technology

Young and pretty “programming cheerleaders” aim to boost male programmers’ productivity in China

The college I went to was really big on group assignments, under the logic that being able to function as part of a team is a critical skill for working professionals. On the few occasions where I found myself in a group made up entirely of male students, though, I couldn’t help but notice that hardly anybody would put in anything more than the minimum required effort at the very last possible second.

See, barring life-or-death responsibilities, guys tend to get sort of lazy without a female presence around, prioritizing personal comfort and instant gratification over more ambitious goals and projects (for an example, check out the levels of cleanliness and basic hygiene in an all-male dormitory). The opposite phenomena can occur too, though. Throw an attractive female or two into the group, and suddenly several dudes will have their alpha male instincts awakened as they try to show what energetic and capable dynamos they are, which is exactly the ploy some tech companies in China are betting on by employing young women as “programming cheerleaders.”

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Crowdfunding project seeks to create AI version of model Ai Shinozaki, gives her terrifying teeth

In Japan, models occupy a similar position to the one cherry blossoms do. While appreciative eyes across the country love to gaze upon them, that pleasure is fleeting. The flowers are notorious for the brief window between when their buds open and wither, and given the premium the Japanese modeling industry places on youth, gurabia idols (a class that covers women who pose in swimwear, lingerie, or other sexy outfits) don’t tend to have particularly long careers.

But you know what never gets older or ground down by the high-pressure showbiz life? Artificial intelligence constructs, which is there’s now a crowdfunding project to create an AI version of one popular Japanese model, and the preview video shows the prototype chatting, blinking, and showing its terrifying, terrifying teeth.

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Artificial meteor showers a possibility for Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony

In recent months there have been a few snags with the preparations for the 2020 Olympic games to be held in Tokyo. Poorly planned stadiums and allegations of copyright infringement have really been taking the wind out of everyone’s sails for what is usually an auspicious event.

At this point it might take a magical feat of celestial beauty to lift people’s spirits, like a thousand multi-colored shooting stars descending at once over the site of the games during their opening ceremony. But while they’re predictable, those hard-headed events known as meteor showers tend not to occur at our mere beck and call.

However, now a small team in Japan has nearly completed creating an artificial meteor shower that can be seen anytime and anywhere you want, and which may even be brighter and more colorful that the real thing.

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Japan’s obesity rates to rise thanks to new portable “WalkCar” anti-walking device 【Video】

A Japanese engineer has unveiled a tiny, portable skateboard-type device which makes walking to just about any destination essentially unnecessary. At about the size of a bulky laptop, the “WalkCar” is slim and portable. It’s also powered by lithium batteries and likely the harbinger of the human race’s inevitable de-evolution into a legless, slug-like race of lard creatures…

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Microsoft’s Windows 10 ads inadvertently ruffle feathers in Korea with… a bad choice of font?

American tech giant Microsoft apparently has some explaining to do to Korean Windows users.

That’s because a television commercial announcing the recent release of Microsoft Windows 10, the latest and blessedly less-infuriating edition of the company’s flagship operating system, apparently commits an unwritten faux pas by way of a text font displayed in the ad.

And if you’re as baffled as we initially were about how a simple, commonly used font could be so offensive, well, let us tell you a little story about Japan-Korea relations…

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New Toyota ad showcases safety tech, reminds us the world is horrifying and dangerous 【Video】

There’s a new Toyota commercial making the rounds on the Japanese Interwebs – with over 2 million views on YouTube – which showcases not only some mind-boggling new safety tech on Toyota cars, but also reminds viewers that the world is a dangerous place in which something terrifying, embarrassing or graphically injurious could happen to you at any time.

Join us after the jump for the feel-good video of the year!

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Facial recognition website decides how masculine or feminine you are, suggests famous look-alikes

Ever wanted to know who your celebrity look-alike would be? Wonder no more – there’s a website that will tell you! By uploading a selfie, facial recognition technology will guess your age, gender, and celebrity doppelganger.

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Motion-sensing robot assistant will automatically save your files for you 【Video】

Back in the days before the majestic and booming voice of God said, “Casey, go work for RocketNews24,” I used to handle payroll processing at my old job. I’d also occasionally answer the phones and take care of walk-in customers, and while it keeps things fresh and varied to wear many different hats at work, there are also some downsides, and I’m not talking about an increased chance of head lice.

I shared my PC with several coworkers, and often I’d step away from my desk for a moment, only to come back and find out that in the meantime someone had hopped onto the computer, finished what he was doing, and decided to shut down every window. When the prompt came up asking if the user wanted to save any unfinished work, for some reason he’d invariably select “no,” and I’d lose a chunk of work progress.

If only I’d had one of these cool Japanese robot assistants that automatically saves your files for you.

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Hey ladies, have any cup size you want with this deceptively simple “air bra”

Not that we would know, considering we’ve never even seen a female breast in real life, let alone come close enough to a woman to have a conversation about it, but we hear that a lot of women are somewhat, let’s say, self-conscious about their breast size.

Modern standards of beauty being what they are, it’s common for women to show a little bit of breast cleavage to signal confidence and sexiness (but heaven forbid a man display a little bit of his God-given testicle cleavage, amirite guys?),  but what if you’re one of the many ladies just a little too shy of material to work with? Sure, there’s the cartoon standard of stuffing watermelons into your shirt, but who’s got the time to hunt down two watermelons of the exact same size, anyway?

Luckily for small-chested ladies everywhere, Japanese beauty product manufacturer CosMedic has taken the guesswork and produce out of non-surgical breast augmentation with this deceptively simple air bra!

