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Thursday, May 17, 2001

SONY :: AIBO :: New Colours
To celebrate the second anniversary of the launch of the 1st generation AIBO ERS-110 on May 11th 1999, we have limited edition colours for ERS-210.

They will be available in a choice of three metallic iridescent colours that change like a rainbow when you view them in different lights.
The visor has the same effect. These new AIBOs really look like gems!
The anniversary models will only be available for a limited period while stocks last.

[to order...]

Tuesday, May 15, 2001

Japan: Gizmo Nation
Although technology brought the country to its knees during World War II, for the past 50 years Japanese have embraced the notion that salvation is to be found through technical innovation--and the world has benefited from their ingenuity
• EXCLUSIVE! A pop-up manga cartoon titled Maruichi's Tea Time designed specially for TIME by popular artist Nozomi Yanahara
• Timeline: A look at the rise of technology in Japan (photo essay)
• My Robot, My Friend: Japanese love not only to give their machines names, but also to make them pals
• Viewpoint: Let no one say these citizens are automatons
• Birth of a Robot: TIME takes an exclusive inside look at the design, construction and assembly of "Pino" (photo essay)
• Land of the Rising Gadget: At times, this can seem like an almost fully automated society (photo essay)
• The 10 Smartest Machines: These whiz-bang doo-dads are just around the corner; plus, the 5 dumbest head-scratching devices (photo essay)
• Lonely Inventors: Surprisingly, the country doesn't always reward its most creative scientific minds
• The Old Ways: Some tasks are still done better by humans
• Local Talent: Ota ward remakes itself
• Cellul-Oids: Japanese cinema is full of mechanical monsters, mayhem and monkey business
• On the Boards: An interactive Shakespeare
• Essay: Ryu Mura


Makota Ishida for TIME
Firms like TMSUK are promoting devices, such as this maid robot, to serve humans.

In a land where people make pets of their gadgets, the root looks set to become the companion of the future

Japanese personalize their machines. They give names to their office PCs and printers, their factory robots, their cell phones, CD players and Game Boys. Such playful intimacy with inanimate objects made of acrylic, silicon and liquid-crystal displays may seem unnatural. But electronic devices are so vital to Japanese lives that they become virtual family members. Indeed, many people spend more time with machines than they do with their relatives. Just watch a schoolgirl on a subway train with her cell phone, checking voice messages, typing in e-mail responses, downloading her horoscope. Her cell phone is her best friend.

The Japanese tendency to anthropomorphize machines is critical to understanding their embrace of technology in the postwar era. As a result of considerable cultural and spiritual indoctrination from educators, artists, writers and the government, the machine in Japan has become an ally, a friend, a partner. And what a loyal companion it has been during the past 50 years. Making machines turned Japan into an exporting giant. Perfecting them made Japan the center of the electronics industry.