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Household

Face recognition machines to stop under-age smoking - not!
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Read the full story Household | Japan 02:21 AM JMLH • PermalinkComments
Tagged with: cigarettes fujitaka smoking taspo vending machines

Everyone knows that smoking causes the skin to age unnaturally and lines to appear around the eyes prematurely, but who could have guessed that smokers would one day be thankful for their tobacco-induced wrinkles?

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.

Electric TV scaffold helps gamers Wii standing up
Friday, March 07, 2008
Read the full story Gaming | Household | WTF? 09:52 AM JMLH • Permalink
Tagged with: thanko tv wii

If you’re in Japan, a Wii fan and have ¥69,800 ($675) to spare, you might want to bung it towards the chuckle brothers who run Thanko, that great purveyor of all things ridiculous.

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.

World’s first holographic RFID tag to stop Vuitton knock-offs
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Read the full story Household | Wireless 10:21 AM JMLH • PermalinkComments
Tagged with: counterfeit hitachi ic rfid toppan

RFID and holograms are two of our favorite technologies, so it’s a joy to see them form a double act and get together in one pretty little security device. The result is the world’s first hologram-toting IC tag, which arrives in Japan next month courtesy of Hitachi and the printing experts at Toppan.

Biotech nose filters keep delicate nostrils oh-so clean
Friday, February 22, 2008
Read the full story Household | Japan | Off Topic | WTF? 10:44 AM JMLH • PermalinkComments
Tagged with: hay fever pollen

The impending hay fever season here is kinda uncomfortable in a ‘contents of your sinuses pouring out of your nose’ way, so it’s a joy to report that the geniuses at Bio International Japan have come up with a high-tech way to keep all that runny junk up there where it belongs.

Evolta’s the name, juicing your gadgets forever’s the game
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Read the full story Household 09:18 AM JMLH • PermalinkComments
Tagged with: batteries evolta oxyride panasonic

If, for some reason, you’ve been keeping track of the thrilling progress of the Guinness record for the world’s most powerful alkaline battery, then get out your pen, ruler and notebook and prepare to make a new entry courtesy of Panasonic.

Study shows Japanese children are addicted to phones
Monday, January 14, 2008
Read the full story Household | Internet | Japan | Wireless 08:18 AM JMLH • PermalinkComments
Tagged with: docomo kids

The latest research on the mobile phone habits of Japanese children may be music to the ears of phone providers, but the depth to which the gadgets have penetrated the lives of the young there is bound to set alarm bells ringing elsewhere.

Waterproof MP3/WMA/CD player likes a quick dip
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Read the full story Audio | Household 08:30 AM JMLH • PermalinkComments
Tagged with: mp3 twinbird waterproof wma zabady

Twinbird’s MP3-loving Zabady costs ¥21,000 ($180) and can handle boring old audio CDs as well as disks burned with new-fangled MP3 and WMA files; just not the type with DRM slapped on. The most useful feature is a USB port inside the sealed case that allows the Zabady to play back tunes from a connected drive of up to 2GB.

KDDI to deliver domestic 4x high-definition video on demand
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Read the full story Home theater | Household | Internet | R&D | Video 07:18 AM JMLH • PermalinkComments
Tagged with: dci hd tv kddi vod

KDDI, the company that recently started an online service delivering DVD-quality movies to domestic customers has upped the ante to send quad-HD films down the same pipe.

Roll-up solar panels power disaster rescue kit
Friday, November 09, 2007
Read the full story Household | Japan | Mobile computing | Wireless 04:10 AM JMLH • PermalinkComments
Tagged with: disasters earthquakes powerbanksystem solar

The latest piece of disaster recovery equipment to come out of Japan is an ingenious feat of engineering featuring one of the most unusual applications of solar technology that we’ve seen.

Rainbow of washlets to brighten up your toilet moments
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Read the full story Household | Japan 04:58 AM JMLH • PermalinkComments
Tagged with: inax passo toilets washlet

Nothing to do with gadgets really - unless you count the bidet, deodorizer auto-open and drier functions - but ain’t these some purty potties?

Water bottle humidifiers gush steam in a rainbow of colors
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Read the full story Household | Japan | Off Topic 04:24 AM JMLH • PermalinkComments
Tagged with: ccp humidifiers steam

Humidifiers are essential in Japan’s dry winter, so quirky-looking little devices like CCP’s KZ-500AS, which vaporizes the contents of a regular plastic water bottle, are most welcome.

Try on new specs from the comfort of your cellphone
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Read the full story Household | Wireless 08:45 AM JMLH • Permalink
Tagged with: glasses virtual reality

Glasses and contact lenses are noticeably big business all over Asia, so it’s no surprise to see a Japanese optician combining sales of spectacles with the venerable mobile phone.

