South Korea Promises Robot Land Opening in 2016

The most exciting place for robotics in the entire world may be in South Korea in just a few years from now

2 min read
South Korea Promises Robot Land Opening in 2016

In 2009, we heard that South Korea was working on some sort of massive robot theme park that was scheduled to open in 2012. And then, we kind of didn't hear anything for a very, very, very long time. Now that it's 2014, Robot Land is back in the news and apparently actually really seriously no kidding getting built. Yay!

After years bogged down in environmental reviews (there's a stream that probably had some sort of endangered microbe in it on the build site), Masan Robot Land officially broke ground right about here in December of last year. The first phase of construction will include a robot research and development center, a convention center, a robot exhibition hall, and (most importantly) robot theme parks.

This is all supposed to be finished by September 2016 (with the theme park opening first, in January of 2015), which seems optimistic based on how this project has gone so far. But, 700 billion won (over US $660 million) has been promised, and 89 percent of the required land (300 acres) has been purchased, so things are definitely happening now. And once phase one is complete, phase two will add a bunch of hotels and condos and stuff, to open in 2018.

While we're totally and completely in favor of a Robot Land just on principle, details on what'll actually make up the place seem to be a bit sparse. Early concept images seem to show a Ferris wheel, a monorail, at least one roller coaster, a giant robot statue, and some sort of glass pyramid thing that shoots lasers. All of these things are awesome, and we can only hope that the actual Robot Land lives up to these pictures, but one thing is for sure: when this place opens, IEEE Spectrumwill be sending a reporter to check it out in person.

Via [ Robohub ]

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The Bionic-Hand Arms Race

The prosthetics industry is too focused on high-tech limbs that are complicated, costly, and often impractical

12 min read
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A photograph of a young woman with brown eyes and neck length hair dyed rose gold sits at a white table. In one hand she holds a carbon fiber robotic arm and hand. Her other arm ends near her elbow. Her short sleeve shirt has a pattern on it of illustrated hands.

The author, Britt Young, holding her Ottobock bebionic bionic arm.

Gabriela Hasbun. Makeup: Maria Nguyen for MAC cosmetics; Hair: Joan Laqui for Living Proof
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In Jules Verne’s 1865 novel From the Earth to the Moon, members of the fictitious Baltimore Gun Club, all disabled Civil War veterans, restlessly search for a new enemy to conquer. They had spent the war innovating new, deadlier weaponry. By the war’s end, with “not quite one arm between four persons, and exactly two legs between six,” these self-taught amputee-weaponsmiths decide to repurpose their skills toward a new projectile: a rocket ship.

The story of the Baltimore Gun Club propelling themselves to the moon is about the extraordinary masculine power of the veteran, who doesn’t simply “overcome” his disability; he derives power and ambition from it. Their “crutches, wooden legs, artificial arms, steel hooks, caoutchouc [rubber] jaws, silver craniums [and] platinum noses” don’t play leading roles in their personalities—they are merely tools on their bodies. These piecemeal men are unlikely crusaders of invention with an even more unlikely mission. And yet who better to design the next great leap in technology than men remade by technology themselves?

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