Under the theme of “Future Town,” INNOLAB has been attempting to activate communication of visitors in Grand Front Osaka through IoT-based navigation and word of mouth since April 2013.
While succeeding in setting the groove in the town by utilizing the signage and the smart phone app, there is still a challenge to approach the edgy needs like fashion. Though, as now we’re able to choose appropriate IT for the individual such as wearable terminals, the environment of IoT has been improved enough to approach to individual lifestyles.
INNOLAB is now focusing on “fashion,” the field reflects individual lifestyles the most. Having Kyun_kun, a world-renowned “robotics fashion creator,” on our collaboration partners, we’ve launched a new research area “Robotinity & Fashion.”
Kyun_kun has started developing wearable robot arms “METCALF,” which named after the combination of Japanese mecha (robot) and fuku (clothes), about two years ago. She has originally been studying mechanical engineering and later become interested in fashion, so she combined those two and now creating “robots as fashion,” focusing on the project of METCALF.
This time, she has newly developed “METCALF clione,” the lighter and advanced version of METCALF. As the idea itself was previously conceived, it took just 3 months or so to create – from design and completion.
The new METCALF clione is a beautiful transparent design with the blue graphic on the acrylic board. “clione” is named after the creature in the sea for its transparent body.
There are 3 different points between METCALF clione and METCALF.
The first feature is the reduction in weight. The previous model was made of aluminum and weighed 3kg, which was too heavy to wear regularly. METCALF clione succeed in loosing half of the weight of previous model by using the acrylic board and aluminum.
The second feature is the graphic on METCALF clione. The graphic is designed by Rei Nakanish, a graphic designer who also designed Kyun-kun’s logo and name card.
The conventional robot hardly had the graphic in its design, but Kyun_kun and Rei focuses on design, as METCALF clione is a robot for fashion.
We asked Rei Nakanish which was the tricky part to design the graphic on the robot and she said, “I didn’t want to design special thing because it’s robot. Tried to place the graphic naturally so as to be a continuation of fashion.”
And, the final feature is the control of the movement. Now it’s able to control the movement of the robot by smartphones. The previous model was controlled by the microcomputer, but now, thanks to “V-Sido OS” of Asratec Corp. (the unit of SoftBank Corp.), you can boot the robot from your own smartphone and control its movement intuitively.
You can see its actual move in the above video. Kyun_kun told us that opening and closing of the arms are inspired by a ballet . This kind of delicate feature shows Kyun_kun’s sheer persistence in the development.
Far left is Rei Nakanishi
Kyun-kun told us the following message:
“It’s a shame to conform fashion to the shape of a human. I would like to enjoy and create new fashion and design free from those boundaries.
“The next steps of METCALF clione is the improvement of the flexibility (increase the arthro of the robot) and create not only arms but also other parts of the body. My aim is to make robots to be the part of fashion which everyone can wear in their daily life”.
METCALF clione was exhibited in Umekita Future Lab in Umekita Festival 2016 (Match 30 – April 2), and will be exhibited in Bains numériques, the international media art event in France.
Our new Robotinity & Fashion lead by Kyun is challenging to diversify the way of self-expression by developing wearable terminals focused on the individual lifestyle and increasing the range of fashion under the theme of “Fusion of Fashion and Technology.”