All About Japan

Robotics Inspired by 'Ghost in the Shell'

Technology Science Anime Robots

Last November, I was able to reunite with a colleague of mine and her family in Akihabara. I hadn’t seen her in years, and this was the first time I ever met her husband and children. As I was getting to know her husband, Takuya Umedachi, over lunch, I discovered he was a robotics engineer!

Umedachi works at the University of Tokyo doing research on a number of things, including the latest synthetic “soft-body” technology. He applies the study of living organic systems to the development of robots capable of much more complex and flexible movement than traditional “hard-body” ones.

Umedachi grew up interested in all sorts of animals and creatures, including single-celled organisms like amoeba, which inspired the work he does today. He is also an avid fan of anime, and points to Ghost in the Shell as a source of inspiration.

Check out the video above to see an off-the-cuff demonstration of controllable, synthetic soft-body technology. The controls are similar to a video game controller!

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