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• Evolta

evo-evoltaTomotaka Takahashi has done it again with Evolta, a robot named after the brand of Panasonic batteries it was designed to promote.  In the last few years Takahashi-san has gained notoriety in Japan due to his unique and colorful robots, which have popped up in various media.  This rise in recognition no doubt led Panasonic to the idea of a robotic next generation energizer bunny.

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Panasonic’s Evolta batteries are the longest-lasting of their kind.  To prove it, the Evolta (a portmanteau of evolution & voltage) robot was designed specifically to climb a tiny rope – and what better challenge than to climb from the base of the Grand Canyon all the way to the top?  That’s no small feat for a robot only 17cm tall (6.7 inches) powered by two AA batteries!




A New Chibi-Robo game is on its way!

Nintendo has just released a trailer for a brand new DS game from Skip, starring our beloved household robot, Chibi-Robo. It’s titled Chibi-Robo! Happy Rich Big Sweep! and takes place in a new house with a new family to help out. No release date has been specified (update August 2012: sadly, this game was never released outside of Japan).

Video:
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• Mega Man 2

developed & published by Capcom/1989.06.01
1 Player/Cartridge/NES/GameCube/etc/Nintendo Wii (Virtual Console)

MEGAMAN2-HeaderIt’s easy to forget that Mega Man was a revolutionary action platformer back when it made its debut in the mid ’80s. A robotic hero echoing Astro Boy who defeats rogue robots created by a mad scientist, Mega Man had the unusual ability to assimilate his enemy’s weapon. Each robot had a hidden weakness that Mega Man could exploit if he had the right one.  Filled with a solid mixture of jumping and shooting challenges, Mega Man appeared like a bolt of lightning out of a clear blue sky.

• Transformers

Transformers-header

I’ll be honest with you.  I don’t like Michael Bay’s movies.  Dumb science fiction sucks.  From the disgustingly bad Armageddon to the brain-damaged The Island, there’s only so much a man can take before writing off a director.  So despite being a child of the ’80s, having grown up on a steady diet of Transformers cartoons and toys, I didn’t bother making the trip to the theater to see the live-action Transformers.  I waited until it was out on dvd, and then waited another year and a half before finally finding the time to watch it. Did I mention I’m not a fan of Shia LaBoeuf?

Evolta’s next challenge announced: Le Mans 24hrs

EVOLTA-LEMANS-header

In early August 2009 at Le Mans 24 hours endurance race in France, Panasonic’s Evolta robot will attempt the longest distance traveled by a radio-controlled car.  If successful, this will be the 2nd World Record earned by the robot, alongside its climb of the Grand Canyon in 2008.

Evolta was originally designed for rope climbing, so to perform an endurance race has required a complete redesign.  Many design options were considered, from the motors to the controls.  Should the car be remote controlled with an onboard camera?  What about a line following function seen in other robots?  Ultimately, it was decided to use infrared homing with the robot trailing behind a guide motorbike. Two videos of the new Evolta in action and more after the break.

Kentucky Fried Robot?

There are some mash-ups so unimaginable that they could only come from a mixture of Japan and a random Google image search.  Colonel Sanders gets a Neon Genesis make-over near Shinjuku station, and simultaneously rolls over in his grave.  I wonder if Angels are finger-lickin’ good, and taste just like chicken…?

KFC-EVA

[source: Three Steps Over Japan] and [More Costumed Colonels]

Welcome to Plastic Pals!

Robot Overlords

Welcome to Plastic Pals – robots who are fun to be with!

First, a shout out to all my friends from GameTrailers who gave me the encouragement to continue writing robot-related blogs!  After writing about 200 articles related to robots and several dozen game reviews, I decided it was time to start my own site specifically dedicated to these passions.  I’m hoping to reach an even larger audience while also providing useful information, media, and links to sources, which should make Plastic Pals a must-visit site for robot fanatics.

Our namesake comes from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy, wherein a robot named Marvin was marketed by Sirius Cybernetics Corporation as,”Your Plastic Pal Who’s Fun To Be With“.

As such, this is a site dedicated mostly to humanoid robots from Japan, South Korea, and the rest of the world, but also robots in general.  Robot news as well as in-depth profiles will be added daily, while movie and game reviews will be added more sporadically.  The top menu bar allows you to quickly find content you’re looking for: specific robot profiles (listed alphabetically), movie reviews, game reviews, special features (top ten lists, etc.), and store.  The side category bar will expand as I add content; allowing you to find robot-related articles based on the company or university responsible for their development.

Thanks for your attention and please consider adding Plastic Pals to your bookmarks/favorites!

~Robotbling (robotbling [at] plasticpals [dot] com)