1mm diameter solar cell spheres formed in freefall by gravity
Friday, October 12, 2007
Read the full story Household | R&D 09:02 AM JMLH • Permalink
Tagged with: kyosemi solar sphelar

The traditional flat solar panel looks like becoming a thing of the past now that a Japanese company has developed a spherical equivalent that is both more efficient and far cheaper to make.

Toyota's hydrogen car covers new ground — 550 miles of it
Monday, October 01, 2007
Read the full story Household | R&D | Transportation 06:49 AM JMLH • PermalinkComments
Tagged with: fuel cells highlander hydrogen toyota

Toyota Japan has word of a major breakthrough for one of its hydrogen-powered research cars that is sure to get plenty of column inches there.

Portable shower in a box for life's filthier moments
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Read the full story Household | Off Topic | WTF? 04:55 AM JMLH • Permalink
Tagged with: showers

Next time you’re done surfing at a remote beach (or trapped in a collapsing building after an earthquake) you’ll probably wish you had one of these to wash the sand (or brick dust) off - a portable, battery-powered shower.

Researchers use tooth power to control gadgets
Monday, August 13, 2007
Read the full story Household | R&D 09:06 AM JMLH • PermalinkComments
Tagged with: disability switches teeth

Compulsive tooth grinders might want to look away now if they don’t wish to be reminded of their headache-inducing torment, for Osaka University in Japan has come up with a human-machine interface that is controlled by grinding the molars together.

Panasonic electric car does 100km/h on 192 double AAs
Monday, August 06, 2007
Read the full story Household | Japan | R&D | Transportation 09:29 AM JMLH • PermalinkComments
Tagged with: batteries electric cars oxyride panasonic

We’re really hoping that if Panasonic is planning to market its new Oxyride electric car at Christmastime it manages to include a few packs of batteries in the box to keep the kids happy past lunchtime.

Japanese soccer star Shunsuke Nakamura now available as tasty rice topping

Yes, I know it’s weird and definitely not a gadget but what could be less appetizing than flavorizing your bowl of rice with the essence of Japanese sports stars?

Video now showing on a hologram near you
Friday, July 13, 2007
Read the full story Displays | Household | R&D | Video 09:20 AM JMLH • PermalinkComments
Tagged with: holograms piracy security

The security hologram stickers that grace our credit cards and other sensitive items could be about to get a radical makeover if Japan’s Dai Nippon Printing (DNP) and Sony PCL have their way. The two firms have just succeeded in creating a printed hologram that contains enough different images to mimic smooth-moving video.

Fresh like sushi — Japanese fridge magnets good enough to eat
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Read the full story Household | Off Topic | Toys | WTF? 10:33 AM JMLH • PermalinkComments
Tagged with: cool magnets sushi

Slightly classier than the flashlight turds we saw the other day, these tiny (1in) sushi magnets from Japan are so authentically detailed you can almost smell the North Atlantic brine off them.

Toilet transformer zaps old-style Japanese squatters into the 21st century
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Read the full story Household | Japan | Off Topic 03:40 AM JMLH • PermalinkComments
Tagged with: squatting toilets transformers

Japanese residents tired of squatting when they go to the smallest room can get themselves all Westernized thanks to the latest in new-fangled toilet converters from Inax.

Scanning pen reads out loud to speed up language learning

Learning a new language isn’t always the most fun activity for many people, especially during the endless hours of repetitive listening to tapes or CDs needed to learn how to understand the spoken word. Fortunately, a novel study aid from Japanese firm Imajinsha aims to make the time-consuming donkey work a little easier with its new polyglot pen.

Japanese sea monkeys just fish in a barrel – well, shrimp in a cube
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
Read the full story Household | Toys | WTF? 06:05 AM JMLH • PermalinkComments
Tagged with: pets sea monkeys shrimp

Nothing beats keeping innocent wildlife captive for one’s own entertainment, especially when there’s a retro feel to the cruelty, which is why I couldn’t resist these Japanese versions of those old canards known as Sea Monkeys.

Sony gears up for in-game advertising push as Nielsen tracks PS3

Numbers like $800 million, or even $2 billion, tend to focus the attention rather sharply, which is why - in a bid to better understand in-game advertising - Sony US is planning to allow TV-ratings company Nielsen to track the games its customers play.

NEC fax machine PDFs incoming by email to your cellphone
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
Read the full story Household | Internet | Wireless | WTF? 09:30 AM JMLH • PermalinkComments
Tagged with: fax machines nec overtime

Long ago, in the mists of time before email, a device called a facsimile machine once roamed the offices of the land before dying a swift death on a cold Thursday afternoon in early 1997. Except in Japan, that is, where domestic and office faxes alike are still evolving into something entirely new.

