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Loving the Machine: The Art and Science of Japanese Robots Hardcover – July 28, 2006

9 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-4770030122 ISBN-10: 4770030126 Edition: First edition.

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Editorial Reviews Review

Book Description From the amazing automatons of feudal Japan to giant animated robots and the cutting-edge androids of today, Loving the Machine is a fascinating journey of passion and discovery.

Loving the Machine Video Clip
Watch a video clip featuring author Timothy Hornyak--and robots

How Much Do You Really Know About Robots?
(After reading Loving the Machine: The Art and Science of Japanese Robots, you’ll know a lot!)

Q: Where did the term "robot" first appear, and who coined it?
A: Karel Capek, pronounced [KARL CHAP-ek], in his 1921 play R. U. R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots).

Q: One of Japan’s first "robots" was a clockwork servant who would bring guests a cup of tea, then return to the server with the empty cup. In what century did these "tea-serving dolls" as they were known, appear?
A: The Eighteenth century, Japan’s Edo period.

Q: The animated hero Astro Boy may have 100,000 horsepower strength, but does he have a human soul?
A: Yes—and more importantly, he can fire bullets out of his backside!

Q: Wakamaru is a robot created by Mitsubishi that can recite news and weather forecasts that it receives from the Internet, look into people’s eyes when being spoken to, and charge itself when its power is running low. For what purpose was Wakamaru built?
A: For domestic help.

Q: The RoboCup, in which robot teams of soccer players from around the world compete, has as its ultimate goal the creation of a team of robots who will be able to take on the reigning World Cup champions. By what year do the RoboCup’s founders hope to have a team of robot Beckhams ready to face humanity’s top players?
A: 2050.

Q: What team’s humanoid robots won the RoboCup in the summer of 2006—and in several years before that?
A: Team Osaka (which is managed by Systec Akazawa Co. and includes robotics experts from Osaka University).

Q: Which team won in the Small Robot League this past summer?
A: Carnegie-Mellon University’s CMDragons.

Q: Sony’s Aibo robot, first available to consumers in 1999, was not a humanoid robot. What did it resemble?
A: A puppy.

Q: One of the most advanced robots in the world is ASIMO, a humanoid who can recognize faces, serve drinks, and run at 4 miles per hour. ASIMO rang the opening bell on the New York Stock Exchange in 2002, and was parodied on a South Park episode in which Eric Cartman tried to pass himself off as a robot called "AWESOM-O." What Japanese corporation created ASIMO? A: Honda.

Q: In 2006, android maker Hiroshi Ishiguro unveiled an android clone of what person?
A: Himself—he figured it would help cut his workload in half!


Beautiful...enlightening....a must-read for bot-obsessed humanoids. -- Wired Magazine

It’s a fascinating history, rendered in words and bright photographs. -- The Associated Press

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 159 pages
  • Publisher: Kodansha International; First edition. edition (July 28, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 4770030126
  • ISBN-13: 978-4770030122
  • Product Dimensions: 9.9 x 0.7 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,298,452 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Zack Davisson HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 4, 2006
Format: Hardcover
All of my life, I have been promised that the age of the robot is just around the corner. It seems like one of those things that is always in the immediate future, and always just out of reach, an eternal carrot that we keep moving towards, always one step ahead. Fifty years ago, they figured we would all be living with robots in our homes by now, doing domestic chores, entertaining us, educating us. Our plastic pal whose fun to be with!

"Loving the Machine" again makes this promise, and again I am inclined to believe it. Author Timothy Hornyak plays show and tell, taking you on a guided tour through robotics from the primitive first attempts to the modern marvels of Asimo and the semi-android Replee Q1expo. They really are stunning, and one can almost feel the fire of creativity and inspiration driving modern robotics research. The scientists are building robots out of passion, out of a real sense of discovery rather than commerce, and that is what always drives technology forward. All of the different fields are coming together, mixing software with hardware, sharing breakthroughs and triumphs that far outnumber failures and disappointments.

