Another year goes by and I find myself attending the Robotics Society of Japan’s annual conference again. This time in Nagoya.
Once again the Shinkansen provided a excellent service and let me travel the ±320km in under 90 minutes and with comfort(Shinkansens have almost no noise or vibration inside the car).
On the left is one of Nagoya’s famous attractions, the Nagoya castle. Actually this one is a replica since the real one burned down during world war II. The castle itself is located on a artificial island, rumor has it that the artificial river surrounding the castle was filled with crocodiles and other nasties.
There is a statue of a fish on the top of the castle thats cast from gold. Its called a Shachihoko(鯱) During the castles long history the Shachihoko was melted down and recast 3 times due to financial difficulties of the times. However the last time it was recast the gold was of substantially worse quality.
Heres a picture of me next to a HRP4 This is a light weight(only 39 kg!) and is arguably one of the cheapest robot of its size with a price tag of around R20 million yen(200,000.00$). It has 34 degrees of freedom, onboard Intel Pentium M processor and power source, cameras and force sensors at wrists and ankles.
If it wasn’t for her lifless expression you might confuse her for a human being. This robot is quite simple, it doesn’t walk or use its arms. Its strong point lies in the multitude of facial expressions it can perform as well as its image processing capabilities.
During first contact one might be surprised to notice that the robot copies your facial expressions! You smile, she smiles. You blink, she blinks and so on. I had quite a lot of fun trying to make a facial expression that she wouldn’t be able to replicate. However I found this robot quite capable at replicating just about anything I threw at her.
In Japan every town has a famous food. In Nagoya the famous meal is called “Unagi” and is basically a sort of river eel. Was quite tasty too 🙂
Just a nice sunset from Nagoya 🙂
On a final note, it is said that the most beautiful girls in Japan can be found in Akita and the ugliest girls in Nagoya. I haven’t been to Akita yet but I have met some girls from there and judging from what I saw in Nagoya, I think this saying may have some truth too it. Although some people will tell you that this is simply a story for old people and the prettiest girls are actually in Osaka, I guess everyone has their own tastes. On a final note I should mention that one thing that was plentiful in Nagoya central(i.e close to the Shinkansen train station) was plenty of Pachinkos(mini-casino’s) and KyabaKura’s(a place to meet girls and chat 🙂 )