunity to work with the leading experts in the field and potentially gain a lot of invaluable know-how, experience, and visibility in the robot community.
The robot loving guru's over at iheartrobotics.com have been pumping out interesting new accessories for the TurtleBot robot platform at a dizzying pace. Their latest creation, available via the iheartrobotics webstore, adds speakers that could provide music as the robot attempts a Michael Jackson, or Lady Gaga, imitation. There's also a link in their blog post that shares all the build details in case you want to hack one together yourself.
Be sure to check out the rest of the TurtleBot goodies they have created. It looks like the robot may be going for a new Guinness World Record for the most accessorized robot ever.
Since we're on the topic of Japanese commercials and ads that use robots to promote products, check out the Glico Papico commerical below that features Tokyo Tower suddenly spliting into twin humanoid robots. It flashes by quickly, so don't blink or you'll miss it.