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robertogreco : sony   15

Sony’s New toio Wants to Inspire a Future Generation of Robotics Engineers | Spoon & Tamago
"Build, play, inspire. That’s the idea behind Sony’s new toy for kids, designed to inspire a future generation of robotics engineers. Toio is the result of 5 years of research into developing a toy that’s simple enough for kids to use, but also sophisticated enough to create a figurative sandbox where kids can explore the inner-workings of robotics engineering.

Toio, at first glance, is stunningly simple: the core of the toy is just 2 white cubes with wheels. But don’t be fooled by their appearance. The tiny cubes pack a whole lot of tech. They respond to motion, are able to detect the exact location of the other, and can be programmed but also remote controlled.

It would seem that the possibilities for toio are endless, which is why the developers teamed up with various creatives and designers to come up with various craft sets that help kids explore what robots can do. You can create your own robotic beast and battle others, you can play board games with them and you can make obstacle courses for them to go through. Sony has even teamed up with Lego for this project, allowing kids to build Lego structures on top of their robots.

But one of the most attractive features is a craft set designed by the folks behind the lovable PythagoraSwitch TV segment. It’s a simple paper set that encourages kids to join the two white cubes using paper. The cubes then interact with each other and come alive, resulting in different movements.

Check out the videos to get a better sense of what toio can do. Sony has released a limited quantity of toio sets that start at 21,557 yen (about $200 USD) and go up to 33,415 (about $300 USD) depending on how many craft sets you want to add on."

[Also here: http://prostheticknowledge.tumblr.com/post/161355896016/toio-programmable-robotics-toy-from-sony-uses ]
via:tealtan  robots  classideas  toys  learning  toio  sony  robotics  engineering  paper  lego 
june 2017 by robertogreco
Sony Gave An Octopus At A New Zealand Aquarium A Camera; Trains It To Photograph Tourists - DIY Photography
"Octopuses are pretty wondrous animals with all those legs and insanely astute critical thinking skills. It’s actually not surprising at all an animal trainer working at Kelly Tarlton’s Sea Life Aquarium in New Zealand, was able to train an octopus to take photos. In fact, it only took “Rambo” the octopus three attempts to understand how the process works.

Now, Rambo charges a cool $2 for a visitor to her tank to sit for a portrait taken by the octographer. The small donation goes directly to the aquarium to help offset expenses. But, if you’re looking to have Rambo take your photo, be sure to check her hours first, as the aquarium says she on a light work schedule.

Take a look:

[Ad on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rI9tP3mZfxM ]
“When we first tried to get her to take a photo, it only took three attempts for her to understand the process. That’s faster than a dog. Actually it’s faster than a human in some instances.” Mark Vette, traine

In front her tank, there’s a backdrop where visitors can pose for their photos. It appears these children on a school trip to the aquarium thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

The camera, a Sony DSC-TX30, was secured into a custom made housing to mount onto Rambo’s tank. The campaign was sponsored by Sony to help show how durable their camera is and to raise awareness of octopuses high level of intelligence."

[via: https://twitter.com/justinpickard/status/586755425720082432 ]
animals  octopus  cephalopods  2015  sony  advertising  technology  photography  cameras 
april 2015 by robertogreco
An Asshole Theory of Technology - The Awl
"This reminded me of something I came across a few years ago. It’s an account of Sony Chairman Akio Morita testing out the first Walkman:

[image: "I rushed home with the first Walkman and was trying it out with different music when I noticed that my experiment was annoying my wife, who felt shut out. All right, I decided, we need to make provision for two sets of headphones. The next week the production staff had produced another model with two headphone jacks."]

And an accompanying note, written a decade later in 1989, from writer Rebecca Lind (both collected from this book):

[image: "... the potential interaction of personal stereo use and interpersonal communication was considered from the very beginning of Walkman product development. Further, the potential impact was deemed to be something which should be remedied, hence, the addition of extra jacks and the "hot line" feature [which reduces playback volume and allows sharing listeners to converse without removing their headphones]. Because these attempts were made to neutralize this situation, we may assume that the personal stereo was at first considered to have a potentially negative influence on interpersonal communication."]

