Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Japanese

Thanko's thumb extender - 15 valuable millimetres of extra reach.

Got a new iPhone 6 Plus or Galaxy Note phablet? You're probably loving the extra screen real estate. Phones may have become bigger, but the human body hasn't got the memo yet – our fingers and thumbs are the same stubby, inconvenient length as ever. But fear not! The Thanko thumb extender gives you a whopping 15 mm (0.59 in) of extra reach.  Read More

Yoshiki impressed attendees at SXSW festival by engaging in a piano battle with a hologram...

Following in the virtual footsteps of Tupac Shakur, at the SXSW festival last weekend Japanese musical icon Yoshiki used a hologram not just in an attempt to add a little flair to his performance, but to indulge those fans who can't quite get enough of him.  Read More

The Seven Stars' distinctive locomotive

The Japanese regional railway JR Kyushu has become the first company in Japan to build a luxury sleeper cruise train, spending close to 3 billion yen (US$29.9 million). The Seven Stars cruise train comes equipped with the latest motion control technology, 14 luxury guest rooms, two deluxe suites, three presidential suites, a lounge car, dining car and bar.  Read More

Hachiya is currently exhibiting the M-02J glider at the 3331 Arts Chiyoda center in Japan

In the Japanese animated film, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, the protagonist explores a post-apocalyptic world riding on a jet-powered glider called a Möwe. When the movie was first released in 1984, a vehicle like that seemed like it could only exist in science fiction, but today one artist is determined to make it a reality. Kazuhiko Hachiya has spent the past decade designing and testing his own single-person glider and recently unveiled a full-sized model with a working jet engine.  Read More

Dr. GIY's Pre-made Me is a 52 cm tall dancing robot maid (Photo: Dr. GIY)

Strange as it may seem, in the last few years Japan has been home to a fad where cute girls dressed up as french maids star in J-POP, comics, animation, and video games. The distinctive costume has grown so popular that there's a number of so-called maid cafés in Tokyo's geeky Akihabara district where anyone can enjoy the thrills of being served by a horde of hostesses in full outfit. That – to say nothing of Japan's endless fascination with humanoid robots – probably explains Pre-made Me, the latest creation by well-known Japanese roboticist Dr. GIY.  Read More

The Mitsuoka Motors Orochi

Beginning on September 1st at the Mitsuoka Motors showroom in Osaka, car enthusiasts will be able to rent the company's supercar, the Orochi, for 33,000 yen per day (or about US$390). While Mitsuoka is not an especially well-known name in the motor industry, the company is making a splash among gearheads looking for a slick car that will make heads turn.  Read More

The iPADock provides a home for most, if not all, of your iDevices

Japanese company PhotoFast Co.,Ltd. is set to release the iPADock at the end of September, and if these first pictures (released this week) are any indication, it's quite possibly the most bad-ass iPad/iPhone charging dock we've seen to date. This docking station can accommodate various combinations of devices – you can connect two iPads at once, four iPhones at once, or you can mix it up with one iPad and two iPhones. You can also use iPADock to charge up your iPods, as it's compatible with the Touch, Nano, and Classic models as well.  Read More

The distinctive lines of the Orochi Gold Premium sportscar from Mitsuoka Motors

The Orochi sports car first appeared as a concept vehicle based on the Honda NSX platform at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2001 before undergoing some updates and revisions and finally being put into production and offered for sale in late 2006. The company now unveiled the Orochi Gold Premium model.  Read More

Triumph International's Rice Bra kit

A couple of times a year, Japan's Triumph International unveils a themed undergarment based on a current trend or issue. Bringing women closer to agriculture is the company's latest inspiration for crazy conceptual underwear, which takes form in the shape of the Rice Bra.  Read More

Eyeball-tracking earbuds let you control your MP3 player with a glance

How the heck does it do that? Japanese telecom giant NTT DoCoMo has used the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona to demo a very cool new handsfree interface you can use to control an MP3 player using gestures you make with your eyeballs. Sensors in the earbuds themselves measure changes in electrical potential to convert your eye movements to iPod commands. Fascinating stuff... and while using it on an MP3 player might seem a bit naff, there's probably a range of other situations where handsfree, voice-free control options like this could be really useful.  Read More

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