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[7 Dec 2011 | 4 Comments | ]
Bottle Up Your Emotions in a Jar, then Unleash them on the World.

At Make Tokyo Meeting 07, I came across a group of students from the University of Tsukuba, who believe the best way to release bottled up emotions is to actually shout them into a bottle. Their invention is called the “Wat Bottle”, from the Japanese word watto which means to cry out suddenly in a loud voice.
It’s pretty simple; open the lid, scream the source of your frustration into the jar where your voice is recorded, close the lid and shake the jar to amplify the sound, then open the …

Headline, Robots »

[10 Nov 2011 | 3 Comments | ]
ASIMO’s Birthday Upgrade Rocks!

Last month marked ASIMO’s 11 year anniversary, and boy has he grown up. Unlike his birthday celebration last year where he displayed no significant improvements, this time Honda rolled out a model they call “All-new ASIMO”. This make-over is the robot-boy’s first major redesign since 2007.

With this upgrade ASIMO can perform amazing feats of acrobatics (by biped robot standards). He able to jump a few inches off the ground and even jump while balancing on one leg. He can not only run faster, with a top-speed increase from 6 kph …

Headline »

[5 Jul 2011 | 2 Comments | ]
Japanese Doctors Use 3D Printers to Make Organs

We can all a agree that 3D printers are awesome, the fact that the technology is now available for the average person to “print” actual real world objects is mind blowing. Advances in the field and a decrease in the cost of production has resulted in more wide spread use of these machines. The Kobe University Hospital has displayed some groundbreaking medical applications.
Models of 3D printed human organs are being used to in the preparation for surgery. These replicated organs are printed using two materials, the substance on the outer …

Headline, Robots »

[2 Jul 2011 | One Comment | ]
Realistic Dental Training Robot Made with Love

When this dental training robot needed an upgrade, love doll makers were called in to do what they do best, give it more of a human touch. Meet Hanako Showa 2, the second generation of a this training robot used by students of dentistry to hone their skills before taking on patients that have the power to sue.

The above pictures show just how much more improved Hanako 2 is compared to her predecessor. Her PVC skin has been replaced with softer silicone by love doll company Oriental, giving her a …

Headline, Robots »

[24 Jun 2011 | 2 Comments | ]
Japanese Robot gets Ripped-Off by Chinese Company

The two pictures above are not of the same model robot. To the left UNISROBO, a new robot by the Chinese company UNIS that debuted this year, and to the right is PaPeRo, a robot by NEC Corp which started development in 1997. I think I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that UNISROBO looks much too similar to PaPeRo for it to be a coincidence.

At first glance the major difference between the two is that UNISROBO has a LED screen in it’s chest, but …

Gadgets, Headline »

[6 Jun 2011 | One Comment | ]
See-Through Cellphone Screens Now in Mass Production

TDK has started mass production of transparent organic electroluminescent (EL) displays; the UEL476. These are see-through screens that can display colored images. The UEL476 screen is 2.4-inches (320 x 240) and is was made specially for mobile devices such as cellphones. Though see-through, your privacy is protected, as the on the opposite side of the screen, displayed images cannot be seen.
We saw a mono-color prototype of these screens at CEATEC last year (video below). Good to see them out this year as TDK promised. Looking forward to what manufacturers will do …

Headline »

[3 Jun 2011 | One Comment | ]
NHK Automatic Sign Language Generation [Video]

Japanese Broadcasting Company, NHK is developing an automatic sign language generation system that converts text into animated signs performed by an on screen avatar. Although closed captioning is sufficient for the hearing impair, because sign language is the first form of conversation those born with an impairment learn, it’s the way that’s much easier for them to understand and digest information quickly. NHK thinks this will be particularly useful when there is an emergency announcement to made. The company is working on improving the fluency of the avatar’s sign language …

Gadgets, Headline »

[30 May 2011 | One Comment | ]
In Japan TV Watches You.

They’ve finally done it folks! TV that watches you, knows who you are and what you like, based on your facial expressions. It’s called UTAN (User Technology Assisted Navigation) and it’s currently being researched by the Japanese Broadcasting Corporation (NHK).
With a camera mounted on the TV, UTAN uses facial recognition technology to identify the age and number of viewers. Is it the whole family? Is it just the child? The content presented changes depending on who is watching and also their level of interest. If you express interest in certain …

Featured, Gadgets, Headline »

[26 May 2011 | No Comment | ]
Wanna Study Japanese? Now You Don’t Need to.

Wanna learn Japanese? Why spent countless hours with your face in text books or embarrassing yourself with your horrible pronunciation? Wouldn’t it be cool to have a device that let’s you understand any language on the planet? We’re one step closer, now the the technology exists for you to have a telephone conversation with someone speaking a completely different language.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?&v=OEPoy2FCsQQ
Docomo is developing an automatic translation service which provides two translation of both speakers’ language in real-time. Not only does it provide an audio translation but it also displays what was …

Gadgets, Headline »

[19 May 2011 | No Comment | ]
Sony Develops Markerless AR Technology

Sony has developed markerless augmented reality (AR) technology which they’re calling “SmartAR”. Instead of using 2D markers, SmartAR can generate on-screen virtual images from everyday objects such as menus and posters. SmartAR technology uses “object recognition technology” to achieve the markerless functionality and also Sony’s own proprietary “3D space recognition technology” which they use in their research robots such as AIBO. It also boasts extremely accurate high-speed tracking, 3D space recognition and interactivity.

Live demo

What does this mean? A lot more freedom and flexible for AR games and applications. If this …

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