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Solo Theater: The surreal home theater in a box for your smartphone or tablet

A home theater setup can be a great way to enjoy your favorite movies. But what if you don’t have the space for a lot of bulky, high-end audio/video equipment, or if you just don’t have people over often enough to justify the cost? Furthermore, what’s the point in investing in a big screen TV and array of speakers if you watch most of your movies and videos on your smartphone or tablet?

Thankfully, there’s now a way to recapture the Cinemaplex experience in a compact and affordable way, with the single-occupant Solo Theater from Japanese design house Lucy Alter Design.

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Cat-ear headphones prototype shown for the first time in preview video

They say that good things come to those who wait. Cat-ear headphones sound like a very good thing to us, so it makes sense that even six months after Axent Wear started a crowdfunding campaign for its feline-inspired audio equipment, the stylish and playful pieces of tech aren’t quite ready to ship.

The California-based company has, however, thrown all us all a tasty fishbone, though, with a just-released video of the very first working prototype of the Cat Ear Headphones.

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Mr. Sato discovers the band of his dreams: this small box

Hardcore readers of RocketNews24 may have caught the very few instances where Mr. Sato has pulled out a guitar and started playing. It’s easy to miss, though, as Mr. Sato is what’s known as a bochi gitarisuto (lonely guitarist) who plays alone at home solely for his own satisfaction.

But now our reporter is all too eager to show of his guitar stylings after discovering the Trio Band Creator by DigiTech. It looks just like a normal effects pedal but actually adds an automatic bass and drum accompaniment based on your own playing.

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You can take this 33,000-pound robot for a virtual test drive, watch it dance to J-pop 【Video】

Now that we’re living in the age of giant fighting robots, it’s time to update the list of things a fully capable member of society needs to be able to do. And while many anime make piloting a huge mecha as simple as falling into the cockpit and learning as you go, it’d be irresponsible to assume things are so easy in the real world.

That’s why we sent one of our reporters to check out a 15,000-kilogram (33,000-pound) giant robot that’s on display in Tokyo right now. Not only is it awesome to look at, its creators will even let you take it for a virtual test drive.

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New video shows professional skateboarder waxing poetic about the Lexus Hoverboard, not riding it

Last year’s battery-powered hoverboard definitely got people’s attention online, with images of Marty McFly dancing in their heads. A guest appearance by Tony Hawk certainly didn’t hurt public awareness either. Still, with a battery life of only seven minutes and the need for special flooring to actually hover, the board wasn’t likely to fill our futuristic dreams.

But then last month Lexus decided to steal some of that public awareness thunder for themselves with a video showing off their hoverboard, which apparently floats thanks to liquid nitrogen cooled superconductors and permanent magnets. But Lexus’s last video didn’t show anyone even riding it! How about this new teaser?

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Why squash bugs when you can trap them in this cool vacuum gun?

Humidity-loving bugs are just as much a part of a Japanese summer as fireworks festivals and barley tea. Dealing with the creepy crawly intruders in your home isn’t always easy, though, especially if you’ve got an aversion to touching them. Sure, you can use bug spray instead of doing the dirty work of squashing them yourself, but you’ll still have to use your hands to pick up the carcass and dispose of it after the poison takes effect.

Luckily, though, your options aren’t entirely limited to sharing your living space with bugs or touching them, in the form of this bug-sucking vacuum gun.

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Japan’s new social network has an AI bouncer to keep out all but one percent of college students

The great thing about online social networking services is that they allow you to connect with anyone in the world. The bad news, though, is that there are bound to be some people out there that you don’t really want to be connected to. Of course, most systems give you the option to block other users who’re bothering you, but a new Japanese social network just might be able to stop such unpleasantness before it ever begins, thanks to the fact that only applicants who’re cleared by a strict artificial intelligence examination will be allowed to join.

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Soccer star Ronaldo is at it again, now starring in ad for weird Japanese ab device 【Video】

There are a lot of things about Cristiano Ronaldo that we know to be true. He is objectively a very attractive man. He is objectively a fantastic soccer player. He objectively very rich. He is – and we say this without irony – “big in Japan.” He is objectively in great shape.

He will also, objectively, endorse near any damn thing. Like this weird ab device.

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First gorillas, now horses – Google Photos app really needs to get its act together

In case you missed it, large news agencies such as The Telegraph reported a few days ago that the new Google Photos application was discovered to have been mislabeling some photos of black people with a “gorilla” tag. Although not quite as racially insensitive as that incident, one Japanese net user also discovered that the software similarly mislabeled his father as an animal–only this time, of the equine variety. 

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Giant robot fight is on! Suidobashi accepts Americans’ challenge, wants to “punch them to scrap”

Like a lot of people, up until a few days ago I’d never heard of MegaBots, despite the fact that the California-based company has apparently created a pretty amazing (and armed) giant robot. That all changed, though, when the designers of the MegaBot Mark II released a video challenging Japan’s Suidobashi Heavy Industry, the makers of the Kuratas robot, to a duel.

It definitely got MegaBots plenty of attention, and now it’s gone beyond just a cagey PR move. Suidobashi has accepted the challenge, and is spitting back some fighting words of its own.

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A.I. say I do: Japan’s first ever robot wedding?!

Last week, America celebrated the legalisation of gay marriage following the Supreme Court ruling recognising same-sex unions. Meanwhile in Japan, other celebrations of a very different kind were going on– Japan’s first ever robot wedding! Yes, that’s right, two Japanese robots said I do and tied the knot.

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