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“Space Jellyfish” created with traditional handicraft and high tech

January 20, 2013

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Professor Yoichiro Kawaguchi of the University of Tokyo Interfaculty Initiative in Information Studies is building a robot of a swimming jellyfish based on the theme of “space jellyfish.” To artistically express the ambience of a wriggling jellyfish, he selected the theme of a jellyfish swimming in space.

“I don’t believe there have been many soft-bodied creatures of this type that have been made into a robot. It requires creating numerous delicate movements. We put together simple configurations and focused on creating the elegant movements of the jellyfish. While skillfully integrating repeated wavering motions, for the future I would like to make it so that it can elicit various emotions. For this exhibit I would be satisfied to have people see both the design and movements.”

“This model is made of a ceramic pottery known as Satsuma porcelain. I once asked the most famous local Satsuma porcelain artisan named Chin Jukan to make a CG model for me. I thought this could be further improved, which has led to the current model made.”

Kawaguchi ultimately wants to make not just traditional handicraft but rather something capable of space travel.

“For the future I am thinking of incorporating traditional handicraft in the manufacturing process, so I am also considering lacquering. I am thinking of using previously unused combinations to draw out new possibilities.”

With an eye towards creating a new industry and exporting Japanese traditional handicrafts to the world, Kawaguchi is considering the incorporation of high tech in future product development.

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