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The HRS-I sensor collects vital health-related information from the wearer

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

Suzuki Gladius 650 wins major design award

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

Little PARO, plugged into his pacifier-charger.

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

You can own your very own robotic doppelganger, just like roboticist Hiroshi Ishiguro (tha...

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

The Space Barley Beer from Japan's Sapporo Breweries is made using space barley - the prog...

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

The US$40,000 Robotic Bed

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

NTT DoCoMo's new STYLE series mobile phones

Japan’s biggest mobile phone operator, NTT DoCoMo, has unveiled a raft of new phones – 19 in all – along with a 3G-capable digital photo frame. The new lineup includes the waterproof F-02B (complete with snap-on perfume holder), four models packing a 12.2-megapixel camera and the world’s first phone with a separable two-module body.  Read More

The Nice Cup In Bra provides a unique way for Japanese women to practice their putting

There seems to be a rush on inventive underwear this week with our second - and even more impractical - example coming from Triumph International Japan, who twice a year unveil a concept bra that highlights a popular trend or draws attention to social issues. Earlier this year saw the Konkatsu Bra designed to help Japanese women on the hunt for a man. The latest bra is designed to appeal to the growing numbers of female golfers in Japan looking for a unique way to practice their putting.  Read More

Curio Avventura stroller is designed to fit through the narrowest of passageways

It can be very frustrating to discover that you can’t fit your stroller through the supermarket checkout, especially if you have already unloaded all the shopping from your cart. And trying to get your pusher through some train station automatic turnstiles is nigh on impossible. The Curio Avventura stroller was specifically designed to fit through narrow Japanese train station turnstiles and is also automatically collapsible if you need to carry it on to the train, meaning getting both you and baby out of any tight situations is a simple affair.  Read More

The Casio Exilim CA003 with 12MP camera

Those who like a camera phone to pack some serious specs will be very pleased to hear of Casio’s upcoming release of the Exilim CA003, featuring a 12.2MP camera with autofocus and a 28mm wide angle lens with 3X optical zoom. The phone will boast a 3.3” WVGA OLED screen as well as GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and FM radio. It supports microSDHC cards up to 16GB and will be available in four fashion colors including “champagne gold”.  Read More

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