There seems to be something similar going on with the Apple Watch: an assumption not just that watches don’t do enough, or that other smartwatches are bad, or that an Apple Watch might allow people to do new things, but that the Apple Watch can, and must, fix the way people behave. It is, in this view, a tool for correcting problems created by the device to which it must be paired to operate. The Apple Watch is supposed to be a filter between you and your attention-suck hellworld smartphone; we will give it permission to intervene because it is slightly easier to look at while reducing our what’s-going-on-over-there-by-which-I-mean-in-my-pocket—by-which-I-mean-everywhere-else anxiety just enough to keep us sane. It provides a slight buzz, hopefully just enough, at a lower social cost. So it’s a little like… methadone?

Sony was worried that its portable stereo would be alienating. This turned out to be true. But the impulse to correct it was wrong: the thing that made it alienating was precisely the thing that made it good. The more compelling a gadget is, the more you use it, the more the people around you resent you for using it, the more they are pressured to use it themselves. (The fact that these devices are now all connected to each other only accelerates the effect.)

This is the closest thing we have to a law of portable gadgetry: the more annoying it is to the people around you, the “better” the concept. The more that using it makes you seem like an asshole to people who aren’t using it, the brighter its commercial prospects.

Consider an extreme example: Skip ahead past whatever replaces Google Glass** and the Oculus Rift to, say, mostly invisible lenses that take over for most of what we use phones for now (and, presumably, quite a bit more). It will certainly be tempting to suggest that the lens is less “distracting” then a phone or a tablet or a watch or a headset that blocks your view. And it will certainly help remedy the specific behaviors associated by previous devices. But just imagine how much of an asshole you’ll seem like to people in your physical vicinity for whom lensworld is inaccessible. You will be less present to non-participants than ever, even if your outward appearance and behavior lacks previously known asshole qualities. You will be two feet away and living on a different planet. (Though by then, maybe phone-level distraction will be normalized. Why prioritize people talking to you from two feet away over people talking to you from 100 miles? What the hell is your problem you stupid bad idiot? I’m talking to someone here, way over there.)

This is not to say that the Apple Watch won’t be successful, or that it will. But if it is, it probably won’t be for the reasons reviewers think, or even necessarily for the reason Apple thinks (it was designed by a self-described “group of people who love our watches,” which, what? Who??). It won’t be because it’s a better watch (boring, weird, WRONG) or because it makes non-Apple-watch users less irritable (anti-marketing). It will succeed if it can create new rude exclusionary worlds for its wearers (this is why I wouldn’t underrate the weird “Taptic” communications stuff).

It will succeed, in other words, to whatever extent it allows people to be assholes."
apple  culture  rebeccalind  akiomorita  communication  attention  isolation  applewatch  sony  walkman  googleglass  johnherrman  distraction  oculusrift  mobile  phones  smartphones  2015 
april 2015 by robertogreco
Japan's Robot Dogs Get Funerals as Sony Looks Away
[See also: “http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/mar/12/mourn-robotic-dog-human-sony”
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/mar/12/mourn-robotic-dog-human-sony

http://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/sony-aibo-robot-dog-funeral-in-japan/
http://www.popsci.com/worlds-saddest-funeral-robot-dogs-held-japan
http://toyland.gizmodo.com/japan-is-holding-actual-funerals-for-sonys-robotic-aibo-1688175542
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2968691/Funerals-held-ROBOTIC-dogs-Japan-owners-believe-souls.html ]

"In 1999, Sony launched a robot dog named Aibo in the U.S. and Japan that not only responded to external stimuli, but was able to learn and express itself. These capabilities, a press release from the time explained, “allow each unit to develop a unique personality including behavior shaped by the praise and scolding of its owner.” And Aibo, short for “Artificially Intelligent Robot,” quickly became a hit--especially in Japan.

At around $600 to $2,000 a pup, each iteration of Aibo cost less than some real dogs. And the perks didn’t end there. “When I leave on holiday I can just turn him off, I don’t need to feed him,” Hideko Mori, a robot dog owner of eight years, told AFP. “He doesn’t need taking out, well, not exactly. From time to time he cocks his leg and there’s this noise like water running. It’s a beautiful noise.”

