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Japanese

— Electronics

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

By - February 18, 2010 7 Pictures
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
— Health and Wellbeing

Wearable wireless health sensor for remote bio-monitoring

By - February 2, 2010 2 Pictures
With it's rapidly aging population, few countries stand to gain as much from developments in the remote monitoring of bio-signals as Japan. As a culture that reveres the elderly it's likely that the Japanese will be one of the countries leading the charge in the growing field of bio-signal telemetry. Just one example is the HRS-I, or the human recorder system, that gathers health-related information and transmits it wirelessly to a mobile phone or PC. Read More
— Motorcycles

Suzuki Gladius 650 wins major design award

By - January 18, 2010 1 Picture
Now here's one out of left field. Despite the massive development costs of hundreds of new models by dozens of motorcycle manufacturers, and numerous landmark motorcycle launches of 2009, Suzuki's middleweight Gladius 650 has gained the most prestigious award of the Japanese market, taking the honours in the motorcycle category of the famous 'Good Design Awards'. Launched in the spring of 2009, the Gladius features a trellis-styled steel frame and a unique style but unlike most motorcycle award winners (generally assessed by sports oriented motorcycle journalists with added testosterone), it's not a bike designed for the racetrack – it is an entry-level machine aimed at people who want an all-round machine for economical and enjoyable road usage. Read More
— Robotics

The serious truth behind the adorable PARO baby seal-bot

By - January 7, 2010 1 Picture
PARO is an animatronic baby seal companion robot designed by some very clever people with one simple purpose in mind - to make you love him. From everything we've seen, he's exceptionally talented at his job, melting the hardest hearts and bringing a big silly smile to everyone who meets him. But although he might be a wonderful toy, PARO's real purpose is to address a serious problem that's affecting Japan right now, and will soon spread across much of the Western world. Read More
— Robotics

Get your own robotic doppelganger

By - December 16, 2009 1 Picture
Are you the kind of person that likes their own company? Maybe you're just a narcissist? Well Japanese department store operator Sogo & Seibu have just the thing for you. As part of a New Year’s promotional sale Sogo, Seibu, and Robinson’s department stores will offer people the chance to buy a humanoid robot custom-built to look, move and sound just like themselves. Read More
— Space

Space Beer touches down in Japan

By - December 8, 2009 1 Picture
Beer connoisseurs can prepare to have their palates tested by an out-of-this-world brew from Sapporo. The Japanese brewer is launching the world’s first beer produced using malt made 100 percent from “space barley”. The barley in question is the fourth generation descendant of the Haruna Nija malting barley that was developed by the company and kept in space for five months during 2006 as part of collaborative research with the Russian Academy of Sciences and Okayama University - who obviously have their priorities straight. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

The US$40,000 Robotic Bed

By - November 28, 2009 1 Picture
One of the stand-outs amongst a stellar field of automated and autonomous ingenuity on show at the IRex robotics expo in Japan this week was the Yurina Care Robot from Japan Logic Machine. Essentially a robotic bed, the 3.5 million Yen (around US$41,000) Yurina reconfigures electronically, on-the-fly, can be controlled by the user or a carer into many different configurations, has four separate sections which can all be angled differently, and can lift and make comfortable, a disabled person of up to 120 kilograms in almost any position. It gets along at 4kmh, can lower you into the bath and get you out again without giving anyone a hernia and comes with a range of optional extras you could only dream about if you are in need of such a device. Read More
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