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Japan

— Good Thinking

Gizmag checks out Survival Capsules' tsunami survival pods

By - May 22, 2014 16 Pictures
The 2011 Tohoku earthquake and the tsunami that followed count as one of the worst disasters of the 21st century. When it struck off the southern coast of Japan with a force of magnitude 9, it was the most powerful ever to hit Japan, and the tsunami with a maximum height of 40.5 m (133 ft) resulted in 15,885 deaths, 6,148 injured, and 2,623 people missing. In anticipation of a similar disaster, Survival Capsules LCC of Mukilteo, Washington has developed a steel and aircraft-grade aluminum sphere designed to protect against both fire and flood. Gizmag paid a visit to the company to learn more about it. Read More
— Space

Could a space-based solar farm become a reality by 2040?

By - May 13, 2014 2 Pictures
Space-based solar power seems like an idea from a Star Trek script, but given the uncertain future of its power generation industry, Japan stands to gain as much as anyone by exploring this potential source of renewable energy. The disaster at Fukushima, limited access to fossil fuels and advances in technology has, at least in the eyes of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), added further weight to the notion of a space-based solar power system. The agency is developing a complex roadmap involving a 1 GW extraterrestrial solar farm, a microwave beam and a man-made island in the Tokyo harbor which could be used collect solar energy in space and supply power to Earth by 2040. Read More
— Good Thinking

Tajima Motor Company to produce floating tsunami shelter

By - April 27, 2014 11 Pictures
The events of March 11, 2011 are still very much in the minds of the Japanese people and it's no surprise that we've seen a number of tsunami safety pod designs emerge in the years since. This example from the Tajima Motor Company, the Tsunami Floating Shelter SAFE+, aims to provide a last resort option for emergency workers who have left it too late to escape. The company plans to produce 1000 units in 2014, with the aim of doubling that to 2000 in 2015. Read More
— Motorcycles

In pictures: 41st Tokyo Motorcycle Show 2014

By - April 17, 2014 63 Pictures
Held at the end of March each year, the annual Tokyo Motorcycle show is a "hands on handlebars and bums on saddles" kind of event which, as well as being a world showcase for the latest innovations from local manufacturers, aims to function as a shop window and proving ground for the millions of motorcyclists in Japan. So while Honda's 750cc NM4 Vultus was the star of the show, there were plenty of other new and interesting machines for crowds to get astride and even ride. Here's a look at some of the highlights. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Panasonic's robotic bed/wheelchair first to earn global safety certification

By - April 15, 2014 9 Pictures
There's a lot of talk about Japan's rapidly aging society, and how it is expected to literally place a heavy burden on the island nation's caregivers. Among the many projected problems is a smaller pool of health care workers amidst a growing tide of elderly who require around-the-clock care. With that kind of workload, nurses are more likely to injure themselves or their patients when lifting them into and out of bed. Various solutions are in the works, such as a giant lifting robot that looks like a teddy bear, but few are as practical as Panasonic's Resyone robotic bed. It recently became the first to be certified ISO13482 compliant, the new global safety standard for service robots. Read More
— Computers

Fujitsu gives speech synthesis a realism boost

By - April 6, 2014 3 Pictures
Speech synthesis has come a long way from the days when computers sounded like a Dalek with a cleft palate, but there’s still a lot of room for improvement. Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd. in Kawasaki, Japan are working to move computers away from sounding monotone or perpetually distracted by developing a new speech synthesis system that can quickly produce high quality voices that can be tailored to suit individual environments and circumstances. Read More
— Architecture

How small is too small? Japanese home is just 3 meters wide

By - April 1, 2014 22 Pictures
When designing a small home for a family, it's only possible to downsize so much. One might fairly guess that a house with a total width of 3 meters (10 ft) would be pushing things too far, but Imai House, by architectural firm Katsutoshi Sasaki and Associates, offers a good argument to the contrary. The home is also an example of how apparently too-small inner-city plots can be put to good use. Read More
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