Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Golden Week

This Week is golden week, so we will be taking a break of the blog, but do not worry, we will come back next week with more interesting articles for you to read.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

RT Middleware

By Takeshi Sasaki

Going back to explaining a little bit on what we do here in the lab, we have a great introduction and a little video of what RT Middleware is by our resident researcher.

Recently, OMG (Object Management Group, adopted the RTC (Robotic Technology Component) Specification that defined a component model for development of robotic systems.
In module or component based systems, independent elements (module or component) of functions of the systems are first developed and the systems are then built by combining the modules.
The modularization increases maintainability and reusability of the elements.
Moreover, flexible and scalable system can be realized since the system is reconfigured by adding or replacing only related components. RTCBasedServiceRobot
OpenRTM-aist ( is a middleware that complies with the standard.
It also includes a template code generator which makes a source code of a component from the specification of the component (e.g. number of I/O ports, etc.) and a system design tool which provides graphical user interface to change the connection of components and start/stop the system.
The attached video shows an example of system construction using the OpenRTM-aist.

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Monday, 27 April 2009

Natural Robotics

The bare sound of the word robotics makes us think in wires, electronics and artificial intelligence. But what would happen if we were to extend our imagination further than this concepts.

Theo  Jansen calls himself a kinetic sculptor and creates a variety of creatures that use wind to move.

Presented in TED in 2007 and in a BMW advertisement his work is inspiring and thrives us to search further answers in unlikely environments.


Thursday, 23 April 2009

Minority Report


Any of you remember the movie Minority Report. DO you remember the user interface that was used to get the information out of the computer.

A Lab at MIT is working jointly with some companies into developing such interface, which was inspired precisely in this laboratory's work.

We are expecting to create something similar but maybe using a different user interface system, who knows, maybe we are on the brink of something great.

System name is G-Speak.

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Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Robotic Penguin


Hello readers:

This time with a new infomercial of a company called Festo, the idea is not to promote, but to show what have they managed to build in a controlled environment.

The idea is very cool and it reminds me of the Fantasia 2000 movie, you should just watch it and with this in mind try to expand your brains.

Ahh and by the way we have our semi weekly meeting just tomorrow. Be sure to keep you posted


Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Robotics and Spiders


Yokohama port was one of the first five ports that opened to external influence, and currently is celebrating its 150th anniversary.

A lot of events are taking place, but of special interest is a giant robotic spider that is crawling the streets since the past three days.

The spider is human controlled, but it would be great if it could be automatically controlled via sensors and a path recognition system.

I leave you with a video.


Monday, 20 April 2009

More Free Lectures

Recently over Facebook a friend showed me a link of great interest. Its name is, this site contains also a great amount of free lectures in what appear to be a more orderly and clean way than the ones previously posted.

The other link is YouTube very own YouTubeEdu, here they compile all the content that different universities have over the site.

So you know, if you have some free time, or want to learn a little bit more. Give yourself the luxury of taking classes in some of the best universities.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Wiring the brain

Jennifer Raymond at Stanford University has a deep interest in how the brain works, she is currently developing an electric model in which we will be able to simulate the way it works.

Where this attempt prove to be successful it is obvious we will be able to finally understand the way we either remember someone's name or address or to record the way we move and process information.

Stanford online talks brings to us a brief explanation in this topic.

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Thursday, 16 April 2009


By Adm Csapo

This time we will introduce one of the research topics in our lab.

When a remotely teleoperated robot touches a surface, the generallywidespread solution today is to use haptic feedback devices to conveythe haptic sensations to the user. However, even state-of-the-arthaptic feedback devices have limitations in terms of portability andin terms of levels of operation. This is in contrast with the humanauditory system, which is highly sensitive to even minute variationsin sound, and which can be put to use through simple, commerciallyavailable headsets. The question arises: to what extent can we substitute haptic sensations through audio? If such substitution werepossible, it would be useful not only because tactile experience isimportant in our daily lives when we manipulate objects, but alsobecause ideas can hopefully be generalized and extended to other typesof feedback parameters – not just those derived from surface textures.

The goal of this research in the long term is to find out more aboutthe limits of conveying tactile feedback information using sound. Tothis end, we intend to create a hardware-software framework - referredto as HaptaSone - which will allow users to experiment with differentkinds of sounds that are meaningful to them, and test whether or notthey can be used to provide percepts comparable to those perceivedwhen touching surfaces. In a way similar to Bach y Rita's findings inthe haptic feedback of visual information [1], such percepts can hopefully be achieved thanks to to the extremely high plasticity ofthe brain, once users perceive the audio output of HaptaSone as adirect consequence of their own actions (i.e., touching differentsurfaces).


HaptaSone is intended to be an interactive framework which will allowusers to attach measuring devices such as laser profilometers andinfrared temperature sensors to their hands and listen to audiofeedback generated based on texture and temperature properties of thesurface they are touching. The block diagram of HaptaSone can be seenin figure 1. As can be seen in the diagram, after the acquisition ofthe sensory data, soft computing methods such as artificial neural networks will be used to infer the perception that the user would getwhen directly touching the given surface. Ideally, this inferencewill be based on training data acquired from actual psychophysicalexperiments in which users will be asked to compare different surfacesin terms of hardness, roughness, sharpness, and temperature.

Based on the acquired surface descriptors, the Matching and Pairingmodule will select a set of sounds from the sound database (whichcontains predefined sounds as well as labeled sounds that can besupplied by the user) and pairs each surface parameter with a certainauditory cognitive communication channel. This pairing is notarbitrary and should be supported by psychophysical models of humanauditory perception.

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Wednesday, 15 April 2009


Submitted by Lazlo Jeni

Emotiv is a company that devoted itself to build a very good user interface that allows us to control videogames with our minds.

