Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Video about how modern robots relate to karakuri

This video explores how modern Japanese robots share a lineage with ancient mechanical dolls.

[ Thanks Thomas! ]

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Monday, April 05, 2010

Wood and ball bearing version of classic karakuri

Check out Osamu Kanda's modern update to the classic tumbling karakuri figure. He has made the figure out of wood and loaded it with ball bearings to serve as the shifting internal weight.

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Saturday, January 09, 2010

Details of arrow-shooting boy karakuri mechanism

This video (in Japanese) explores the right arm mechanism for the famous arrow-shooting boy karakuri. This is a sophisticated automaton that can pick up arrows, put them on a bow string, pull the bow, and fire it at a target. There are additional motions to make the figure come to life. The animation shows the three cams that control the arm's three axes of motion.

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Monday, September 14, 2009

Hand-cranked pencil writing automaton

Automata that write or draw have a distinguished history. Here's a modern version by the prolific Osamu Kanda for your consideration.

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Saturday, May 03, 2008

Karakuri Acrobat Automaton Flipping Down Stairs

I posted in the past about Japanese Karakuri Ningyo. In particular, I mentioned the fantastic drawing karakuri. Gakken is a company that sells a few kit including a tea serving karakuri and archer karakuri that actually shoots miniature arrows.

Here is a tumbler or acrobat. I have also seen a similar design from a company in Germany, though I don't know who came up with the idea or if this is a case of independent invention. It's that last flip that really surprises me.

Here's one karakuri book and here is another karakuri book (both in Japanese).

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Friday, October 05, 2007

Automata in Japan: Karakuri Ningyo

I own two books on karakuri that are entirely in Japanese. I can't read them, but they are filled with photos and illustrations on glossy paper. Most of the karakuri in this video -- the acrobot, the archer, the magician, and the tea server -- are shown in these books.

Here's one karakuri bookand here is another karakuri book.

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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Karakuri - Japanese Automata

Did you know that there is a very old and sophisticated automata tradition in Japan? Karakuri are mechanized puppets used in theatre, religious festivals, and for entertainment. The tea-serving karakuri and archer karakuri frequently seen on eBay are modern recreations (mostly plastic) based on antique originals.

Learn more about karakuri from the very informative

You can also learn a bit about karakuri from Inside the Robot Kingdom

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