Mori purchased the pooch after the death of her husband and, like many other Aibo owners, became attached to her unique cyborg companion.

“I can’t imagine how quiet our living room would have been if Ai-chan wasn’t here,” Sumie Maekawa, a longtime Aibo owner, told The Wall Street Journal, using an honorific suffix applied to girls’ names.

Tatsuo Matsui, who owns two digital dogs with his wife, added, “I can’t risk my precious dogs because they are important members of our family.”

Despite the loyal fanbase, Sony decided to discontinue the bot in 2006, after selling around 150,000 units.

"Our core businesses are electronics, games and entertainment, but the focus is going to be on profitability and strategic growth," a Sony spokeswoman said at the time. "In light of that, we've decided to cancel the Aibo line."

For years following the announcement, Sony would repair Aibos that experienced technical difficulties. But in July 2014, those repairs stopped and owners were left to look elsewhere for help.

“The first time I spoke directly to a client he told me, ‘He’s not very well, can you examine him?’” Hiroshi Funabashi, a robot dog repairman, told AFP. “I realized he didn’t see it as a robot, but as a member of his family whose life was more important than his own.”

The Sony stiff has led not only to the formation of support groups--where Aibo enthusiasts can share tips and help each other with repairs--but has fed the bionic pet vet industry.

“The people who have them feel their presence and personality,” Nobuyuki Narimatsu, director of A-Fun, a repair company for robot dogs, told AFP. “So we think that somehow, they really have souls.”

While concerted repair efforts have kept many an Aibo alive, a shortage of spare parts means that some of their lives have come to an end. The following images show the funerals of 19 Aibos that engineers at A-Fun were unable to save.

Each formerly automated animal is wearing a tag with its owner’s name, as well as where it is from.

Newsweek reached out to Sony about Aibo’s gradual extinction and those who are watching their not-so-furry friends vanish, but they declined to comment.

"It’s not at all unusual for people to develop strong emotional attachments to non-living objects or machines," says cyberpsychologist Eleanor Barlow, giving the common examples of naming a car, or a child becoming attached to a doll. "Research suggests this can happen in order to satisfy a need in us...to care for something to improve our own sense of well-being or by way of a child substitute."

As artificially intelligent machines are increasingly incorporated into our modern lives, Barlow forsees people substituting robot interfacing for human interaction. And when a machine resembles something living (like Aibo), people are likely to both form a stronger bond to it and feel a greater sense of loss when it vanishes, she added.

The funerals show that this notion is not so far-fetched."
aibo  dogs  japan  robots  pets  sony  2015  technology 
march 2015 by robertogreco
In Japan, Dog Owners Feel Abandoned as Sony Stops Supporting ‘Aibo’ - WSJ
"Masters Run in Circles Seeking Help for Aged Robotic Pets; Failing Joints"
via:debcha  pets  robots  aibo  sony  japan  2015  dogs 
february 2015 by robertogreco
Born to Sell: How Indie Games Went Mainstream At E3 - Forbes
"The idea of an “indie” has always been reactionary, an attempt to reverse the momentum of industrialization by stripping creative production to a poetic minimum.. The indie designer has become a romantic fixation for videogame culture in recent years, something that’s given an industry calcifying around expensive sequels a sense of creative momentum and social purpose it wouldn’t otherwise have had. The improbable successes of Minecraft, Braid, Gone Home and Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP show that it’s not the commercialization of creative sharing that’s corrupt, but only the industry’s least ethical practitioners, the handful of conglomerates like Ubisoft and EA and Activision.

It’s too easy to see the indie ethic as the antithesis of industrialized creativity, looking past the fact that indie and conglomerate are built on the same intrusive market structure that insists community participation should be bisected by a paywall. As has been the case in every industry of mass produced culture, the “indie” is inevitably just a tributary to a bigger market, less a correction to what is broken than an extension of it, ennobling the entrepreneurial at the most intimate levels."