Now, imagine what we may do if we build this interface in an Intelligent Space such as ours, quite interesting applications may be achieved.

Do you have any ideas, please put it in the comment section.

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Tuesday, 14 April 2009

A cute robot

Submitted by Lazlo Jeni

Robotics is not always just about how to make the best interaction, or the best interface. Sometimes it is also about having people to have some kind of reaction for the robot.

In NYU an Art student build a somehow simple robot and made it walk through the streets of New York. It did not had any kind of sensor, it only walked in a straight line.

The objective was to watch what would be people’s reaction when they see the robot encounter some obstacle, whether they help or just stand by.

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Thank You all, in one week we have reached 100 views, lets hope we gather more readers and in order to do that we will put interesting stories for you

Monday, 13 April 2009

Windows Live Writer

We are trying to use now an easiest way to publish the blog, using Windows Live Writer, a tool that will enable us to write this faster and easier for convenience of all the users.

Here there is a picture of our crew:


Thank You

Free Courses


Here we are posting after a good weekend, this week is the entrance ceremony for the students that are starting their Masters and PhD programs, We hope they have a nice time.

This time, I am going to post a helpful link, it is a concept called courseware, and it consists on having free online lectures from different universities around the world, MIT, Berkeley, Cambridge and our very own Tokyo University among others.

It is a very good link for those who would like to further learn on different subjects you did not had the opportunity to attend during undergrad.

Have a great week, and if you have any comments or suggestions, please send them at the blog master.

leon at

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Friday, 10 April 2009

On Augmented reality

Submitted by Peshala

We know we have not talked a lot about augmented reality and is because of this that this time we are going to present something about that.

Augmented Reality has always been a hot topic not only to those who conduct research at Hashimoto lab but also to those crazy minds out there who dream about future technology.

It seems like this is not far from reality as some students at the MIT Media Lab have developed a wearable computing system that turns any surface into an interactive display screen and thereby providing the user with all information he needs.

A picture is worth a thousand words. And a video, of course, more than that.

So, Let's have a look at this awesome presentation.

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Weekly Presentation

Hello again:

This week we had the introduction of Emre from Turkey as a new member of the laboratory. We hope he gives a lot to the lab and make good friends in there.

AS well we had the presentation of the book and the seminar, which was held by Lazlo, and it was related to an Interface to control a vacuum robot, quite inventive, since it used a touch screen as an interface.

The paper data is the following one:

Sakamoto, D., Honda, K., Inami, M., and Igarashi, T. 2009. Sketch and run: a stroke-based interface for home robots. In Proceedings of the 27th international Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (Boston, MA, USA, April 04 - 09, 2009). CHI '09. ACM, New York, NY, 197-200.

As well we are preparing for the open campus, we hope you all readers can come, I will post the invitation and the data as soon as I have it.

See you


Thursday, 9 April 2009

Childhood Dreams

Hello readers:

We have been very active in the blog lately, and today we will have our weekly, or semi weekly meeting, we will be sure to post all of you on the presentations.

What is about our childhood dreams that put us where we are right now. This is the topic of the last lecture of Randy Pausch, where he covers this topic. He was at the time a terminal cancer patient and the last year he passed away.

His video is sure a great inspiration for all of us. And I hope you all can watch it.

Bye bye

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Asimo controlled with the mind

Hello and happy Hanamatsuri, or as well Buddha's Birthday.

Today we are going to post some recent application in EEG detection mixed with Robotics, and that is exactly as it sounds in the title. The robot from Honda, Asimo was controlled using brainwaves.

It gives us a good idea of how user interfaces can improve current technologies as we in Hashimoto Laboratory try to do, to improve human interaction with its surrounding in space in order to make their lives easier and smoother.

Like always I leave you with a video of the application.

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Tuesday, 7 April 2009

A good inspiration


So far so good in the week, I am terribly sorry for our readers in Italy after such a huge earthquake, we send you our most sincere hopes of welfare.

Surfing in the web you may find a number of great things, and among that there is this video, where Microsoft presents what may be the future, or at least their research path.

I hope you will find it rather interesting, and get some good ideas for your own research from it.

<a href="" target="_new" title="Future Vision Montage">Video: Future Vision Montage</a>

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Monday, 6 April 2009

Academia dot Edu

Hello again

I hope your week will be fine.

Now, to inform you all of it is a social network, like facebook or my space where one can share interests, and update their profiles.

The interesting factor is that it is mainly related to research topics, one can update his current research interests, and get in contact with people in the field.

The Link is the following one.

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Sunday, 5 April 2009

Hashimoto Laboratory on Tweeter

Hello Everyone:

Here in Japan we are currently enjoying Sakura bloom season and with that, we give you a welcome to Hashimoto Laboratory Tweeter. In case you do not know, I added a small video explaining the full concept.

I hope you all make good use of it. And start following our tweets.

See you all soon.

Here is the tweeter profile page.

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Friday, 3 April 2009

An idea of our research

From April 14 in BS2 Denno Coil Anime is going to be retransmitted at 8:00 pm.

Hashimoto Sensei has special interest in this anime, since it reflects some of this laboratory objectives as a research team.

I leave you with the trailer for you to enjoy

Welcome to the Blog

This is a new fiscal year, and with it changes have come to the Hashimoto Laboratory.

First of all we hope Yokoi San and Tei San have a wonderful start in their new lives, and we welcome for the moment Ajisaka San to the laboratory as a new Master Student.

Also Peshala and Huang are starting their course as master and PhD students. We hope they will give their best.

Here we are going to post news from the laboratory, as well as some interesting news from the worldi, respecting our interests in research.

Welcome and free feel to send me a mail regarding any questions to:

leon at