Get Your Very Own 13-Foot Functional Robot for Just $1.35 Million

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Just when you though it was safe to go out of the house, Japanese company Suidobashi Heavy Industry has officially announced their awesome boardable mecha, the KURATS, is now available for purchase. And it costs only $1.35 million.

I know it sounds like a lot of money, but we’re talking about the world’s first consumer mecha, which means you can buy it and use it to take your shot at world domination or just scare the hell out of your neighbors by riding in it on the street. If you’re a fan of Gundam or Armored Core, this thing is exactly what you’ve been dreaming of for years. It’s a 4,500-kilogram-robot that you can control and interact with using Microsoft Kinect motion sensors. You can either step into the built-in one person cockpit, or remotely control its actions with your smartphone, via 3G internet. RocketNews24 first reported on the KURATAS in May, but back then it was just a cool prototype. Now, its makers have announced their personal mecha is going into production and can be bought for ¥100 million ($1,35 million).

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Japanese Robo-Fish Looks and Acts Like the Real Thing, Needs No Maintenance

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Fish are regarded as the most low maintenance of pets, but even they need a minimum degree of care, like making sure they’re fed every day and cleaning their tank from time to time. But the Robo-Fish invented by Japanese company Takara Tomy A.R.T.S. makes having a pet fish a carefree job.

Robo-Fish are not only meant to look like real exotic fish, but they also act like them when powered on. They scour the bottom of their tank as if they’re looking for food, and rise to the surface looking for floating bits of food. The only thing that gives them away as robotic fish is a small gap between their tail and the rest of the body, but other than that they look and move like the real deal. People too busy to even throw their live fish some food every once in a while need only go to Amazon and spend $37 for one Robo-Fish. The worst that can happen is the robotic fish runs out of battery, but that’s easily fixable.

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High-Tech Jacket Gives You a Hug Every Time Someone Likes You on Facebook

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Created by MIT student Melissa Chow, the “like-a-hug” jacket makes virtual experiences a bit more realistic, by inflating and giving you a hug whenever someone likes you on Facebook. Soon, real friends will probably be obsolete.

Having people like you on Facebook is nice, but don’t you wish you could feel the love whenever they hit that “Like” button? Well, thanks to the innovative “like-a-hug” jacket, now you can. Inventor Melissa Chow, from the  Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), says it ”allows us to feel the warmth, encouragement, support, or love that we feel when we receive hugs”. The concept behind this Facebook jacket is fairly simple - air pockets inside the jacket inflate every time your smartphone sends a signal that a new “like”has been received. Better still, you can send hugs back to your friend by simply squeezing the jacket and deflating it.

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Japanese Company Creates Mind-Controlled Cat Tails for Humans

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Remember the Necomimi, those wacky brainwave-controlled cat ears we featured around this time last year? Well, the same Japanese company that makes those, Neurowear, has just released a fluffy mind-controlled tail to go with them.

I have to admit it’s kind of strange seeing a company that has the knowledge to create mind-controlled gadgets create stuff like cat ears and tails for humans, but then again this is Japan, so the weird factor is still pretty low. Anyway, much like the Necomimi cat ears, Shippo, the new tail developed by Neurowear is able to read your emotions and reflect your mood by wagging. Depending on how your heart beats and the extent to which alpha and beta brainwaves are activated, the tail moves from side to side or top to bottom at different intensities. The feline accessory also communicates with an app that records your mood and broadcasts it out via your social network, so anyone can know when you’re happy, sad and even in love. There is even a  database of places other people wearing these wacky cat tails found relaxing, so you can check them out whenever you’re looking to find some peace and quiet.

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Chinese Hospitals Introduce Automatic Sperm Extractors

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No, this is not a joke, it’s not fake, Chinese hospitals really are using automatic sperm extractors for the most serious medical purposes. Still, I thought this was weird enough to post an article on.

So, an entry about automatic sperm extractors being introduced in a Nanjing hospital recently went viral on China’s Weibo social platform. It contained some photos of the unusual machine, and a brief description of its functions. Apparently, the “massage pipe” in front of the device can be adjusted according to the height of its user, and the speed, frequency, amplitude and temperature at which it operates can also be set according to personal preference. When turned on, the screen of the extractor starts playing movies with surround sound to get the user in the right mood. The entry also said “now you can make that money standing up”, referring to the usage of the extractor for sperm bank donations, but the director of the urology department at Zhengzhou Central Hospital was quick to dismiss this rumor. Apparently, the machine is only used by infertility patients who are finding it difficult to retrieve sperm the old fashioned way.

