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Jason Falconer

Jason Falconer

Jason is a freelance writer based in central Canada with a background in computer graphics. He has written about hundreds of humanoid robots on his website Plastic Pals and is an avid gamer with an unsightly collection of retro consoles, cartridges, and controllers.

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— Games Feature

Nintendo's Gameboy celebrates its 25th birthday

This week marked the 25th anniversary of what is arguably the most important handheld game console ever made: the Nintendo Game Boy. The fondly remembered grey brick redefined when and where we could enjoy video games, and was the birthplace of many gaming franchises which are still going strong to this day. Now seems like the perfect time to review its storied history, including its predecessors, competition, and some of its stand-out software titles. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Panasonic's robotic bed/wheelchair first to earn global safety certification

By - April 15, 2014 9 Pictures
There's a lot of talk about Japan's rapidly aging society, and how it is expected to literally place a heavy burden on the island nation's caregivers. Among the many projected problems is a smaller pool of health care workers amidst a growing tide of elderly who require around-the-clock care. With that kind of workload, nurses are more likely to injure themselves or their patients when lifting them into and out of bed. Various solutions are in the works, such as a giant lifting robot that looks like a teddy bear, but few are as practical as Panasonic's Resyone robotic bed. It recently became the first to be certified ISO13482 compliant, the new global safety standard for service robots. Read More
— Robotics

Mitsubishi adapts EV batteries for Super Giraffe robot

By - November 20, 2013 4 Pictures
While the world watches anxiously as the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) begins its most dangerous operation yet in the ongoing clean-up of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, large Japanese corporations continue to design and build robots to help go where people cannot. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has built a new remote-controlled robot called the MHI-Super Giraffe, which has an extendable arm capable of reaching up to 8 m (26 ft), and borrows battery technology from Mitsubishi Motor's electric vehicles. Read More
— Robotics

Toyota graces IREX 2013 with helper robots and more

By - November 15, 2013 25 Pictures
In the first decade of the new millennium, Toyota's Partner Robot program was known for its truly incredible humanoid robot band that could play the trumpet, trombone, tuba, drums, and even the violin. Gradually these projects, which were designed to entertain while demonstrating the deftness with which Toyota's robot hands could manipulate objects, gave way to more practical applications. The automotive giant was on hand at the International Robot Exhibition (IREX) 2013 to showcase its latest robotic innovations, including the Winglet, the Human Support Robot, and a new compliant robot arm. Read More
— Games

Sony goes retro by reviving PocketStation on PS Vita

By - November 5, 2013 8 Pictures
Sony is doing its best to revitalize its struggling PlayStation Vita portable with two new models, and now it's bringing back its first attempt at a portable gaming console, the PocktStation, in app form. The app, which will be free until December 3rd for Japanese PS Plus subscribers who own a PS Vita, will restore the PocketStation functionality that has been missing in around 70 PlayStation games available on its digital store. Read More
— Robotics

Video: iStruct robot ape stands upright thanks to its active spine

By - October 31, 2013 5 Pictures
Back in June the world got its first glimpse of the iStruct, a robot ape developed at the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) and the University of Bremen. We predicted that in addition to the stability afforded by walking on all fours, the robot ape could feasibly stand up to free its hands for other kinds of work. Now the team has published a video that shows how their robot accomplishes this maneuver with the help of its flexible spine and sensitive feet. Read More
— Robotics

Play-i bots teach tots how to program

By - October 31, 2013 7 Pictures
With just a few taps on a tablet screen, children as young as 5 are programming a pair of robots called Bo and Yana using a simple GUI. Looking a bit like the cute one-eyed monsters from a Pixar film, the bots are the flagship products of a start-up called Play-i, founded by a team with experience at Amazon and Apple. In just two days, the company has nearly reached its crowdfunding goal of US$250,000, with plans to send out the first batch in the northern summer of 2014. Read More
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