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R&D

Research

Virtual reality umbrella shares vibe of guerrilla rain, frog falls and more
Friday, October 23, 2009
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.

Shuffling wannabe Terminator robot learns the two-step
Friday, May 08, 2009
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.

Toshiba slashing utility bills with domestic fuel cells
Saturday, March 14, 2009
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.

Gyazapo RFID phones to carry loyalty points from 100 stores
Monday, February 23, 2009
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.

Sanyo cranking up the solar power spend in Japan
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
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.

Injket printers squirt out flexible memory for smart tags
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Read the full story R&D | Storage 08:18 PM JMLH • Permalink
Tagged with: memory printers rfid

Next-generation smart tags could be produced using memory that is made not from silicon, but instead is squirted out of an inkjet printer.

Brand new form of carbon joins diamond, fullerenes and the rest
Read the full story R&D 08:15 PM JMLH • Permalink
Tagged with: carbon tohoku university

Hey – you know those boring old forms of carbon we’re so familiar with? Yeah - diamond, graphite, amorphous carbon, fullerenes and nanotubes, right?

Video: DoCoMo lifts lid on future phone plans
Monday, February 09, 2009
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.

Man-made photosynthesis looking to change the world
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
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.

Big Brother software tracks humans in live video

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.

NEC language interpreter for phones includes better Wiener Filter
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
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.

Fuel cells powered by sewage and cookie dough
Sunday, January 04, 2009
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.

Pedestrians generate (even more) electricity at Shibuya station
Monday, December 08, 2008
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.

Quantum of solace no longer – photon clusters make quantum computing imminent
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
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.

High-tech tanks to fuel hydrogen car, um, boom
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
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.

Voice-recognition TV remote knows His Master’s Voice
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
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.

500kph maglev flying trains get green light to burn up Japan
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
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.

Panasonic claims 3D 1080p HD TV on a single Blu-ray disk
Thursday, September 25, 2008
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.

Sony company to mass-produce FED displays
Thursday, July 03, 2008
Read the full story Displays | R&D 12:53 AM JMLH • PermalinkComments
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.

Video: The grabbing (robot) hands grab all they can…
Saturday, May 31, 2008
Read the full story R&D | Robots 03:27 AM JMLH • PermalinkComments
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.

Video: Panasonic’s giant surface computer in action
Read the full story Household | R&D | Video 03:20 AM JMLH • Permalink
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.

Spreadable electronics mean OLED TVs may power themselves
Friday, May 16, 2008
Read the full story Displays | R&D | WTF? 03:04 AM JMLH • PermalinkComments
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.

Biometric face scanner tells identical twins apart
Saturday, May 10, 2008
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.

Japanese RFID tech batters down doors in West
Read the full story R&D | Wireless 02:51 AM JMLH • PermalinkComments
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.

Electrical eyeballs controlling our gadgets
Friday, May 09, 2008
Read the full story Audio | Household | R&D 12:54 AM JMLH • PermalinkComments
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.

Mumbling robots more pleasing than the silent type
Saturday, May 03, 2008
Read the full story Household | R&D | Robots 02:16 AM JMLH • PermalinkComments
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.

Display 2008: The e-paper that begs to be caressed (now with added video)
Read the full story Displays | Events | R&D 02:07 AM JMLH • PermalinkComments
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.

Display 2008: E-paper makes move for big time (with 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.

Display 2008: 3D displays dump the silly glasses
Read the full story Displays | Events | R&D 12:46 AM JMLH • PermalinkComments
Tagged with: 3d tv

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.

Smaller hydrogen pumps mean more fuel-cell cars
Thursday, May 01, 2008
Read the full story R&D | Transportation 01:30 AM JMLH • PermalinkComments
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.

Video: World’s first full-size e-paper newspaper
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Read the full story Displays | Events | R&D 11:30 PM JMLH • Permalink
Tagged with: bridgestone display 2008 e-paper newspaper

Ever wondered what we’ll all be reading on the hover bus in The Future?

Oki stretches gigabit-class fat data pipe to infinity
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
Read the full story Internet | R&D 11:07 AM JMLH • PermalinkComments
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.

Sexing-up obscures really useful stuff in favour of cheap headlines
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
Read the full story R&D 11:09 AM JMLH • PermalinkComments
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.

Cholera, ‘flu and many more diseases tackled by eating rice
Monday, March 03, 2008
Read the full story Household | R&D | WTF? 08:17 AM JMLH • PermalinkComments
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.

E-paper advertising in the wild in Tokyo
Friday, February 22, 2008
Read the full story Displays | R&D | Transportation 09:58 AM JMLH • PermalinkComments
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.

Thinner TVs are helping to save the planet
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Read the full story Displays | R&D 10:31 AM JMLH • PermalinkComments
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.

Airport porter revealed as bag-fondling robot

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.

LED TVs get boost by dropping organic element
Read the full story Displays | R&D 10:05 AM JMLH • PermalinkComments
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.

Remote workers rejoice as VPN gets speed bump
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Read the full story Internet | R&D 10:24 AM JMLH • PermalinkComments
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.

Chatbots faking it as they pretend to be us
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
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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