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Chinese Man Builds Transformer That Actually Transforms, Sort of

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A man from Jinan, China’s Shandong Province, has spent six months building a Transformer-like robot that morphs into a functional car, at the push of a button. If you’re expecting a real-life Bumblebee, you’re going to be disappointed…

But finally, right!?! A real transformer and it’s not some guy in a suit either. Frankly, I was getting a bit tired of seeing people build all these awesome looking Transformer replicas that didn’t do anything but look pretty, and I was really hoping someone would one day take it to the next level. Enter unknown Chinese Transformers fan with a passion for DIY stuff. According to RocketNews24, the man has wanted to build his very own Transformer ever since watching the first film in Michael Mann’s trilogy, four years ago. He didn’t have any kind of mechanical or electronics knowledge but that didn’t stop him from finally accomplishing his dream. It took the Jinan-native six months and 70,000 yuan (US$11,000) to finally complete his life-size Transformer, but just look at it…

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French Designer Makes Gold-Plated Computers Fit for Royalty

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George Chirita, a Romanian electronics engineer turned computer designer makes luxury computers and accessories for the world’s rich and famous. His creations are inspired by royalty like French King Louis XVI and are decorated with expensive materials like gold, marble or lapis lazuli. Prices start at $21,000.

If you think your dusty old machine just isn’t worthy of your royal lifestyle, you’ll be glad to know someone finally came up with the idea of making computers fit for kings. His name is George Chirita and he’s a Romanian immigrant who took France by storm with his gold-plated computers decorated with marble and precious stones. His small company produces computers in three different styles - Louis XV, Louis XVI and Empire – inspired by classic French decorations, which Chirita says he has always been a fan of. And while the company’s main goal is to create a stylish decorative object to enoble customers’ surroundings, they certainly don’t neglect quality hardware. ”To bring together and create this world of ‘luxury technology’, first of all you’ve got to use the latest high-tech innovations, in terms of the electronic components to build a computer like that, and we also use classic French styles which are timeless styles”, George Chirita told Reuters.

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KABUTOM RX-03 – Japan’s Giant Rhinoceros Beetle Robot

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Created by Japanese engineer Hitoshi Takahashi, the KABUTOM RX-03 is an 11-meter-long, 17-tonne-heavy robot shaped like a rhinoceros beetle. The impressive mecha can walk with its six legs, blows smoke from its nose and always gets Japanese crowds raddled when it makes an appearance.

The KABUTOM RX-03 is definitely one of the most impressive functional robots unveiled in recent years, especially since it was designed and built by one man, 60-year-old tech-wiz Hitoshi Takahashi. The Japanese engineer started working on his personal giant robot in 1997, as a hobby, and 11 years later, in 2008, he unveiled his creation to all of Japan, during a popular television show. The KABUTOM RX-03 was an instant hit and ever since then, Takahashi and his giant beetle mecha have been performing at events all over the country. We’ve seen big, cool-looking robots from Japan before, like the life-size RX87 Gundam or the Tetsujin 28-go aka Gigantor, but unlike them, this one actually works.

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Farmer Who Lost Both Arms in Accident Spent Eight Years Building New Ones from Scrap Metal

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Sun Jifa, a Chinese farmer who lost both his arms after a homemade bomb exploded prematurely, built his own functional prosthetic limbs after he couldn’t afford to buy the one offerd by the hospital.

A few years back, 51-year-old Sun Jifa, from Guanmashan, Jilin province, northern China, was working on explosives designed for blast fishing when a bomb blew up prematurely leaving him without both his arms. He was taken to the hospital and treated, but when doctors proposed he wear a pair of prosthetics designed to make his everyday life easier, Sun realized he just couldn’t afford them. At the same time he knew he needed both his arms in order to work on the farm and provide for  his family. That’s when he decided to built his own artificial arms out of scrap metal. After eight years of planning and several prototypes, He finally has a pair of functional arms.

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Japanese Chilly Chair Makes Horror Movies Even Scarier

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Are horror films not scary enough for you? Than you might want to try watching them from the Chilly Chair, an offbeat invention that literally raises the hair on your forearms and back to enhance emotion.

