Japanese Convenience Stores Introduce AI-Powered Shelf-Stocking Robots

Family Mart, Japan’s second-largest convenience store chain, recently started using AI-powered robots to restock shelves, as a way to deal with the country’s fast-shrinking workforce.

The decline in labor population is one of the biggest threats to businesses operating in Japan, and some have already started looking for ways to replace human workers. Case in point, major convenience store chain Family Mart, a company has recently teamed up with Tokyo-based robotics company Telexistence to introduce AI-powered robots in hundreds of its stores across the country. The new “employees” will be in charge of replenishing drinks in refrigerators and are expected to make human workers’ jobs easier and, in some cases, replace them completely.

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Japanese Robotics Company Creates Humanoid Heavy Machinery

A Japanese robotics company has been getting a lot of attention for its unique heavy machinery – a humanoid industrial robot that can be remote controlled by a human.

With so much focus on artificial intelligence and concepts like ‘the singularity’, we sometimes forget that robots have been around for a long time and that they can be pretty valuable tools even without advanced machine learning or even the possibility to move around on their own. Think about the industrial robots in modern automated car factories, or those mine-clearing robots that help human lives, just to name a couple of examples. Now, one Japanese company is trying to bring attention back to these humble creations with an ingenious humanoid heavy-duty robot capable of performing all kinds of useful chores while also appealing to fans of mecha manga and anime.

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Chess-Playing Robot Breaks 7-Year-Old Boy’s Finger During Moscow Tournament

A computer-operated robotic arm reportedly grabbed and broke the finger of a seven-year-old boy during an exhibition chess match at the Moscow Open, last week.

Chess is probably one of the safest sports anyone can play, at least as far as potential bodily harm is involved. But when one of the players happens to be a powerful robotic arm and the other a 7-year-old-boy, things can apparently get pretty violent. In what has been described as an unprecedented incident, a chess-playing robot recently grabbed and broke the finger of a young boy during an exhibition match. The video of the shocking incident has been doing the rounds online and putting into question the safety of having children play against mechanical, computer-powered opponents.

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Man Falls in Love With Humanoid Robot, Hopes to Marry It

An Australian man who has given up on finding a human partner claims to have found the next best thing – a humanoid robot named Emma.

Ever since his mother died a decade ago, Geoff Gallagher from Queensland, Australia, had only his dog, Penny, to soothe his loneliness. But then, a couple of years ago, he read an article about robots powered by artificial intelligence and decided to look into them. He found some intriguing commercially-available models, but at $AUD 6,000 ($4,350) each, they weren’t exactly cheap. Still, they looked so lifelike, could move their head and neck, smile, and even talk, so he decided they were worth the shot. He was not disappointed…

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Man Singlehandedly Builds Eerily Realistic Robot Arm Powered by Synthetic Muscles

A Polish robotics engineer recently posted a series of intriguing videos of what looks like a dextrous android arm powered by synthetic muscles.

Łukasz Koźlik, who goes under the moniker Automaton Robotics online, is a talented robotics engineer from Poland who has spent the last few years creating an incredible synthetic muscle arm that moves eerily like a human one. A firm believer in the idea that muscle mimicry is the key to fast, efficient, and affordable robots, Łukasz has been building on the concept of McKibben muscle, or pneumatic artificial muscles, creating a synthetic muscular system that allows robots to move their fingers and palms in a similar way to humans.

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Japanese Company Specializes in Fashion Apparel For Robots

Rocket Road is a unique clothing brand aimed not at humans, but at robots of all shapes and sizes. It aims to offer customization options and seamlessly bridge the gap between humans and machines.

Last month, Japanese company Rocket Road announced the launch of its first lineup of functional protective cover wear for robotic arms. These decorative and functional covers are available in over 40 different colors, can be made out of dustproof, anti-bacterial, water repellent or heat-resistant material, and are meant to brighten up the otherwise bland working environment and provide the robotic arms with a bit of personality. But this is only the company’s latest project. Rocket Road has been creating robot clothing for a long time now and has quite an impressive portfolio.

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Chinese Army Showcases Eerily Realistic Fish-Like Underwater Drone

An ultra-realistic underwater drone modelled after the arowana fish has been getting a lot of attention online, after making its debut at a military expo earlier this month.

This year’s Beijing Military Expo opened on June 5th, but it wasn’t the tanks, missiles, and other potentially lethal military equipment that drew reporters’ attention, it was a rather strange arowana fish swimming in a large water tank installed on site. At first glance, it was just a fish that seemed to swim and behave normally. It would swim around normally, and raise its head for a while whenever it reached a wall, then just wing its tail again and swim in another direction. At first glance, its appearance and movements were those of an actual fish, and it was only on close inspection that one realized this was an advanced fish-like robot.

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Man Turns Everyday Items Into Complex Exoskeletons Inspired by Popular Robots

Known as the “Brooklyn Transformer”, Peter Kokis has become a very recognizable figure in New York, thanks to an arsenal of impressive robot exoskeletons made out of all sorts of everyday items.

A former military pilot, Peter Kokis started making his now-famous exoskeletons after joking around with an ex-girlfriend. At one point, during a conversations, she told him “you’re too stiff, you need to loosen up and do something weird,” and he decided she was right. Using his experience in aviation, he started piecing together things he had around the house into an impressive exoskeleton that became known as Squid Boy. But that was only the beginning, as over the years he made wearable costumes inspired by the likes of The Transformers, The Terminator or the Xenomorphs of Alien.