Ostensibly, "Loving the Machine" is also about Japan's relationship with the robot, and it is. Japan's culture of robots stretches back into its distant past, with the Karakuri automatons that are still wonders of ancient technology, unable to be replicated today. Whereas Western cultures have Superman, Japan has Mighty Atom, the robot superboy. Whereas the US has GI Joe, Japan has the super robots Gundam and Mazinger Z. Japan has nurtured a deep-seated love for the robot, and the whole country holds its collective breath waiting for the first truly intelligent robot to announce its own birthday.
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Format: Hardcover
Loving The Machine: The Art And Science Of Japanese Robots is a fascinating and informative tribute to Japanese popular culture and its love affair with humanoid robots ranging from anime's Astro Boy to automatons imagined in speculative fiction to have existed in the Edo period of Japanese history. In stark contrast to American movies portraying robots as ruthless, Terminator-style killing machines, Japanese cinema and television has a tradition of gentler robots that mimic human activities. Full-color photographs on every page illustrate this unique analysis of what Japanese culture celebrates robots, Japan's historical connections to robots, and what modern technology indicates the future holds. Loving The Machine is very highly recommended reading -- especially for modern Japanese culture buffs.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Alan Engel on December 29, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Background for Robotics Tsukuba [...] and CES 2011 booth, Robotics Tech Zone, [...
A better subtitle would be "The Art and Culture of Japanese Robots," for there is little science in this book. Very artfully illustrated, Loving the Machine traces robotics in Japan from 16th century puppets through the comic book robot Mighty Atom to the most recent humanoid and android robots.

Loving the Machine is not about science; it is about a subculture. This subculture is that of the Japanese creators of comic book robots and their hardware descendents. Except when quoting large sales figures for robot pets and the pervasiveness of industrial robots, the author rarely steps outside this subculture. Hornyak wants to pursuade the reader that the Japanese public is far more accepting of robots than is the Western public. This may be true but this book does not succeed in making this case.

The value of this book to this reader is in its description of this fantasy/entertainment subculture. Knowledge of this subculture should make recognition of progress in its surrounding culture more easily recognizable.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ray. Bod on November 9, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Do you want to know what's going on in the world of human-like robots? This book will bring you up to the present and it's happening in Japan. It's good light reading with the right balance of photos of robots. Not any kind of depth - just a light entertaining read. Kid's will like it as well as any adult who's interested in cartoon robots and real cutting edge human-like robots.

The book really shows how easily human-like robots are slipping in the psychie of Japan (and eventually the rest of us). Are we really ready for the coming robot world? Doesn't matter. We're all being softened up by these friendly and so nice robots. Nice, nice robots. Step by step with the help of their human inventors and advertisers, they've started their march into human society. I'd suggest watching the movie "I Robot" after you've read the book, or give both as a gift.
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Format: Hardcover
I was reading a Japanese newspaper and the headline read "Android teaching lessons at Tokyo Elementary School".

As a big sci-fi and mecha (robot genre) fan, I often wondered about the progress of robotic technology in America but also how America and Japan perceive the future of utilizing this technology. And what grabbed my attention of "LOVING THE MACHINE: The Art and Science of Japanese Robots" were a few sentences that instantly grabbed my attention.

Here, in America, when robot technology is featured, they are viewed as robots or computers who attain intelligence and want to rule over or destroy the world or humanity. With films such as "Terminator", "Eagle Eye", to even many science fiction novels, robots with intelligence are typically featured as technology that can go awry and humanity will be responsible for creating something that can kill us off.

Meanwhile, in Japan, robotics are seen differently. Integrated into society and it has been that way for a long time with the animation and manga series "Tetsuwan Atom" (Atom Boy) to humans piloting large mecha suits such as Gundam and moreso now as there have been a robot created after a newscaster, a robot serving drinks or food at a restaurant. There are two different perspectives of robotic technology.

"LOVING THE MACINE: The Art and Science of Japanese Robots" is a magnificent book on the Japanese perspective, creation and the utilization of robot technology written by Timothy N. Hornyak, who works at the International desk of Kyodo News.

I was immediately surprised to read that robot technology or the planning of clock-work automations were done back in the 1600's.
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