"These micro-publishers offer a helpful services, but their emergence is a clear indication of how the same economic structures the “indie” appears to renounce end up being replicated on a smaller scale. In every other creative industry, the identity of any given “indie” group is fleeting, with the most successful of them eventually adopting the same capital values as the conglomerates they seem to oppose. After starting out as a small operation bringing European art movies to American theaters in the mid-80s, Miramax found it easy enough to transition into a studio unto itself, churning out bloodless genre movies like She’s All That, Scary Movie, and Cold Mountain. Similarly reviled publisher EA began as a self-funded assembly of programmers guided by a faith that computers could make you cry. 30 years later they’re a $3.8 billion a year company, voted America’s worst in 2013, known for acquiring studios to force them to work on legacy IP and then imposing massive layoffs when those games fail in the market

The infatuation with the “indie” is driven by a consumerist delusion that there’s an ethical and unethical way to shop for culture, it’s not the market structure that violates the basic dignity of human creative work but an aesthetic reading of the symbolic values represented in particular works. In that way, a stubbornly conservative game like Gone Home—making monogamous coupling the central force in human experience, celebrating a melancholy burst of nostalgia from the leftover trinkets of 90s identity politics and consumerism, and reinforcing a fundamental shamefulness about open depictions sex—can be seen as a more ethical than, say, Far Cry 3 or Battlefield 4, patriarchal hymns to white violence and empire that are, nevertheless, produced by the same market-driven labor structures as the indie.

The romantic indie ethos only further impoverishes those who work in it by enshrining the idea that creative work should be done on-spec, with all the financial liability held by the developers, while profits are subdivided by owners of the networks they depend on for distribution. As the pressures on the biggest studios and publishers intensify, demanding bigger and riskier investments to compete for a relatively fixed number of core game consumers, the flourishing of an indie culture ensure there is little incentive for corporations to pursue any strategy other than blockbuster survivalism. There is no need to compete against these upstart auteurs because they can be bought ex post facto. Even if they haven’t signed a contract, the form of their product, the volume of labor required to produce it, guarantees whatever success they have will be owned by the market system, be it Valve, Apple, Microsoft, or Sony."

Even wandering through the IndieCade booth at E3, a wonderfully creative and welcoming space amid a sea of neon repulsion, the sense of independence is almost entirely symbolic. One of my favorite games from E3 was found in the IndieCade space, a rough but beautifully playful game called Long Take designed by Sun Park and his studio Turtle Cream. Originally designed over 50 hours during a game jam event, Long Take has players control not the hero but a camera filming him or her on a 2D plane. Each level begins with a zoomed out shot of the entire space and then slowly closes in on the hero, who the player must track throughout the level. If the hero runs or falls out of frame the player fails. Only things framed by the player’s camera view are allowed to move, meaning the player must avoid revealing enemies or missiles waiting in the wings, which will begin to attack if they’re in-frame.

It’s a fantastically clever variation on one of the most familiar videogame types, enriched with a layer of voyeurism and the stress of not being directly in control while still bearing responsibility for the consequences. After my demo, Park told me while the game is currently free, he’s hard at work on expanding it into a full commercial version that he’ll eventually try and sell over Steam. The need to make money is the blackhole that swallows us at all levels, indie or otherwise.

In the economy of the indie game, one sees the self-defeating effort of our most technologically dependent art form attempting to re-enchant itself through a rite of economic self-abnegation. Paradoxically, the product of this process has most cultural meaning when it results in the greatest amount of market activity, reinforcing the subjective admiration of critics and players with an empirical measure of units sold, revenue earned, and awards won. The fantasy of an “indie” culture of game design is ultimately not about aesthetics or representation but a desire to see the market structure itself proven viable in a time when all indicators point toward its doom. Through the cultural umbrella of “indie” one of our era’s dumbest and and most paralyzing aphorisms—just be yourself—is transformed into an economic mandate, becoming a life preserve for a dying socio-political order in the process.

If videogames have become the predominant art form of the 21st Century, they have done so by amusing a population that has embraced being predominated. This year’s E3 made it possible to see how inextricable systems of economic exploitation are from the videogame, which is itself an engine of structural thievery, a miniaturized mirror that extracts maximum time for minimum return in the same way its financiers extract maximum hours for the lowest possible investment. Absent an ability to reject this structure of exploitation, we find it easier to relabel the exploited, to give them enchanted laurels of cultural significance in acknowledgement that there very likely won’t be any other kind of compensation."
videogames  indiegames  games  gaming  economics  exploitation  2014  michaelthomsen  e3  valve  apple  sony  labor  money  capitalism  markets  steam 
july 2014 by robertogreco
russell davies: the web, the web, the web
"I'm Not Saying: the website is broken therefore the company must have stupid web people.

