Archive for June, 2015


World’s first 3D-printed supercar

2015 at 10:51 am by admin | Comments Off


Divergent Microfactories has revealed their first stab into the 3D-printed automobile market with their new supercar, the Blade! The vehicle was revealed earlier this week at the O’Reilly Solid Conference in San Francisco, California, where investors, manufacturers, and entrepreneurs gather to invent and display new hardware and software innovations in a variety of fields. The Blade itself is created from 3D-printed aluminum nodes in a variety of sizes and shapes that can be connected by simple carbon fiber tubing, which is then quickly assembled and fitted with the chassis. 70 nodes are involved in construction, and the process takes only 30 minutes to complete. This makes the Blade one of the most environmentally friendly 3D-printed cars to date, creating 1/50th the factory emissions and costs of other cars.


The Blade is no slouch on the roadway either. Billed as the world’s first 3D-printed supercar, it is capable of going from 0 to 60 mph in 2.2 seconds, thanks to its 700-horsepower internal combustion engine that can run on either standard gasoline or compressed natural gas. The car is also safe and durable, weighing 90% lighter than other cars while maintaining a stronger, more durable frame. Divergent Microfactories plans to release the tools and tech used in the creation of the Blade to the open market, and hopes that independent factories and entrepreneurs alike will take advantage of their work to create their own car designs. While there is no news on whether the Blade will hit retail or the future of Divergent Microfactories, their work with this supercar is a good sign of the future of 3D printing in the car industry.


Vans X Murakami apparel this June

2015 at 01:32 pm by admin | Comments Off


Popular Japanese pop artist Takashi Murakami will be bringing his art to footwear this summer with his newest collaboration with shoe company Vans! The new collection of Murakami-themed shoes will be a part of the Vault by Vans fall 2015 collection, and will feature unique Murakami’s signature flowers and skulls design motifs on the Vans’ Classic Slip-On shoes.


Toddler-sized Slip-Ons will also be available as part of the collection, as well as t-shirts and even skateboards featuring Murakami’s artwork! This limited-edition selection of apparel and streetwear will only be available from select retailers in limited supply, so make sure to keep your eyes peeled! The collection will officially launch in these stores on June 27th.


DX SoC Great Mazinger announced

2015 at 11:12 am by admin | Comments Off


After 2012’s release of the limited edition DX Soul of Chogokin Mazinger Z figure, Bandai has finally announced the next release in the DX SoC line: Great Mazinger! The successor to Mazinger Z in the original 1972 animated series, the Great Mazinger is a powered-up version of the original Mazinger, and it shows in this new figure release! Great Mazinger stands at an impressive 13″ tall, and includes the same features and playability that the DX Mazinger Z introduced, like glowing LEDs in the chest and eyes, sounds from the classic TV show, removable armor, detailed inner frame, and hanger stand.


On top of those features, the Great Mazinger comes with a number of new accessories and features, setting it apart from the original Mazinger. These include the Scramble Dash jet pack, its iconic Mazinger Blade, and alternate arm and leg armor pieces to recreate its unique attacks such as the bladed Backspin Kick and the Drill Pressure Punch!


All of Great Mazinger’s accessories are even able to be wielded by Mazinger Z, solidifying their status as one of the most iconic robot duos in animation history. The DX SoC Great Mazinger will be releasing this December for 49,800 yen, and will surely be a staple in every Mazinger fan’s collection!


Cambridge launches LEGO research center

2015 at 12:06 pm by admin | Comments Off


The University of Cambridge is looking for a LEGO professor! The British University, founded in 1209 and currently the fourth oldest university in the world, has founded a new LEGO research center thanks in part to the LEGO Foundation, and wishes to look into the role of play in learning, education, and development. The new branch is currently looking for an enthusiastic professor to lead the center and its potential projects, and hopes to work with the iconic building block toy and how it affects the development of learning skills and creativity in children. This will not be Cambridge’s first foray into LEGO, as it was worked with the LEGO Foundation over the past decade on early childhood learning, and has also collaborated with MIT and the Tsinghua University in China.



