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Japan

Google Maps recently added the evacuated town of Namie-machi to Street View as part of a l...

It's been over two years since the Great East Japan Earthquake and resulting tsunami hit the nation's northeastern coast, devastating the population and creating a nuclear incident at the Fukushima power plant. Despite concentrated efforts to repair the damage though, there are still areas that remain vacant and almost untouched since – but that doesn't mean you can't still explore these places yourself. Google Maps recently added the evacuated town of Namie-machi to Street View as part of a larger project to document the destruction and restoration of areas affected by the earthquake.  Read More

XEMNES, a hobby robot controlled with the 8-bit Nintendo / Famicom pad

In a move that brings back memories of the R.O.B. (Robotic Operating Buddy) that was available for the original Nintendo Entertainment System, Japanese hobbyist Izumi Ninagawa has simplified the controls of a modern fighting robot to work with a Famicom (8-bit NES) game pad – which has one of the most basic button configurations around. The NES-styled robot even competed in a robot boxing tournament earlier this year.  Read More

Hitachi's ROPITS' navigation system combines GPS, stereo cameras, and multiple laser range...

Toyota, Honda, and General Motors have been toying with the concept of eco-friendly single-seater urban vehicles over the past few years, and Hitachi has taken notice. Although it may look like a miniature car, Hitachi's ROPITS is more like a robotic wheelchair designed to assist people with difficulty walking (i.e. Japan's growing elderly population). The key difference is that – unlike the concept vehicles demonstrated by the auto makers – ROPITS drives itself.  Read More

Kengo Kuma & Associates has designed an experimental house in Hokkaido, Japan called 'Même...

Japanese architectural firm Kengo Kuma & Associates recently demonstrated its ethos of design inspired by light and nature with an experimental house in Hokkaido called "Même." The structure is designed for cold climates and whilst based upon the local Ainu people's “Chise” (House of the Earth), it uses modern materials for an insulated double skin membrane that promotes convection and maintains a comfortable internal environment due to heat circulation from its continually lit fire.  Read More

LG's Optimus G Pro is heading to Japanese carrier NTT Docomo

LG's high-end Optimus G has sold over one million units, and LG passed Apple as the number two phone maker (including feature phones) in the U.S. Its next move? If the Japanese market is any indication, it will be an upgraded version of its flagship, the Optimus G Pro.  Read More

The new Ene-Farm home fuel cell (left) and accompanying hot water unit

By relying on a chemical reaction rather than combustion, fuel cells like the Bloom Energy Server are a more environmentally friendly source of electricity than fossil fuel burning power plants – they’re also easier to fit on a residential or commercial block. Unfortunately, their price is still prohibitively expensive for most people. But things are slowly improving as evidenced by Panasonic’s latest “Ene-Farm” home fuel cell, which was jointly developed with Tokyo Gas. Later this year, the unit will be sold in Japan by Tokyo Gas for 1,995,000 yen (approx. US$22,320).  Read More

Artist's impression of the ILC tunnels (Graphic: Fermilab/Sandbox Studio)

According to Nature, Japan is the frontrunner for the planned International Linear Collider (ILC), for which Europe and the United States are also in the running to host. Scientists and engineers are already examining potential sites in the island nation for the US$7 to $8 billion machine, which is intended to complement the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN. The head of the global design effort for the ILC, physicist Barry Barish, presented finalized blueprints at a ceremony in Tokyo earlier this month.  Read More

The Cappa compact hydropower generator can deliver 250 W of electricity

Despite being the most widely used form of renewable energy worldwide, hydroelectricity is generally reserved for large-scale commercial installations built around massive dams. Japanese company Ibasei has shrunk things down and removed the need to build a dam with its Cappa compact hydropower generator – a system that's designed to be installed along a river or waterway.  Read More

Barcode Room from Studio_01 offers a transformable apartment concept which adapts to the n...

People living in cities are increasingly being squeezed into smaller and smaller apartments, a reality that is driving a search for new living space designs that can adapt, transform, and evolve as the needs of those residing in them dictate. Barcode Room from Japanese design company Studio_01 is an attempt at doing just that.  Read More

Two impressive hobby robot projects from Japan show what is possible with current consumer...

Kenji Ishida, a hobbyist known for building impressive Transformer-like robots, has shared some new videos of his project on YouTube. Likewise, a robot based on the virtual J-POP idol Hatsune Miku has surfaced that shows what is possible when you combine the current crop of hobby robot servos with hard work and dedication. Don't miss the videos after the break!  Read More

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