ResearchVirtual reality umbrella shares vibe of guerrilla rain, frog falls and more
Read the full story Environment | Events | Interviews | R&D | WTF? 09:54 PM JMLH • Permalink •
Tagged with: osaka university umbrellas virtual reality
This week’s Digital Content Expo at Miraikan is one of the less corporate tech shows on the Tokyo calendar, so it’s no surprise to see some pretty kooky engineering like the Funbrella from a grad-student team at Osaka University.
Read the full story R&D | Robots 12:32 AM JMLH • Permalink •
Tagged with: masanao koeda osaka electro-communication university
Remember the delightful bipedal ‘bot from Masanao Koeda that we saw 18 months ago? The research platform was all about teaching robots to move more like humans and turn around on the spot easily.
Read the full story Environment | Household | Power | R&D 10:12 PM JMLH • Permalink •
Tagged with: fuel cells toshiba
As the world’s supply of fossil fuels shrinks, it’s heartening to see one company pressing ahead with serious plans for alternative ways to power our homes.
Read the full story Household | Japan | R&D | Wireless 11:43 PM JMLH • Permalink •
Tagged with: bic camera felica ntt osaifu rfid suica
When I visited NTT last October for a private demo of its new cellphone RFID loyalty-card system, it was still in its early stages of development, so there wasn’t a great deal to write home about at the time.
Read the full story Household | Power | R&D 07:54 PM Yoshi Suzuki • Permalink •
Tagged with: sanyo solar
The Osaka-based electronics maker will be investing a whopping ¥6 billion ($65 million) to build a new solar cell plant in Kaizuka, Osaka Prefecture.
Read the full story R&D | Storage 08:18 PM JMLH • Permalink •
Tagged with: memory printers rfid
Hey – you know those boring old forms of carbon we’re so familiar with? Yeah - diamond, graphite, amorphous carbon, fullerenes and nanotubes, right?
Read the full story Internet | Japan | R&D | Video | Wireless 03:11 AM JMLH • Permalink •
Tagged with: 4g docomo osaifu
NTT DoCoMo’s corporate videos have long been a Big Deal for the 800lb gorilla of a phone company, so it’s always worth checking out the latest to see the public face it wants to present to the world.
Read the full story Environment | Power | R&D 08:02 PM JMLH • Permalink •
Tagged with: mitsubishi photosynthesis
Details are scarce on this one, but sources in Japan are reporting that Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings is seriously engaged in research that aims to move the chemical industry away from oil dependence towards a future based on something altogether more illuminating.
Tagged with: imaging security toshiba
The marvelously named Pacific-Rim Symposium on Image and Video Technology, which kicked off this morning here in Tokyo, is home to many wondrous devices, but few as likely to alter our lives as a piece of software from Toshiba.
Read the full story R&D | Wireless 11:30 PM JMLH • Permalink •
Tagged with: japanese language nec
It’s not the first time we’ve seen phones that purport to translate between languages, but NEC’s claims for its new mobile travel interpreter are certainly among the grandest.
Read the full story Environment | Household | Power | R&D 11:44 PM JMLH • Permalink •
Tagged with: dough fuel cells hydrogen kajima sapporo sewage
Hydrogen fuel cells are clearly a great idea, but the fact that much of the gas that goes into them still comes from fossil fuels is a bit of a problem. That’s why researchers are looking at alternative sources of hydrogen from substances as diverse as dough and sewage.
Read the full story Environment | Japan | Power | R&D | Transportation 10:13 PM Mark Weitzman • Permalink •
Tagged with: jr east
A thin mat that creates electricity from footsteps has been installed at Tokyo’s Shibuya train station to harness the kinetic energy they expend as they pass through ticket gates twice a day.
Read the full story R&D 12:09 AM JMLH • Permalink •
Tagged with: quantum computer
If you thought – like most of the scientific community – that quantum computers using photons of light for calculations were half a century away, then think again.
Read the full story Environment | Power | R&D | Transportation 09:50 PM JMLH • Permalink •
Tagged with: carbon fuel cells hydrogen
When it comes to safely storing hydrogen for car fuel cells, Buckytubes may be the future, but the here and now appears to be carbon fibers that can contain a lot more of the pressurized gas.
Read the full story Audio | Home theater | Household | R&D 08:08 PM JMLH • Permalink •
Tagged with: oki tv waseda university
Voice-powered technology can be pretty hit and miss at the best of times, but a new approach to creating remote controls that hang on our every word looks promising.
Read the full story R&D | Transportation | WTF? 09:18 PM JMLH • Permalink •
Tagged with: maglev trains
A signature on a piece of paper in Japan this week means that the country can now start work on commercializing a new generation of high-tech trains that make the current bullet trains look like pedal-bikes.
Read the full story Displays | Home theater | R&D 12:46 AM JMLH • Permalink •
Tagged with: 3d blu-ray panasonic
We don’t have any photos of this for you yet and if we did it wouldn’t really help, so it’s going to have to suffice if we tell you that Panasonic claims it has just created the world’s first 3D HD plasma home cinema system.
Read the full story Displays | R&D 12:53 AM JMLH • Permalink • Comments
Tagged with: fed oled sony
Less than a year after it launched the world’s first OLED television – the XEL-1 – Sony is looking to compete with an entirely different line of next-generation displays called FEDs.