Japanese homes get earthquake-alert boxes
Friday, June 29, 2007
Read the full story Household | Internet | Japan 09:29 AM JMLH • PermalinkComments
Tagged with: earthquakes warnings

We’ve already seen a Japanese system that uses mobile phones to give advance warning of the earthquakes that plague the seismically hyperactive archipelago, so it was inevitable that something similar would arrive for domestic use.

Softbank helps drunks find missing cellphones, moms locate kids
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Read the full story GPS | Household | Japan | Wireless | WTF? 04:04 AM JMLH • PermalinkComments
Tagged with: lost phones softbank toilets

Here in Japan, Softbank Mobile - the brand Vodafone Japan transformed into last year - is about to launch a service that will surely appeal to the nation’s legendary drunken Friday-night salarymen who seem to have a habit of leaving their phones anywhere but their pockets.

Say it ain't so: stick-on goatees for follicly challenged Japanese men
Friday, June 15, 2007
Read the full story Household | Japan | WTF? 06:48 AM JMLH • PermalinkComments
Tagged with: bald chins beards fake goatees

Everyone knows that when it comes to wasting money on unnecessary luxuries there’s gullible and then there’s plain stupid - you can be the judge on this one, as I’ve lost all sense of what passes for normal here in Japan.

World's biggest LCD HD TV with 500,000:1 contrast ratio and super blacks
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Read the full story Displays | Home theater | Household 09:58 AM JMLH • PermalinkComments
Tagged with: hd tv lcd led samsung

Jumbo TV fans had better get their gold credit cards warmed up well in advance of the latest high-definition set due to depart Korean shores from Samsung later this year – the company’s new 70-inch LCD is far from cheap, at 58 million won ($62,000).

Logitec's phone recorder aimed at paranoid businesses

We’ve seen SD memory cards appearing in everything from toy robots to high-definition video cameras, but Logitec’s latest device represents the first time for one to appear in a devious conversation-recording add-on for domestic phones.

Can’t be bothered going shopping? Take a photo of the TV instead

Spending money can hardly get any easier than this – a new online shopping service in Japan allows shoppers to buy music CDs simply by taking a photograph of them with a cameraphone and to pay for them on credit by keying a PIN into the very same mobile phone.

Portable telly for the car includes terrestrial digi tuner
Thursday, June 07, 2007
Read the full story Displays | Household 08:11 AM JMLH • PermalinkComments
Tagged with: digital tv

If any one thing makes it clear that the end of analogue TV broadcasts really is nigh, then it’s the flood of digital tellys and tuners onto the market, especially in Japan. These days, everything from phones to car sat-nav systems now arrives speaking digital fluently.

Japanese MP3 player blasts out facials too
Friday, June 01, 2007
Read the full story Audio | Household | WTF? 04:52 AM JMLH • PermalinkComments
Tagged with: crap facials minus ions mp3 negative ions

070601_mpion_tn.jpg

Although Japan has a reputation as a pretty sophisticated high-tech wonderland, there’s no shortage of garbage products designed to appeal to the wallets of the gullible or the plain bored, so the latest bizarre gadget barely caused us to wrinkle an eyebrow.

ISP offers home security updates by mobile phone
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
Read the full story Household | Japan | Wireless 08:13 PM JMLH • PermalinkComments
Tagged with: home security ip isp webcams

070502_J-ComPeace_of_Mind_tn.jpg

Mid-sized Japanese ISP and telecoms provider J:COM is launching a domestic security package that will rival, at least in part, the U-Consento service we saw from NTT last week in the intelligent-home stakes.

Piping music through power cabling gets real
Friday, April 27, 2007
Read the full story Audio | Household 01:15 AM JMLH • PermalinkComments
Tagged with: pioneer power cables

070426_Music_Tap_tn.jpg

We’ve all seen dozens of tedious attempts at piping internet connections through the home using existing electrical wiring and power sockets, but this is the first-real world product to use the concept to deliver music through the same channels.

The intelligent home gets a step closer in Japanese trial

070426_NTT_U-Consento_tn.jpg

On a day when we’ve seen a few stories about getting our homes more wired, we have news of a Japanese system that allows users to remotely control home appliances via a cellphone.

Future DoCoMo phones to include health-monitoring hardware
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Read the full story Household | Wireless 01:22 AM JMLH • PermalinkComments
Tagged with: 904i docomo foma healthcare

070425_3G_cellphone_tn.jpg

During a busy week for Japan’s largest cellphone company, NTT DoCoMo, it has emerged that the firm has plans to use the nation’s ubiquitous phones as interactive health monitors.



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