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Japan

The Kisai Quasar hides time behind a pulsing geometric pattern

The latest odd-ball timepiece from Tokyoflash, the Kisai Quasar, features a pulsing display that hides the time behind a geometric pattern, at least for those who don't know what to look for and where to look for it.  Read More

An image of a manga comic created by the Manga Generator (Image: Shirai Labs)

If you've longed to be the star of a manga comic, here's your chance to punch, jump and kick your way into one. Shirai Lab's Manga Generator turns any pose you strike into a comic panel in real time with the help of a Kinect sensor, adding backgrounds, props, speech bubbles and sound effects to convey the emotion you want to express. After a couple of minutes you're given a single-page multi-panel comic that features your image, fancifully rendered manga-style throughout.  Read More

Kirobo also sent this image to Mirata, its back-up robot on Earth

In space, no one can hear you scream, but they can hear a little robot speaking greetings in Japanese. Toyota announced today that a robot spoke from space for the first time. On August 21, the communications robot, Kirobo, sent greetings back to Earth from the International Space Station (ISS). Kirobo said, in translation, “On August 21, 2013, a robot took one small step toward a brighter future for all.”  Read More

Photographer Jeffrey Martin of 360Cities recently unveiled a 360-degree panorama of Tokyo ...

Photography group 360Cities seems determined to capture every major city in the world in as much detail as possible. Shortly after putting together a 360-degree panorama of London and breaking the record for world's largest photo in the process, the group's founder Jeffrey Martin set his sights on Tokyo for his next project. This latest panorama may not trump his old record, but at 180 gigapixels, it's still the second largest photo ever taken.  Read More

The Sony headset provides surgeons with a 3D image of the inside of the patient

Having introduced its HMZ-T1 personal 3D viewer aimed at the home entertainment market in 2011, and updating it in 2012 with the HMZ-T2, Sony has ventured into the operating theater for its latest head-mounted display. Unveiled last week in Tokyo, the "head-mount image processing unit" gives surgeons virtual X-ray vision by means of an endoscope feeding images to a pair of head-mounted monitors. This setup allows surgeons to view high definition 3D images from inside the patient while carrying out laparoscopic surgery.  Read More

Honda's Micro Commuter Prototype β electric car

When Honda first unveiled its Micro Commuter Concept EV a couple of years ago, there were likely many people who doubted that the futuristic little car would ever be seen anywhere other than auto shows. Last week, however, Honda announced that it will begin field-testing an unspecified number of the MCC's successors later this year.  Read More

A school girl wearing Sagawa Electronics' Power Jacket MK3 stands above a grown man

In recent years Japan has erected life-sized statues of giant robots like Tetsujin-28 go (Gigantor) and a Gundam mobile suit, but statues can't defend the island nation from kaiju attack. Perhaps that is why Sagawa Electronics is bridging the gap between fantasy and reality with a working robotic exoskeleton it calls the Power Jacket MK3 that mimics your every move. And it says it will produce up to five of them for about US$123,000 apiece.  Read More

Danny Choo's Smart Doll combines anime-style vinyl dolls with robotics technology in a com...

In Japan, clockwork automata (karakuri ningyō) emerged in the 17th century, and were mainly sold to wealthy or important people who used them to impress guests. These little mechanical dolls have an illustrious history, but like their Western counterparts they largely went out of fashion by the 20th century. Now, a modern version of these automata that mixes popular anime-style vinyl dolls and hobby robotics is on its way thanks to Danny Choo of Culture Japan.  Read More

Kirobo will travel to the ISS on August 4

In what may not be the most historic event in space exploration, but may be the cutest, Toyota has announced that the Kibo Robot Project’s “robot astronaut” Kirobo will be sent to the International Space Station on August 4. Unlike its human counterparts, the 13.4-in (34 cm) tall humanoid robot will travel aboard an unmanned Kounotori 4 cargo spacecraft launched from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Tanegashima Space Center atop a H-IIB rocket. Once at the ISS, Kirobo is scheduled to conduct the first-ever robot-human conversation experiments in December.  Read More

Kaori-chan, a female robot, can smell your breath and responds based on a four point scale...

Have you got a case of dog breath? How about smelly feet? Friends and family may not tell you, but a couple of new robots will. Built by the Kitakyushu National College of Technology and a group of inventive pranksters calling itself CrazyLabo, the pair of odor-detecting robots are giving people a lesson in hygiene and a few chuckles.  Read More

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