Made in Japan – Volume 14

Made in Japan – Volume 14

This week:
The Point-to-Point Circuit Robot, Soceadth Art Bikes, The Mountain Guitar, Tetris on an Oscilloscope, Plastic Model Fiber Optics, Kyaraben – The Character Bento, The Quest for Edible Baran, Flash + Gainer Seesaw, and Space Invader Mosaic Tile Street Art.

Point-to-Point Circuit Robot
Circuit boards – who needs em, right? As you can see, the circuit for this robot is completely point-to-point. The movement of this wonderful mess is dictated by motors that are controlled solely by relays, and there are no ICs used anywhere in this robot – the “brain” is all transistors. You can begin to see it at the bottom right of the first picture above, but even the wheels are made of wire. Oh how I wish there was a video somewhere of this robot, because I’d really like to know what it does. The author says that there is no circuit diagram, but that if you have any questions, it’s all still in his head. Made as a project for the Tokyo Industrial University Robot Circle, this is a half-robot half-art project, with some of the components appearing to be cosmetic, as the website states that even if 78% of it were destroyed, it would still function. And in case you were wondering, yes, this robot is inspired by Borg ships from Star Trek:


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Soceadth Art Bikes
I was first made aware of Sodeadth through hearing about their gas-free human-powered Cylce Forklift (pictured above). With an anything-goes attitude towards the bicycle concept, if it can be pedal-powered, they seem to be able to make it over there at Soceadth (I have no idea how this name might be pronounced, it appears to be neither a real Japanese or English word). Some of these bikes look like they would fit right in with pedal-powered curiosities that were such a big hit at Maker Faire, but in true Japanese form, they do it a little bit cuter. An elephant shaped bike? Sure… but what if was… an elephant bike built for two?!?! Takin’ it to the cuter level, this is the way of thinking over at Soceadth.

The Mountain Guitar
Kanejun brought this Mountain Guitar creation to the Make: Tokyo Meeting. The Mountain Guitar is a Gainer-based stringless guitar that changes the sound by pointing the neck in different directions and optically “picking” with the right hand. As you might be able to hear from the video, the sounds coming out of it seem pretty heavy, and it even responds to finger acrobatics appropriately with some Van Halen-style finger tapping sounds. Kinda like Guitar Hero, minus the video game part.

Tetris on an Oscilloscope
Also from the Make: Tokyo Meeting: A retro-modern version of Tetris using vector scanning on an oscilloscope. As tempting as it might seem, you can’t actually play this version, it’s just a demo screen. Will the next version bring that sweet music along with actual game play? We can only hope.

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Illuminating Plastic Models with Fiber Optics
“Dorobou” creates light-up windows on small plastic models by stringing strands of optic fiber cable from the model’s LED-lit insides to the surface. The 1-yen piece in the picture above is about the size of a penny, so these models are pretty small. It makes my hand hurt just thinking about stringing all those pieces of fiber optics in there, but the result really brings these models to life.

Kyaraben – Character Bento
Ah, the wide world of bento art. Back in v.11 we looked at album cover bento art. Here we have various cute characters that are almost too good to be eaten. Are you still not allowed to play with your food even if it looks like a toy? Miho Nao Chin continues to push the envelope of bento art with these colorful edibles, and the page includes a nice pictoral how-to on making bento character faces. Somewhere in Japan a young child is probably not fully appreciating his mother’s hard work. Aren’t you going to finish that seaweed wheel? The cheese hair? The ham face? C’mon.

The Quest for Edible Baran
If you’ve ever had a cheap box of sushi, there was probably some baran in it: Baran is the decorative plastic partition grass that comes in a bento box or sushi to keep the neighboring flavors from spilling onto each other. The funny folks over at Daily Portal Z asked the question “What’s that stuff really for? And why isn’t it edible?” In response to these questions, they made a noble attempt to replace the usual plastic baran with several look-alike edible versions. They used squid, sliced pork, wanton wrappers, and kamaboko (that eraser-like fish cake that comes in a fancy bowl of ramen, etc.) and painted them green. In the end, the edible baran did keep the food flavors from mixing, but by the end of the meal the author describes it as being a little too much to have to eat them. The resulting bento is admittedly classified by the author as “would not do again,” but like many of the DPZ challenges (making butter via the vibration of a roller coaster, etc.), the fun was in trying.

Flash + Gainer Seesaw
The ARTY+LP Blog brings us this cute little physical computing game using an accelerometer -> Gainer -> Flash interface. It looks surprisingly responsive to the movements, but honestly all I can think about is if it’s possible to make that treasure chest fall on the kid’s head.

Space Invader Mosaic Tile Street Art
From the Street Art in Japan Flickr pool, here’s a Space Invaders tile mosaic from Shibuya. I also noticed this one from Street Art in Japan… someone’s got a sweet tag:


Made in Japan Archives

2 thoughts on “Made in Japan – Volume 14

  1. Brammi says:

    The bit of green plastic included in sushi was originally a bamboo leaf. If the bamboo leaf was still fresh, so was the fish– otherwise it was inadvisable to purchase it. Incidentally, bamboo also has antibacterial properties that helped keep the fish from going bad.

    I think that Mental Floss’ Diatribes discussed this a few weeks ago.

    Bamboo leaves still aren’t edible, though. :(

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