What is a “Catapy”? I think this video will do more justice to “Catapy’ than what my words can do, so please watch it before you read on.
Have you been fascinated?
Yuichiro Katsumoto, a media director and a research fellow working at Keio-NUS CUTE Center, National University of Singapore is the inventor of the “Catapy”. He will be showcasing “Catapy” at his Maker booth at the Singapore Mini Maker Faire 2012.
Yuichiro introduced “Catapy” to be a car that provides the fun of chasing. If you had watched the video above, you would understand why you need to chase the catapy. Yes, the “Catapy” moves non-stop because it is covered by a caterpillar track, allowing it to run across a field freely even on uneven ground, and continue running even when it hits an obstacle. The “Catapy” can also be assembled in twos, threes, or more using joints to form different shapes. It really depends on your imagination.
More information can be found in Yuichiro’s website (http://www.yuichirock.com/catapy/index.html).
So, why had Yuichiro invented the “Catapy”?
When we spoke with him at his lab at Keio-NUS CUTE Center, he shared with us that when he was a kid, the toy cars he played with always stop when they hit an obstacle. Hence, he had wanted to come up with something which can continue moving even after hitting an obstacle. Yuichiro felt that when people grow up, they shifted from playing with toy cars to driving a real vehicle, from having to move with the toy car (through pushing or chasing as a kid) to moving as part of the vehicle. He felt that the joy of chasing is lost in the growing up process and he would like to develop something to re-ignite this fun!
To Yuichiro, he researches not only for work but as part of his hobby. He attributed his Maker mind to his cultural background. Born and grown up in Gifu (Japan), a prefecture of craftwork (e.g. sword smith, ceramics and woodwork), Yuichiro was equipped with crafting skills. Besides, like any other Japanese kids, he had grown up with significant influence of anime (Japanese animation), manga (Japanese comics) and video games. Hence, Yuichiro proudly shared that he had embarked on his research with crafting skills and otaku1 mind!
Message to budding Makers
Yuichiro advised all budding makers to stop talking about things and start tinkering. Another piece of advice he gave amused me. He advised makers not to listen to any advice until finishing the prototyping. I guess this came from lots of personal experience!
To meet Yuichiro and experience the thrill of chasing the “Catapy”, come to the Singapore Mini Maker Faire 2012 on 4 & 5 August 2012.
1 Otaku is a Japanese term which refers to someone with an obsessive interest in anime, manga and video games.