It's not surprising to find Japanese companies featuring robots in commercials to pitch and promote their products. Gigantor (Tetsujin 28) is currently appearing in cellphone ads and commercials for NTT/DoCoMo. Gundam has done gigs for ANA airlines. And, even Atom (Astro Boy) has been known to earn a few yen doing the pitchman, or pitch-robot, routine.
But, the latest Gundam TV commercial is puzzling to say the least. And, the real mystery - what is the meaning of the punchline message at the end of the video? We're just as puzzled as we're sure you will be after you watch it. If you have any clue, please post a comment below and let us know.
Much to our regret, we weren't able to make it to the States to attend the recent Robot Film Festival in person. Thankfully, the organizers were kind enough to post all of the festival films on Vimeo, so we've been amused, entertained, surprised, and delighted by their creativity and production quality. We had expected something akin to home movies, or the typical YouTube video, but quite a few of the Robot Film Festival entries turned out to be extremely well executed and professional.
A great example is "Nao 1337 Audition" created by Carlos Asmat. The film features an out of work actor (played by Nao) auditioning for a film role. In typical 'type-casting' fashion, he shows off his acting chops with excellent renditions of the Terminator, Johnny 5, R2D2, and others. Did he impress the casting director? We're not sure. But he definitely impressed us.
Subscribers to ROBOT Magazine are receiving their copies of the latest issue right about now, and the store copies should be in bookstores very soon.
This particular issue, with the Kumotek KT-X humanoid robot on the cover, will prove to be quite interesting and exciting since it includes coverage of robots at the Maker Faire, animatronic dinosaurs, a how-to on programing servos, Arduino Bot Brains, a chance to win a Parallax robot, a look at the latest Kondo hexapod robot, and our detailed coverage of RoboGames 2011.
We realize that it's a stretch to call a vending machine a robot, but it isn't stretching the definition so far that it would break. Without a doubt the Japanese are leading the world in the creation and deployment of robotic vending machines. They seem to be on almost every corner, sometimes in groups of three or four, and offer every type of beverage you could imagine. Warm corn soup in the winter, cold grape juice with real grapes inside the can. You name it, and you can find a vending machine here ready to deliver.
But, after the recent earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis, the vending machine companies came under a lot of criticism. Many thought that they wasted electricity and were way too prolific. Anxious to respond to their critics in a positive, proactive way, the companies came up with a novel approach.
Under the heading of "robot business", we were very pleased to see that even in today's extremely challenging business climate, robot ventures are continuing to attract substantial investment.
While increased use of robotics isn't likely to result in a corresponding increase in employment for their human counterparts, contrary to popular belief, it will open up new applications and open the door to exploring new opportunities that were previously considered to be too hazardous, risky, or beyond the keen of available economical technology solutions.
A good example is Liquid Robotics, the creator of marine robotic drones that utilize ocean waves and solar arrays to generate the power required for their operation. These unique platforms are almost totally self-sufficient and can automatically maintain their position in the ocean, kind of the sea-going equivalent of the geostationary satellites positioned in space over the planet.
Everyone agrees that the most promising future for robotics is in the service sector. So far, practical applications have been limited primarily to fairly mundane domestic tasks like robot vacuum cleaners.
What will turn out to be the "killer application" for household robotics? How about a humanoid robot toilet like the Toto GG1-800?
’The Ultimate "Service" Robot’ continues