Read the full story R&D | Robots 03:27 AM JMLH • Permalink • Comments
Tagged with: dsm-hand gears panasonic
Personally, I think Panasonic‘s DSM-Hand is cool not because it can grab a glass without either dropping it or breaking it (I can do that sometimes), but because it uses gears instead of motors to drive its joints.
Tagged with: panasonic surface
One other cool thing I saw at the super-funky Panasonic Center last week was the company’s take on a wall-mounted surface computer.
Read the full story Displays | R&D | WTF? 03:04 AM JMLH • Permalink • Comments
Tagged with: mitsubishi oled solar sumitomo
Not satisfied with a future vision that already includes flexible screens and wafer-thin phones, a pair of Japanese companies has pushed the envelope to come up with far-fetched gadgets that do all of the above without ever going near a power socket.
Read the full story R&D 03:13 AM JMLH • Permalink •
Tagged with: biometrics face recognition sagawa
Should Homer Simpson ever try to smuggle his unqualified identical twin brother into work in his stead, a new biometric identification system that will be used to secure nuclear plants is sure to prompt a “D’oh!” or seven.
Tagged with: felica rfid sony
We recently lifted the lid on just how useful – not to mention pervasive – RFID technology is in Japan, so it’s with a glad heart that we bring you news of a move that’s sure to help it spread more quickly in the West.
Read the full story Audio | Household | R&D 12:54 AM JMLH • Permalink • Comments
Tagged with: disability docomo
The field of disability aids has seen many devices controlled by computers that visually track the eye movements of paralysed people, but none that reads the electricity given off by swiveling eyeballs.
Read the full story Household | R&D | Robots 02:16 AM JMLH • Permalink • Comments
Tagged with: robots
Robots are good for plenty of things, but having a meaningless chat generally isn’t one of them – something that has to change if a group of Japanese researchers are to be believed.
Tagged with: e-ink e-paper seiko
One of the more low-key exhibits at the Display 2008 show in Tokyo was a new kind of e-paper that promises an electronic experience far closer to real paper than anything we’ve seen before.
Tagged with: e-paper flepia fujitsu pvi smartdisplayer video
Aside from flashy 3D displays, the other big draw for fans of future tech at Display 2008 in April was electronic paper in at least 57 flavor-packed varieties.
Flat-panel displays are so mainstream these days they have an entire massive exhibition dedicated to them – the Display Expo in Tokyo. That’s where the technologies we’re likely to see in the shops over the next few years get an early airing, and we were there last month.
Read the full story R&D | Transportation 01:30 AM JMLH • Permalink • Comments
Tagged with: fuel cells hydrogen mitsubishi tokyo gas
Alternative fuel is all very well, but it’s pretty damn hopeless, regardless of good intentions, when all you can get on Main Street is regular gasoline by the liter.
Read the full story Displays | Events | R&D 11:30 PM JMLH • Permalink •
Tagged with: bridgestone display 2008 e-paper newspaper
Read the full story Internet | R&D 11:07 AM JMLH • Permalink • Comments
Tagged with: gigabit oki
Most of the breakthroughs in high-speed data connections that we hear about are of purely theoretical value in the short term, but Oki Japan seems set to buck the trend by committing to making its latest technology commercial in the near future.
Read the full story R&D 11:09 AM JMLH • Permalink • Comments
Tagged with: disability ipod osaka university
Call us cynical, but it’s a sad world when a researcher has to sex up his work by linking it to ‘cool’ things like iPods before it gets any press attention.
Read the full story Household | R&D | WTF? 08:17 AM JMLH • Permalink • Comments
Tagged with: disease medical university of tokyo
A seemingly bizarre experiment in genetically engineering plants has come up with a strain of rice that could make vaccination injections a thing of the past.
Read the full story Displays | R&D | Transportation 09:58 AM JMLH • Permalink • Comments
Tagged with: e-paper fujitsu hitachi jr east
Now that it’s all grown up and mature, electronic paper is stating to get out a bit more and enjoy life – its latest sortie sees it appearing on train station ticket gates as a variety of advertising posters.
Read the full story Displays | R&D 10:31 AM JMLH • Permalink • Comments
Tagged with: hitachi lcd plasma
One welcome side-effect of the new breed of ultra-thin TVs has come to light in a recent report from Hitachi Japan – apparently, they’re better for the environment.
Tagged with: kita kyushu yaskawa
If you happen to stop over at Kita Kyushu airport in the southwest of Japan this month, don’t be surprised if the porter offering to carry your bags is a four-foot green chap with an oddly metallic voice.
Tagged with: led oled organic sony
As we’ve mentioned in the past, the new breed of OLED televisions represented by Sony’s XEL-1 have plenty of assets, but an active lifespan shorter than that of LCD or plasma screens isn’t one of them.
Read the full story Internet | R&D 10:24 AM JMLH • Permalink • Comments
Tagged with: ntt vpn
If you’ve ever had the misfortune to dial into a virtual private network (VPN) for a spot of long-distance telecommuting, you’ll doubtless be overjoyed to hear of a new technique that gives the slowcoach technology a boot up the backside.
Read the full story Internet | NOT Japan | R&D | Software 09:33 AM JMLH • Permalink •
Tagged with: chatbots fake
The idea of a far-distant future where we can upload our very essence to some digital repository in the ether is both compelling and repulsive in equal measure, but a less sci-fi alternative may be closer than we think.
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