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KMel Robotics has an airborne video recording service as one of the uses for its quadrotor drones, and apparently to showcase that function they programed some of their drones to play the music being recorded. They also had to create some special instruments the drones could play, mostly by modifying existing devices. In this video they play three tunes, Thus Spake Zarathustra (2001 theme), Carroll of the Bells, and the national anthem. They have to have recorded the sound the drone motors and fans make and be electronically subtracting it from the audio track in order to make the music clear, which makes me wonder if they chose the instruments because they were not on the same frequencies as those noises. Thanks to I Programmer for the heads up on this one.

Robots haven’t been the stuff of science fiction as much as part of everyday life for years now, although Almost Human is a favorite show of mine, and still enough in the future to be sci-fi. How mainstream are robots getting? Recently President Obama exchanged bows with a Japanese Robot named ASIMO (just one letter short of Asimov, the sci-fi writer who invented the 3 Laws of Robotics), I think being acknowledged by a head of state counts as mainstream. Pretty much in that same number of days ago, sci-fi author John Scalzi tweeted about how he would like to see Babymetal, a three girl Idol group who sing sweet harmonies with a heavy metal band, tour with Compressorhead as their band. And yes, surprise, Compressorhead is a bunch of robots! I admit, I would pay money to see that show. Who is your favorite robot band?

It has been a bit since I featured the Tokyo Dance Trooper, Danny Choo, in this blog, so I figure it is time to do it again. He still has the moves, the attitude, and the armor! He still gets my vote as the best choice for this project. And then, just because you don’t feel like a guy dancing down the street in full Storm Trooper armor isn’t Nerd Enough for you, see what he does when he gets his hands on a series of dolls, and starts building their robotic control interfaces into them. Be sure to check out to get all the details. Unless you really want ALL the details about how Danny used 3D printing to create a Rapid Prototyping Environment which allowed him to create the dolls based on his anime/manga in the first place, which gave him the baseline physical model he started building his robots on. If you feel the need for that level of detail, you will find it here.

On Wednesday we get the reboot of Robocop, and excellent franchise about corporate greed and what it means to be a man. I look forward to finding out if this one stands up to the previous movies and TV show, but from the look of the trailer I believe it will. Also out this weekend in extremely limited release is Dead Snow: Red vs. Dead, sequel to the 2009 Norwegian horror/comedy Død Snø. And let’s not forget Vampie, a sweet story about a vampire girl allergic to blood who eats VAMpire PIEs to sustain her, and the evil vampires that want to use her food source to raise the dead and enslave the living. I have no confirmation that that last one is actually being released this week, but it looks like it could be fun so I had to include it anyways.

It looks like Dreamworks is going ahead with their live action production of Ghost In The Shell, since they have now brought in Rupert Sanders to direct it. This classic Masamune Shirow cyberpunk story is an examination of what it means to be human in this increasingly technological age, where the line between man and machine gets ever more blurry day by day. The format was originally a Manga he wrote and drew from 1989 to 1997. In 1995 he turned it into the Anime feature film that redefined cyberpunk around the world, inspiring such later works as The Matrix. A second Anime movie, Innocence, came out in 2004, both films based on story lines from the Manga. The TV series Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex on the other hand had new stories that were spun off of situations and characters in the Manga, but independent from it. It has gone through 2 seasons and a number of compilations of story lines from the series were re-cut into feature length stand alone presentations, between them ranging from 2002 through 2007. The TV series had some of its stories converted into Manga format, and three novels based on the series were also released. Just last year a new series of prequels began to be created as OVAs with Ghost In The Shell: Arise, and that too has manga versions. This universe is rich and complex, and I can’t wait to see what they do with the live action portions of it.