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Tron Legacy Director Joe Kosinski is to head up the sci-fi film ‘Archangels’, according to the folks at ScreenRant and also at First Showing. With Ridley and Tony Scott producing, it has a shot at becoming an excellent film. The main character belongs to an elite team tasked with tracking aliens who get past Earth’s defense system, set in the near future. Meanwhile Carl Erik Rinsch, who normally directs commercials, was supposed to have his movie debut when he directed the Aliens prequel. When that didn’t happen, he entered a short film competition Phillips held and produced the video below. Now a number of production houses, including Fox and Warner Bros. are in a bidding war to see who will buy the rights to turn it into a feature film, so Carl will get his movie after all, and this time it will be one who’s story he created as well. Thanks to the Hollywood Reporter for the heads up on that one.

Have you been following the action on Robocup 2010? Robocup is taking place in Singapore this year, with a hoard of soccer playing robots from all over the world competing against each other. The organizations goal is to be able to field a team of humanoid robots that can beat their human opponents in the World Cup by the year 2050. It seems that some American Robots from Carnegie Mellon University have been programed with a new algorithm for predictive ball physics that may give them an edge. In the video, the bot with the blue center dot is the one running the algorithm.

I am going to rethink the Con postings, as I have had several comments that finding out about them a few days before they happen doesn’t leave time to make arrangements and attend the event. But here is a fun site to check out: Part Time Scientists, who have decided to put a robot on the moon. No, they are not kidding; in fact they are so serious that they are registered with the Google Lunar X PRIZE as one of more than 20 teams worldwide in the competition. They are looking for volunteers in several disciplines if you want to get in on the action. Ad Astra!

A while back I mentioned the Karakuri, the 16th through 18th century Japanese robots, or programmable clockwork dolls. Nor did it end there; the Karakuri continued to develop in the following centuries, becoming the basis for the development of an advanced robotics industry in that country.

There is an anime series dedicated to the Meiji period and Karakuri called Clockwork Fighters Hiwou’s War that I would like to recommend. Besides being a great Giant Robot series (but the robots are made out of wood and brass, and driven by springs or steam) it is a fun quest-type adventure where a group of kids are out to find their father and save their village. But like Carmen Sandiego, it includes some quality education embedded in the entertainment. The story begins eight years after the port is opened up to ships from the west, a time of cultural and political turmoil that is nicely represented in the program. Many of the people they meet are historical figures, some already famous and some on their way to getting there, and we get to learn a bit about each of them, their attitudes and actions both. Additionally, in virtually every episode there are little 15 to 45 second pieces that give still more of the background and events happening that help put the story into focus, but are also historically accurate. The animation is good and the voice acting is great; this is very definitely worth your time to check out.

A taste of strange from Japan today, starting out with a Japanese commercial for children’s near-beer, so kids could have toasts with their parents. And somehow it got twisted… Just another look into the stranger side of J-Life from WTF Japan, Seriously. Meanwhile, Geekologie has word of a dancing robotic samurai server in a Japanese themed restaurant in Thailand. One good computer virus and the patrons become shish-kabob, although with a face like a cross between Darth Vader and the Cookie Monster it is difficult to get too worked up about the possibility.