I Am Saying: the website is broken therefore the company must have stupid leadership.

I Am Further Saying: I bet the web people are brilliant and are struggling to cope with an organisation that thinks the web is for marketing and aftersales rather then realising that the web is the platform on which they should build their whole business.

I Am Further Acknowledging Again That This Is Hard: It's hard because you have thousands of skus and legacy systems tied into horrible service contracts in competing regions, divisions and cultures. Fair enough. That's what you have to solve. That's why it's not a technology problem.

If you have so many products that you can't build a website that can easily surface them - then you have too many products.

If you have a corporate structure that means customers can't find the stuff they want - then you have the wrong corporate structure."
russelldavies  sony  web  management  digital  tcsnmy  organization  administration  leadership  2013 
october 2013 by robertogreco
Tales of the Rampant Coyote: The Black Triangle
"Afterwards, we came to refer to certain types of accomplishments as “black triangles.” These are important accomplishments that take a lot of effort to achieve, but upon completion you don’t have much to show for it – only that more work can now proceed. It takes someone who really knows the guts of what you are doing to appreciate a black triangle."

[via: http://blog.tanmade.com/post/49796643941/afterwards-we-came-to-refer-to-certain-types-of and http://tomarmitage.com/2013/05/05/week-29/ ]
architecture  development  programming  software  work  labor  intangibles  blacktriangles  darkmatter  achievement  success  design  designprocess  history  internetthinking  process  sony  storytelling  technology  2004 
may 2013 by robertogreco
Ultra Compact Digital Cameras | NEX-5/NEX-3 Cameras : Sony
"The amazing new NEX-5 and NEX-3 ultra-compact digital cameras from Sony make DSLR-quality images accessible to everyone. Step up to DSLR picture quality, quick shooting responses and the convenience of interchangeable lenses, plus smart features like AVCHD video and Sweep Panorama. Teaming serious creative possibilities with stylish looks, the ultra-compact new NEX-5 and NEX-3 digital cameras from Sony are beautifully easy to use."
dslr  cameras  photography  sony 
december 2010 by robertogreco
Tale of Tales» A bad year for dreams
Provocative post with many comments. "2009 Was another triumphant year for the Wii & DS. Nintendo has successfully introduced the general public to playing games on computer hardware... far from a triumph for the medium of videogames. ..Nintendo didn’t do much. ... Rather than trying to start a revolution with a brand new medium, they had a good look at the way people play today & made digital versions of those activities. They basically made it possible for people to play the kinds of games they were already enjoying, on their television sets. Some may celebrate this as the breakthrough of videogames into the mainstream. I don’t. I hope this is just a temporary setback in the evolution of the medium. I’m not a big fan of huge corporations, but I do share, to some extent, the dreams that Sony & Microsoft have about the interactive medium. With them, I see videogames as the great new art form of the new century. Videogames as the cinema, television & pop music of the young millennium."
games  gaming  videogames  art  sony  microsoft  nintendo  play  lifestyle  2009  genre 
december 2009 by robertogreco
JEANSNOW.NET -- REC YOU
"REC YOU is a new online campaign for the latest SONY Walkman — it uses the One Seg function, popular these days on mobile phones. It looks like you can send a portrait — you’ll find more details at the REC YOU site — which will then be used later
animation  photography  japanese  sony  technology  avatars  webdesign  interactive  3d  media  music  ad  branding  promotion  projectors  interface  webdev 
october 2007 by robertogreco
Sony shows off range of enviro-friendly "odo" gear - Engadget
"Sony's showing off a whole range of new environmentally-friendly gear in Japan at the moment, all of which can be used without ever having to be plugged in for a recharge."
japan  technology  green  gadgets  cameras  sony  design 
june 2007 by robertogreco

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