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Artificial Intelligence ‘Actor’ Cast in Lead Role of $70 Million Sci-Fi Movie

If you thought creative jobs like acting would be among the last to be taken over by AI-powered robots, think again, as ‘b’, the world’s first film to feature an AI robot in the lead role was just announced.

The upcoming film, which reportedly revolves around “a scientist who discovers dangers associated with a program he created to perfect human DNA and helps the artificially intelligent woman he designed (Erica) escape,” stars Erica, a humanoid robot powered by artificial intelligence which is also conveniently immune to the highly contagious novel coronavirus.

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You Can Now License Your Face to Be Used on a Humanoid Robot

If you’re short on cash and don’t mind selling the rights to your face, you can stand to make £100,000 ($130,000) by licensing your mug to a robotics company to be used on one of their humanoid robots.

According to a recent blog post by London-based outsourcing company Geomiq, a robotics company is currently looking for a “kind and friendly” to put on a humanoid robot once it goes into production. This will potentially entail using this person’s face on thousands of robots around the world, so the company is willing to pay no less than £100,000 ($130,000) in licensing fees. The robot in question is designed to be a “virtual friend” for elderly people, and is scheduled to go into production next year.

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Japanese Speed-Dating Event Has Potential Matches Sitting in Silence While Robots Do the Talking for Them

Based on the premise that people who are having trouble finding a romantic partner probably lack the confidence and experience to properly interact with a potential match, a Tokyo-based robotics association recently hosted a speed-dating party where human participants sat in silence across a table from each-other while tiny robots spoke on their behalf.

The bizarre event took place in Tokyo, Japan, and was organized by the Contents innovation Program (CiP) Association, which specializes in developing AI, robotics and other technology, according to The Japan News. In a series of videos posted on YouTube, potential matches can be seen sitting across from each other, but instead of talking, they just sit there quietly with their gazes focused on two little robots placed on the table between them. They just sit in silence while these robotic assistants ask each other questions and provide answers, based on information pre-loaded into their system from a 45-question survey participants completed prior to the event.

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Japanese Engineer Builds 28-Foot-Tall Functional Gundam Mecha Robot

As a child growing up in Japan, engineer Masaaki Nagumo always dreamed of climbing into his very own Mobile Suit Gundam mecha. As an adult, he finally made that dream a reality.

Nagumo created the 28-foot-tall, 7-tonne-heavy LW-Mononofu robot as a project for his employer, industrial machinery maker Sakakibara Kikai, in Japan’s Gunma Prefecture. The metal colossus took six years to finish, and is probably the world’s largest anime-inspired robot that you can actually ride in and control. It can move its arms and fingers, turn its upper body, and walk forward and backward at a snail-like speed of 1km/hour. As any respectable mecha, it also has a weapon – a metal gun that fires sponge balls at a speed of 87 mph.

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You Can Now Buy Your Very Own Mecha Suit For Just $93,000

If you’ve always dreamed about climbing into a nine-foot-tall mecha suit and actually showing off your sci-fi fantasies to the whole world, now’s your big chance. A Japanese company is actually selling custom mecha suits for only 10 million yen ($93,000).

Skeletonics have been around since 2011, when a group of students at the Okinawa National College of Technology showed off their very first fully-mechanical exoskeleton. It didn’t do much except turn the wearer into a metal giant with increased reach, but it definitely looked cool, so the project made international headlines at the time. But while the team came up with several improved Skeletonics over the years, they were merely showed off online and at special events, so only a few fans ever got to give them a try themselves. However, everything changed last month, when Skeltonics finally announced that it would finally begin producing commercial versions of its popular exoskeleton.

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Japanese Company to Sell Robot Dog That Faints If Your Feet Smell Bad

A Japanese company has created an adorable robot dog that can tell you how bad your feet smell, by using a powerful sensor embedded in its nose. If your feet don’t have bad odor, “Hana-chan” will happily wag its tale, if it detects moderately smelly feet, it will start to bark, and if they really stink, it will just fall over like the smell caused it to faint.

Foot odor is a big deal in Japan, where it is customary for people to take off their shoes whenever they enter someone’s home. In fact, subjecting others to foul bodily odors can even be considered harassment in Japan, so it’s no wonder that some of the most brilliant minds in the country’s tech industry have been dedicating their talent to tackling this issue. Panasonic recently unveiled a high-tech deodorizing coat hanger, Konika Minolta developed a pocket-size device that monitors body odors and alerts the user when they start to smell, and, last year, gadget maker Thanko started selling clip-on armpit fans designed to keep people’s armpits nice and dry. Now, we have Hana-chan, a robot dog capable of telling people if their feet stink.

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Buddhist Robots to Perform Cheaper Funeral Services in Japan

When experts predicted that robots will take most of our jobs in the next few decades, priests were probably among the least concerned humans on the planet. After all, machines and spirituality don’t exactly go hand in hand. But one Japanese company is showing everyone that no job is safe, with a line of “Buddhist robots” that can perform funeral services at a fraction of the cost demanded by human priests.

Pepper, a humanoid robot developed by SoftBank Robotics, has taken on several jobs since it hit the market two years ago. Advertised as the first robot capable of reading human emotions, Pepper has been deployed to banks, sushi shops and nursing homes, where it acts as a receptionist, identifying visitors with its facial recognition software, offering information, or just chatting to people. But Pepper’s creators have recently come up with another job for the big-eyed robot – Buddhist priest for clients looking to cut down on funeral costs.

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