Made in Japan – Volume 21

Made in Japan – Volume 21

This week:
Ball joint doll heads, “Plastitch” Models, Vocaloid Meets Generative Composition, Human-made Spider Web, Rice Paddy Art in Yamagata, Kakuyo’s Strap-on Fisheye Lenses for Cell Phones, Breadboarding on StapaVision, Carioka Labs’ Low-Temp Stirling Engine Car, Making Spacey Movies Through Slo-Mo, and Three “Emo” Recycling Tools.


Making Ball Joint Doll Heads
This video shows the proprietor of Hanano Dolls crafting female ball joint doll heads with polymer clay. The results are quite stunning. See more amazing work (including other parts of the body) at the Hanano Ball Joint Doll Blog. Also check out some wonderfully spooky ball joint doll stop-action movies on the Hanano YouTube channel.
[via Make: Japan]

minthouse optprim.jpg
Plastitch Models
The Mint House makes the foray into the heretofore unexplored third dimension of cross stitching with creations that are stitched onto plastic canvas that can be made into 3-d objects with movable joints. He later plans to add noise-makers and lights to the equation at some point, but doesn’t really understand the books he’s been reading. He’s currently accepting applications for a tech-savvy maker friend. Any volunteers? Stitching plus electronics could be the next big thing, I feel it.

Vocaloid Meets Generative Composition, Oh My!
Every once in a while something comes around that reminds you that we are in fact living in “the future.” Vocaloid is a music program that lets you type in the words and notes and then generates singing in a variety of different voices. Well, now YouTuber charytanaka has mashed up some generative composition via Max/MSP with Vocaloid to create a bizarre, coldly futuristic trio of singing anime vixens. The description says that the lyrics have been pre-loaded to the Vocaloid VSQ file (like MIDI, but lyrically-endowed), but I say why not take it to the next level and make the lyrics generative too? Scrape something weird from from web, or load some Markov-based corpus of bad love songs? If only I owned Vocaloid… Sponsor me, Yamaha!

Human-made Spider Web
More hijinks from the fine people at DPZ. This time they go about getting the spider’s perspective on web-making after marveling at the natural beauty of these creations. By tying a spool of string to his backside, Ando-san took to the nearest playground to give it a shot. The verdict: It’s not nearly as easy as those spiders make it look.

Rice Paddy Art in Yamagata
From Pink Tentacle:

In the Yamagata prefecture town of Yonezawa, an image of 16th-17th century samurai Naoe Kanetsugu has appeared in a field near the Onogawa hot spring. The samurai, whose image is based on a portrait housed at the nearby Uesugi Museum, appears along with a pair of fireflies and the kanji characters for “Love” and “Tenchijin,” the name of an NHK drama about Naoe Kanetsugu that will air next year. The rice will be harvested in October.

Kakuyo’s Strap-on Fisheye Lenses for Cell Phones
As a young metalhead I loved wide-angle lens pictures because late 80’s Metallica seemed to use one for all their photos. Fisheye shots were limited to the world of professional cameras for quite some time, but thankfully those days are over. DPZ chats it up with the Kakuyo company, manufacturer of various strap-on cell phone filters. It’s not just wide-angle lenses, they also make clip lenses that do teleconversion, center focus, close-up, CPL filters, cross screen filters, and more! I gotta go. It’s time for a portable heavy metal photo shoot.

Breadboarding on StapaVision
StrapaVision has an interesting format, it’s like a Japanese talk show, but the subject is a breadboarding how-to. The charsimatic Stapa Saito of StapaVision shows the lovely Minori-san the basics of breadboarding, and she even gets exaggeratedly excited when an LED lights up, much in the same way that people freak out when they eat something delicious on Japanese TV. There’s something strangely interesting about this fellow, I could watch his eyebrows all day long. [via MechaRoboShop]

Carioka Labs’ Low-Temp Stirling Engine Car
Here’s an awesome homemade Stirling engine car from the trusty Carioka Labs blog. The crank frame is made of acrylic, the overall feel of the car is quite colorful, and the large base for the heat source makes it perfect for placing a pot of hot water or other convenient heat source. Click on the link for videos of its movement. I could see a miniature Punky Brewster riding around town on one of these.

Making Spacey Movies Through Slo-Mo
With all the hype about Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide’s recent space expedition on the Kibo space station, there’s been a surge of interest in space travel throughout Japan. To help everyone live out their astronaut dreams, here’s a clever article on how to make things look like a classic space movie by using high-speed photography played back at slower speeds to create the illusion of outer spaceyness. Everything looks slower in space, and even though the objects in these videos are still subject to the laws of gravity, they seem to respond so slowly that they appear to float.

Three Recycling Tools
Here’s a set of tools designed by Aya Sunaguchi (curiously called “Emo”) that make it easier to live up to Japan’s strict recycling standards. Scissors specifically designed for cutting up milk cartons, a tool for removing the plastic rings on glass bottles, and a tool for removing the gas from used spray cans (?!?). I’m not too sure why they’re called “Emo,” but I just hope the name doesn’t get them beat up in Mexico. No worries though, it seems they could fend for themselves.


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Ready to dive into the realm of hands-on innovation? This collection serves as your passport to an exhilarating journey of cutting-edge tinkering and technological marvels, encompassing 15 indispensable books tailored for budding creators.