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Loving the Machine: The Art and Science of Japanese Robots
     

Loving the Machine: The Art and Science of Japanese Robots

by Timothy N. Hornyak
 

Japan stands out for its long love affair with humanoid robots, a phenomenon that is creating what will likely be the world's first mass robot culture. While U.S. companies have produced robot vacuum cleaners and war machines, Japan has created warm and fuzzy life-like robot therapy pets. While the U.S. makes movies like "Robocop" and "The Terminator

Overview

Japan stands out for its long love affair with humanoid robots, a phenomenon that is creating what will likely be the world's first mass robot culture. While U.S. companies have produced robot vacuum cleaners and war machines, Japan has created warm and fuzzy life-like robot therapy pets. While the U.S. makes movies like "Robocop" and "The Terminator," Japan is responsible for the friendly Mighty Atom, Aibo and Asimo. While the U.S. sponsors robot-on-robot destruction contests, Japan's feature tasks that mimic nonviolent human activities. The Steven Spielberg film, "AI," was a disaster at the world box office-except in Japan, where it was a huge hit. Why is this? What can account for Japan's unique relationship with robots as potential colleagues in life, rather than as potential adversaries? Loving the Machine attempts to answer this fundamental query by looking at Japan's historical connections with robots, its present fascination and leading technologies, and what the future holds. Through in-depth interviews with scientists, researchers, historians, artists, writers and others involved with or influenced by robots today, author Timothy N. Hornyak looks at robots in Japan from the perspectives of culture, psychology and history, as well as technology; and brings understanding to an endlessly evolving subject. From the Edo-period humanoid automatons, through popular animation icons and into the high tech labs of today's researchers into robotic action and intelligence, the author traces a fascinating trail of passion and development.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
How many news stories have you seen about the latest consumer robot success story in Japan or advances by Japanese researchers in developing androids that mimic human movement or nonverbal communication? Science and technology journalist Hornyak explores the place of robots in Japan's cultural history, from the Edo period to today, to explain why robots are so revered in that country. Beginning with medieval Karakuri dolls, the famous 1920s Buddha robot, and manga and anime robot characters, then moving on to early walking robots and consumer products like Sony's Aibo robot dog, Hornyak examines robots as social machines. Cleverly contrasting Japanese and U.S. portrayals of robots in popular culture during different time periods, he reveals how culture influences technology innovation and advancement. This book will connect a lot of dots for U.S. manga and anime fans. Strongly recommended for all collections. James A. Buczynski, Seneca Coll. of Applied Arts & Technology, Toronto Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9784770030122
Publisher:
Kodansha International
Publication date:
07/28/2006
Pages:
160
Product dimensions:
9.90(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.70(d)

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Meet the Author

TIMOTHY N. HORNYAK moved to Japan in 1999 after working as a freelance science and technology journalist in Montreal. He worked at the international desk of Kyodo News in Tokyo, and has written about Japanese culture, technology and history for Scientific American, the Far Eastern Economic Review and other publications.

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