2015 at 04:18 pm by admin | Comments Off


This summer, TOMODACHI is bringing design to the Twin Cities in a big way, thanks to mt tape! TOMODACHI has collaborated with mt in order to bring a number of events, workshops, and competitions to our Mall of America store as well as Rosedale store this summer, and we’re excited to share them with all of you!

What is mt tape? mt is a brand of washi rice paper masking tape produced by Japanese company Kamoi Kakoshi, whom have been designing specialty paper adhesives since 1923. mt tape comes in a huge variety of colors, patterns, and styles, and is designed to be easily aligned and repositioned for use in crafts, interior decoration, and graphic design. Consumers and artists worldwide use the tape for a wide variety of purposes, ranging from arts and crafts projects to large-scale art exhibitions! Now, TOMODACHI is proud to be presenting mt tape this summer through a number of workshops and competitions!

Throughout the summer months, TOMODACHI will be hosting workshops every Satuday from June 27th to August 22nd, and will be demonstrating and teaching visitors how to experience and work with mt tape firsthand! This is FREE workshop and samples will be available at the event, so anyone can come participate!

Along with these free workshops, customers may opt to join our mt tape competition, in which TOMODACHI will hand out gift card prizes to our favorite entries! In order to participate in the competition, customers must purchase a special $5 template from either our MoA or Rosedale location, which can be customized, cut, and folded. Customers who purchase the template will also receive 25% off of mt tape for the entry! Entries must be submitted by August 22nd to qualify, and can be entered at either of our locations. The grand prize will be a $300 TOMODACHI gift card, while second and third place will receive a $100 card and $50 card respectively.

TOMODACHI will also be hosting an art event on August 29th, in which we will be presenting a number of mt-tape inspired art pieces. The pieces at the exhibition will be specially created by artists around the Twin Cities, and will truly show off the possibilities behind mt tape as an art form as well as decoration. The winners of our workshop contest will also be shown off at the event. We will be announcing more details and festivities at the event as we draw closer to the August date, so stay tuned for more info, and make sure to check out our weekly workshops!


Mario cafes open in Japan this summer

2015 at 02:00 pm by admin | Comments Off


Video game company Nintendo’s mascot Mario, one of the most popular characters in the world, will soon be celebrating his 30th anniversary, and Nintendo is planning on celebrating it in a big way with the launch of several limited-time cafes across Japan later this month! In a collaboration with Tower Records, Nintendo will open these cafes, titled “Super Mario Bros x Tower Records Cafe”, in Shibuya, Omotesandou, and Ebisu. Each of these cafes will serve customers a selection of limited-edition Mario-themed foods and refreshments, along with one of 8 complimentary collectables with each purchase.


On top of a shared menu, each location will have its own unique themed dish, urging fans to visit all three locations for the full experience. the Shibuya location will offer a Blooper Squid Ink Pasta, while the Ebisu location will serve a spicy Koopa Taco Rice. Finally, the Omotesandou cafe will host a Super Star-shaped omelet rice dish! Each cafe will only be open for a limited time, with the Shibuya cafe opening from June 23rd to July 1st, and the Omotesandou and Ebisu locations opening from June 22nd to July 5th.


Disney releases Zootopia teaser

2015 at 12:37 pm by admin | Comments Off


Originally announced as a work-in-progress in 2013, Disney has finally given fans their first look at one of the animation studio’s upcoming films, Zootopia! The movie, which stars the unlikely duo of wise-cracking fox Nick Wilde and enthusiastic rookie rabbit cop Judy Hopps, is set in a world where anthropomorphic creatures live their day-to-day lives in a modern metropolis society. The movie is scheduled to release on March 4th, 2016, and will be Disney’s first movie of the year, followed by Finding Dory on June 17th and Moana on November 23rd.


