Is a robot with muscles and bones any more freaky than one with servomotors?
Researchers at the University of Tokyo have been building a humanoid robot called Kenshiro that moves around with muscles that work with small pulleys.
Initially developed as a scrawny kid-bot in 2001, Kenshiro has been packing on muscle mass. With a total of 70 degrees of freedom, or axes of motion, it now has 160 muscles, with 22 in its neck, 12 in its shoulders, 76 in its abdomen, and 50 in its legs.
But it's still designed to mimic the body of a 12-year-old Japanese male, standing 5 feet and 2 inches and weighing 110 pounds. It also has a human-like ribcage, pelvis, and spine made of aluminum. … Read more
NTT DoCoMo lost 40,800 subscribers in November, acknowledging that it's due to customer flight to the iPhone 5, according to Japan's Nikkei business daily.
For Japan's largest mobile-phone carrier, it was the first monthly drop in over five years.
NTT DoCoMo made no bones about blaming its shrinking subscriber base on customers opting for the iPhone 5 at rival carriers.
The company does not offer the iPhone, while rivals Softbank and KDDI do. Both of those carriers posted subscriber gains in November, with KDDI showing net gains of 228,800 customers and Softbank adding 301,900, … Read more
Sony unveiled a smaller, lighter PlayStation 3 at the Tokyo Game Show today, a redesign of its aging console that sports a thinner look and larger hard drive capacities.
Two flavors of the redesigned PS3 arrive this fall in the U.S.: a $269 250GB super slim PS3 option lands on September 25 that includes Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception (game of the year edition) and downloadable content for Dust 514; a $299 500GB slimmer PS3 version sneaks in on October 30 and comes bundled with Assassin's Creed III. … Read more
Learning how to cook can be a frustrating experience. This should not be the case. Aside from an occasional overcooked steak, the process should be an enjoyable one. And considering that one gets to eat the results of one's labor, the aftermath isn't too bad either. (Unless that steak is really overdone.) Understanding that learning how to cook can be thought of as a game, a research team at the Tokyo Institute of Technology has created a cooking simulator designed to give novice cooks instantaneous feedback.
As a novel approach to culinary education, the system is composed of … Read more
They're pneumatic in all the right places.
Giant fembots have set up shop in Tokyo and they're drawing both Japanese businessmen and otaku geeks in droves.
The establishment is selling out its cheap dinner shows featuring scantily clad ladies riding around on 10-foot-tall female humanoids, also scantily clad. … Read more
TOKYO--If you're in love with your iPhone, Bandai's Smartpet lets it really walk all over you.
The pooch can walk around (top speed: three steps per second), sit up, and wag its tail. The app shows a variety of cartoon faces on the touch screen, or whatever face you want to give it. … Read more
Do children still enthuse about cars? Toyota is hoping they'll become future buyers with the Camatte, an EV concept showing this week in Tokyo.
Named for the Japanese verb kamau (to care), the Camatte is designed to prompt tykes to care about car ownership. The seats and pedals can be adjusted so that kids can drive while an adult in the back seat helps with steering.
It won't be road-worthy, however, and is designed for use on go-kart tracks and other private facilities, with a top speed of 25 mph. Can that really rev kids up? … Read more
Twitter has taken a deeper look into how quickly its users change the terms or phrases they tweet on a given topic, or their churn rate, and released some of this data today.
"Looking at terms and phrases in Tweets and in real-time search queries, we see that the most frequent terms in one hour or day tend to be very … Read more
Subways in Tokyo are crowded enough, and they're plastered with ads on the walls and ads hanging from the ceiling. Sometimes, entire carriages are wrapped in ads outside. Straps are mini-billboards too, but now they're interactive.
In an experiment that's been going on for a few weeks, printing company Shunkosha has been deploying its strap covers on parts of the Tokyo subway to prove the effectiveness of Strappy.
Strappy is a boxy little plastic covering that sits over the strap. Many similar strap covers already exist on Tokyo trains, but they're for old-fashioned analog ads, and sometimes QR ads. … Read more