You could say Shogo Fukushima’s invention is really hair-raising. The doctoral student who attends the University of Electro-Communications in Tokyo wanted to create a device that would induce body hair to stand up, thus potentially intensifying people’s reaction to movies and video games. He came-up with a thing called the Chilly Chair, with weird forearm-rests that use electricity to reproduce the sensation usually activated by feelings of fear and surprise. The square arches of the innovative chair are made up of three layers; from the inside to the outside it contains an insulating dielectric plate, an electrode and a rubber plate. Electricity goes through the electrode polarizing the dielectric plate and attracts the user’s arm hairs making them experience a sensation similar to when picking up clothes charged with static energy. After testing the Chilly Chair on six subjects, Fukushima found they showed stronger reactions to video and audio stimuli.

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Geeky Fan Builds Real-Life Wall-E Robot

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Mike Senna, a computer programmer from Orange County, California, has spent the last two and a half years building a real-life Wall-E robot, from scratch. It moves around, rolls and talks, but he doesn’t collect trash.

In 2009, shortly after the movie Wall-E was launched, we featured some photos of cool Wall-E computer case mod, but that feat simply pales in comparison to Mike Senna’s awesome achievement. The robot aficionado spend between 3,200 and 3,800 man hours building his very own version of the adorable Pixar trash-collecting hero. His computer programming skills definitely came in handy, but seeing as there were no Wall-E parts available anywhere on this planet, he had to construct the whole thing from scratch. He worked on it about 25 hours a week, after his day job, but all the hard work certainly paid off.

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Man Creates Trash Can That Targets and Catches Flying Garbage

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You know those movies where an author with writer’s block keeps throwing drafts over his shoulder trying to hit the trash can, but never seems to land one in? Well, that might just be a problem of the past, because someone seems to have invented a smart trash can that targets and catches flying pieces of trash.

It’s amazing what some people can create if they put their minds to it. Take this Japanese guy who goes by “FRP”, who, inspired by a commercial, decided to create his own trash can of the future, able to anticipate where flying trash is going to land and catch it before it hits the ground. It sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie, but according to the clever inventor, all you need is a wheeled base integrated with a circuit board and attached to the bottom of a common trashcan, a Kinect camera to monitor the room, and a specially-written program that allows the camera to track incoming garbage and guide the trashcan to catch it before it lands.

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The Book That Can’t Wait Literally Disappears if You Put It Down

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An Indie Argentinian publishing house has come up with an innovative concept, using disappearing ink that simply fades away in two months time.

Dubbed “El Libro que No Puede Esperar” (The Book That Can’t Wait), this interesting format was pioneered by independent Argentinian publishing house Eterna Cadencia, as a way to promote young authors, who ”if people don’t read their first books, never make it to a second.” The intriguing books come sealed in a plastic wrapper, and once that is removed and the books cracked for the first time, the ink begins to age and in 60 days time readers are left with nothing but the covers and a bunch of blank pages. So if you want to get your money’s worth, you really can’t put one of these books down too often, after you’ve bought it.

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The Future Is Now – China Opens Robot-Operated Restaurant

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Well, it’s not exactly as advanced as you’re used to seeing in sci-fi movies, but China’s colorful robot-themed restaurant can be a sign of things to come.

They’re probably going to render us extinct one day, so we might as well enjoy their servitude, while it lasts. A unique restaurant, in Harbin, China’s Heilongjiang Province, has 18 different robots doing all kinds of jobs, from ushering in guests to waiting tables and cooking various dishes. All the robots were designed and created by the Harbin Haohai Robot Company. Chief Engineer Liu Hasheng, they invested around 5 million yuan ($790,000) in the restaurant, with each robot costing 200,000 to 300,000 yuan ($31,500 – $47,000). With an average cost per dinner of between $6 and $10, they won’t be recovering their investment anytime soon, but it is great advertisement for what the robot company can create.

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Dresses Made from Red Wine Probably Look Better with Time

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A team from the University of Western Australia have added a bacteria to red wine and managed to create a cotton-like fabric that can be used to make anything from dresses to t-shirts and swimwear.

Although still in the early stages of development, this technique of making clothes from wine could one day become mainstream, at least according to the people who came up with the idea. ’This project redefines the production of woven materials. ’By combining art and science knowledge and with a little inventiveness, the ultimate goal will be to produce a bacterial fermented seamless garment that forms without a single stitch,’ lead researcher Gary Cass said. Still, the technology is far from perfect, and there will probably be a long time before people will be wearing casual clothes made from Pinot Noir or Merlot.

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