Mon, 07 Mar 2005

From: AFP

Robotic 'return' Dinosaurs to Earth

Two dinosaurs which lived in North America 70 million years ago have come back to roam the world, albeit in a much easier-to- handle size, compliments of Japanese scientists.

Robot replicas Tyrannosaurus rex and Parasaurolophus, capable of strolling one kilometer (two-thirds of a mile) an hour, will greet visitors at the six-month World Exposition which opens this month in the central Aichi region.

Evoking a scene from the movie "Jurassic Park," the Expo site will ring with screams from the dinosaurs. Organizers will air noises on the speaker system, as the robots' own voices are not expected to be loud enough for a large crowd.

"It is fun to watch the robots because they look so real," said Masatoshi Otake, a spokesman for the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology.

The institute and another body funded by the Japanese state, the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development, jointly developed the dinosaur robots, which took one year and US$1.7 million to build.

While the robots are made in proportion to their prehistoric inspirations, they are much smaller.

The 3.5-meter-long T-Rex robot weighs about 87 kilograms with a height of 1.5 meters, compared with its prehistoric inspiration which was 14 meters long and weighed five tons.

The Parasaurolophus robot is 3.5 meters long, 1.6 meters high and weighs about 85 kilograms, much lighter than the real dinosaur's 4.5 tons.

The Expo, an international showcase of technology and innovation which Japan expects to draw 15 million visitors, will be open between March 25 and Sept. 25 in Aichi, some 250 kilometers west of Tokyo.

shi/sct/th AFPLifestyle-Japan-technology-dinosaurs-Expo2005 AFP

GetAFP 2.10 -- MAR 4, 2005 15:16:54