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Mascots and javelin carriers: Tokyo adds robots to Olympic roster

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A roster of Olympic robots that will do everything from welcoming visitors to transporting javelins has been unveiled as Tokyo works to showcase Japanese technology at next year’s Summer Games.

Japan hopes the 2020 Olympics will be a chance to put its tech sector back on the map after years in which the country’s reputation as an industry leader has flagged.

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Auto giant Toyota has a roster of five robots with different roles to play, from cutesy renditions of the Olympic mascots to a staid transport bot.

Undoubtedly the most appealing are the toddler-sized versions of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic mascots, the futuristic Miraitowa and Someity.

Blue- or pink-checked, with huge eyes and pointy ears, the mascot robots have multiple joints and arms which can be remotely controlled.

And while the pint-sized pair can’t move or talk, a camera inside their heads helps them interact with spectators and athletes, said Tomohisa Moiradaira, an official responsible for Tokyo 2020 robot development at Toyota.

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“Thanks to the camera, the robots can recognise people’s expressions and respond back,” he told reporters.

“If a person moves away it will look sad.”

The mascot’s “feelings” are reflected in its eyes: they can display hearts or stars depending on emotions.

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Toyota has suggested the mascot robots could welcome athletes and spectators, and possibly help engage children with the Games.

Significantly less cute — but slightly more practical — is the company’s Field Support Robot, a suitcase-sized automaton on wheels that will help Olympic staff.

It is capable of following staff, while avoiding obstacles, and can be loaded with items like javelins or discusses, helping “reduce the amount of time needed to retrieve items as well as reduce the amount of staff labour for events”, Toyota said.

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Other offerings include robots designed to support people in wheelchairs or deliver food to spectators.

For those who can’t attend the Games, there’s the T-TR1, effectively a human-sized narrow screen on wheels equipped with a camera.


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Accused child molester Roy Moore defends Brett Kavanaugh: ‘I too was the object of false allegations’

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Accused child molester Roy Moore on Wednesday came to the defense of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who has been accused of sexual assault.

Moore's remarks came after The New York Times published accounts from a new book, which found that two of Kavanaugh's accusers were credible.

In a statement to the press, Moore defended Kavanaugh on Wednesday.

"I too was the subject of false allegations, but unlike Justice Kavanaugh and others who have suffered the ire of the left, I filed suit against my accusers and their conspirators," Moore said. "For over two years, I have not seen nor been able to question any of those who went on national television tol tell their false stories just 32 days before the election in December 2017, and ironically I have been sued for defamation for merely denying their false and malicious accusations."

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Trump says ‘many options’ on Iran response

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US President Donald Trump said Wednesday he has "many options" in addition to military strikes against Iran and that details of newly announced sanctions will come within 48 hours.

Asked by reporters about a possible US attack on Iran, Trump said "there are many options. There's the ultimate option and there are options a lot less than that."

He explained that by "ultimate option" he meant "war."

Trump said that the specifics of sanctions he announced earlier would be made public "over the next 48 hours."

US ally Saudi Arabia says Iran was behind a missile or drone attack setting ablaze major oil facilities last weekend.

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Bermuda braces for Hurricane Humberto

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Residents of the tiny British archipelago of Bermuda battened down the hatches on Wednesday ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Humberto, a major category 3 storm packing fierce winds and punishing rain.

The Miami-based US National Hurricane Center put the center of the storm about 225 kilometers (140 miles) west of Bermuda at 1800 GMT, with maximum sustained winds of 195 kilometers per hour.

The core of the large storm was expected to pass to the northwest of Bermuda later in the day or overnight, dumping as much as 15 centimeters (six inches) of rain. A heightened storm surge is possible.

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