Yoshitomo Nara interactive exhibit at Hong Kong

2015 at 02:43 pm by admin | Comments Off


Renowned Japanese artist Yohsitomo Nara has been keeping busy these past few months. With his recent exhibit, “Greetings from a Place in My Heart”, appearing in the United Kingdom last year, along with other exhibitions at Denmark and Berlin, Nara’s work is now on display in Hong Kong! In his newest show, titled “Life is Only One”, Nara has placed a wide variety of art, sketches, mixed media pieces, and sculptures on display at the Asia Society HK Center, and asks viewers to participate in a dialogue with the artist on his works. The exhibit itself also features a number of interactive elements and events for visitors to participate in, including a exhibit where visitors can draw their own emotions, and have them projected onto a scree with other visitors’ feelings, as well as free scavenger hunts and postcard giveaways! The exhibit opened its doors on March 6th, and will remain open until July 26th.


Yoshitomo Nara, born in Hirosaki in 1959, is one of the most influential artists to emerge from Japan’s 1990s pop art movement. Studying at the Aichi Prefectural University of Fine Arts and Music in the 1980s, and at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf in Germany from 1988 to 1993, Nara has since assembled a cult-like following centered around his child-like illustrations. Drawing inspiration from the anime and manga characters that he was exposed to during his childhood, Nara creates characters, usually small children, who possess similar cartoon-like qualities, with highly stylized features and especially large eyes. However, Nara’s illustrations of children are often more menacing and devilish than they are cute and innocent. These images touch on broad social and cultural topics, such as violence and the rigidity of social structures in Japan. Since his first solo exhibition at Blum & Poe Gallery in 1984, Nara has had nearly 40 solo exhibitions worldwide, including Iceland, Japan, France, and the United States.



Pokémon boutique opens in LA

2015 at 01:23 pm by admin | Comments Off


The Pokémon Company, known for the Pokémon video game franchise as well as well as related merchandise, apparel, animations, and more, has opened up an exclusive fashion boutique in Los Angeles, California in a limited-time seasonal boutique! The new pop-up shop opened in the Japan LA Pop Culture Shop on June 6th, whose opening party featured unique events like character photo ops, live music from celebrity DJ Amy Pham, and hidden exclusive nail artists!


The boutique itself will be carrying a number of exclusive releases for the boutique, including collaborative releases with Japan LA Pop Culture, Omocat, and Onch Movement. These include a 14k gold plated Pikachu necklace from Onch Movement, Ghost and Psychic-type themed shirts and sweaters from Omocat, and a reversible Pikachu, Pichu, Plusle, and Minun shirt from Japan LA.


The pop-up will also carry a variety of other Pokémon apparel and plushies, making it a must-stop visit for fans everywhere! The store will only open for a limited time, and will close down on July 5th, so check it out while you still can!


DARPA Robotics Challenge 2015

2015 at 11:27 am by admin | Comments Off


Every year since its inception in 2012, the DARPA Robotics Challenge is the latest in the line of DARPA Grand Challenges which have sought to advance the future of robots and technology. DARPA, which stands for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, is an agency of the US Department of Defense that designs robotics and technologies for both military and non-military work, such as computer networking, information interface technology, and life-saving robotics. The latest competition hosted by DARPA sought to challenge engineers and scientists to design robots to navigate and operate in dangerous environments to respond to natural and man-made disasters alike. The competition was founded after the events of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, and the course was designed around situations present during the disaster.


The event has taken place in multiple stage since 2012, including a virtual challenge in June 2013 and two live challenges. The final event took place over this past weekend at the Fairplex in Pomona, California, pitting 23 teams against each other in a timed course of eight challenges. All challenges, which included traversing over unstable rubble, turning valves, and even driving a car, had to be completed in an hour to qualify. With a grand prize of $2 million, and $1 million and $500,000 for second and third place respectively, colleges and companies from all over the world participated in the event, including representatives from the United States, Japan, Germany, Korea, Hong Kong and Italy.


In the end, only three of the 23 teams finished the course within the time limit, each earning one of the three top prizes. Third place went to USA’s Team Tartan Rescue from Carnegie Mellon University and their red-colored robot CHIMP, while Team IHMC took second with the running man Atlas. The grand prize of $2 million dollars was won by Team KAIST from South Korea, thanks to their transforming DRC-HUBO robot, who managed to finish the entire course in under 45 minutes! With the years-long competition finally coming to a close, DARPA hopes all the innovations and technologies developed throughout the event will be put to use in saving human lives in the future.

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