Robo rock

Robo rock
Robot guitarist "Mach" and a robot drummer "Ashura" (back), members of a robot rock band "Z-Machines", perform music during the two day art and technology event "Maker Faire Tokyo" at the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Tokyo on November 3, 2013. The Z-Machines, with a robot drummer and a robot keyboard player made their debut live performance last July.

All-robot band wows crowd at one of two robotics exhibitions in Japan.

The two robot exhibitions in Japan this month were mind-blowing.

Both the Maker Faire Tokyo and the International Robot Exhibition, held in the Japanese capital, displayed eye-popping robotics. At Maker Faire, all-robot band Z-Machines wowed the crowd with a 10-minute set.

Reported tech site endgadget: "The guitarist (Mach) wields two guitars, while we counted just over 20 drumsticks connected to Ashura, with plenty of pneumatic piping on both robots to ensure they connect with their respective instruments."

Over at the International Robot Exhibition, pneumatic muscle suits and a walking stick that behaves like a guide dog competed for attention with an industrial robot that can paint fingernails.

In a country where a quarter of the 128 million population is aged over 65, innovations that can make life easier for the elderly or their caregivers are potentially big business and the subject of much research.

A "muscle suit" that gives extra power to a carer to help him or her lift a bed-bound patient was one of the star attractions at the International Robot Exhibition, reported AFP.

Worn like a backpack, the device is powered by compressed air and takes some of the strain out of lifting an elderly or disabled person by giving extra muscle power to the back and hips.

The machine, developed by Tokyo University of Science and a nursing care company, is activated by a tube in the wearer's mouth, adding lift when the operator breathes in. Exhaling switches the power off.


"It feels like you're using about half the power to lift people," caregiver Norikatsu Kimura, who took part in a trial at elderly care firm, told AFP.

Among the 300 companies at the four-day expo was NSK, which was showcasing a walking stick-like device to help visually impaired users with physical support and guidance on directions.

The Lighbot, which looks a little like a cane standing on a tiny cart, can guide a visually impaired user to a pre-programmed destination.

It even watches out for dangers along the way, including trip hazards such as holes or walls, and height obstacles like branches.


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