If you find yourself in the neighborhood of the Ias Tsukuba shopping center in Ibaraki prefecture north east of Tokyo you could consider visiting the Cyberdyne Studios gallery on the second floor of the center. It is a gallery showcasing the robot and exoskeleton technology currently being developed at Tsukuba University as well as a selection of other man and machine cultural artifacts: Iron Man, a Terminator, something from the Evangelion series and some historic robots including Elektro and his dog Sparky that were showed to the public on the 1939 New York World Fair. There are also a whole bunch of robots and vehicles from the 1985 Tsukuba World Fair. The addition of a robotic design studio to a shopping center is no coincidence, as the nearby Tsukuba University has ambitions to become one of the world leaders in robotics and are already prototyping several kinds of exoskeletons for farm and field workers, some of which are seeing commercial use starting this year.
The most famous Cyberdyne products are the HAL line of exoskeleton for medical and therapeutic use that allows disabled people greater mobility and strength.
Passing by Omotesando Hills last week I saw this rather blingy Christmas tree outside the Omotesando Hills shopping gallery in Tokyo’s fashionable Omotesando District. Sponsored by Moet & Chandon Champagne, couples are encouraged to enter the golden bath tub and have your photo taken! Unfortunately there were no takers when I was there!
Christmas is coming and so are the light displays. At the Spiral Garden in Tokyo’s Omotesando I saw this exhibition of Citizen watches, watch parts suspended in the air and lit by spotlights as part of a promotion. Their official website is here and if you are passing by in Omotesando until November 24th it could be worth visiting to see for yourself!
Photos from the 40th Design Festa which took place last weekend, the biggest amateur art and design event in Japan, and possibly in the world (not sure since I seldom leave Japan these days). Twice a year it is held at the Tokyo Big Site on Odaiba Island in Tokyo bay, a massive convention center. The event is almost impossible to cover in just the two days it takes place. There are about 3300 exhibitor booths and over 11000 exhibitors (many booths are shared and many exhibitors only book one of the two days). There are usually about 70 000 visitors.
If you are in Tokyo when this event takes place you really should consider going. It is easily accessible, entrance is only 1000 yen per day and it is great fun. The next one will be in May 15th and 16th, 2015.