technology

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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Giant robot fight coming soon? American inventors’ video challenges Japanese counterparts to duel

California-based MegaBots spells out its mission pretty clearly on the company’s website: Giant fighting robots. So far, though, they’re only two-thirds of the way to that goal.

The MegaBot Mark II is clearly a robot, and definitely giant, but it hasn’t really done much fighting yet. Since no one wants to watch giant robots grapple with their inner psychological demons and emotional issues, the Mark II needs an opponent, and its American designers have decided to throw the gauntlet all the way across the Pacific, releasing a video officially challenging Japan’s own currently on-sale giant robot to a duel.

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What sorcery is this?! New toy aquarium is populated with your own hand-drawn fish 【Video】

Certainly, it is the dream of every kid and a not-insignificant number of adults for their crude doodles of space monsters, stick figures and whatnot to suddenly spring to life. Imagine how much fun you would have if you could actually hang out with that stick figure you drew in third grade!

Let’s ignore the reality that said stick figure would probably just stare at you, handless arm extended towards you in silent accusation at how you gave it such terrible, unholy life. It would be pretty cool to just draw up a new friend to hang out with, or triceratops to ride or something just whenever, right?

Well, Takara Tomy Arts has kind of, sort of figured out a way to make dreams of bringing your drawings to life a reality, with Picturerium, an aquarium that you populate with your own doodles!

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The future has arrived: Lexus reveals prototype of a real Hoverboard

Ever since watching the character of Marty McFly ride his hoverboard in that famous hoverboard chase scene in Back to the Future Part II , I’m sure most kids have wanted to own one. Perhaps that day is not too far away.

Lexus recently released a video teaser for its latest invention, the SLIDE, and while it’s not for sale, the company is on the verge of making the world’s first real rideable hoverboard a reality.

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Samsung prototype ‘Safety Truck’ uses all-weather screens to make driving safer, maybe

If you’re a driver, chances are at some point you’ve been behind a slow-moving truck or semi-trailer, trying to overtake but unable to see if there is traffic coming in the opposite direction. This can be frustrating, but it can also be deadly if you pull around at the wrong moment.

South Korean electronics manufacturer Samsung may have found a solution to this problem with their prototype Safety Truck, however. It uses a wireless camera and outdoor screens to give drivers following the trucks a view around them.

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Amazing 3-D printing pen 3Doodler gets a cheaper, slimmer version and workshops in Tokyo 【Video】

About a year ago, we took a look at the 3Doodler, an amazing crafting tool developed by U.S.-based WobbleWorks. Described as a 3-D printing pen, the 3Doodler uses plastic filament to let you draw in mid-air, creating physical objects instead of flat images.

Now we know what you’re all thinking: Where are those 3-D printed Mr. Sato statues we talked about making in our previous article? Well, it turns out we don’t actually have the artistic skills to properly capture the likeness of the head of RocketNews24’s Vice-President of Craziness. Oh, and also we’re cheap.

Thankfully, it looks like there’s a way to solve both of those problems. The updated 3Doodler 2.0 is easier to handle and less expensive than the original model, and there’s even a series of  upcoming workshops in Tokyo that’ll teach you how to get started drawing three-dimensional works of art.

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Boredom might be behind brilliant Dyson fan loop spotted in Japanese electronics store

James Dyson is kind of the mad scientist/rockstar celebrity of the admittedly probably not very exciting world of vacuum cleaner and fan design. The Dyson company’s innovations have more or less revolutionized the world of electronic devices that primarily, uh… suck and blow.

But it looks like Dyson’s genius designs are so innovative that with the right amount of boredom and free time, just being in the mere presence of Dyson products can apparently inspire creative epiphany, as this infinitely looping Dyson fan layout – spotted at a Japanese electronics store – seems to prove.

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Just how clean are Japan’s high-tech public restroom bidet-equipped toilets?

After cars and video game consoles, fancy toilets just might be Japan’s best-known technological achievement. In a society that prizes cleanliness, it’s no surprise that being able to push a button and have a warm stream of water wash your backside has become one creature comfort many can’t do without.

As such, just about everyone in Japan is happy to have a washlet, as bidet-equipped toilets are called here, in their home. Some people can’t help but wonder, though, if they’re spraying someone else’s fecal matter back up on themselves when they use a washlet in a public restroom.

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Can you spot what’s wrong with this picture? One young salaryman couldn’t

There’s a Japanese phrase, yutori sedai, that you’ll hear in just about any established company after the new hires start showing mid-spring. The term refers to people who’ve grown up in Japan’s modern, less strict educational system (which is still stricter than those in many other countries), and while yutori sedai literally translates as “relaxed generation,” it’s real meaning is closer to “damned kids today,” as it’s almost always used in a derogatory sense by an older worker who’s exasperated at a younger employee’s lack of proper manners, business acumen, or just plain common sense.

A lot of times, the people muttering under their breath about the yutori sedai do so out of a combination of stubbornly resisting change and convenient memory gaps that don’t include any of the many mistakes they made in their own youth, but this experienced salaryman may have a point, given that his yutori sedai coworker can’t seem to grasp the finer points of how to hang up a phone.

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Math-solving phone app is the quickest way to self-study, skip homework, and/or fail your tests

I think we can all agree that math is a pretty handy thing to understand, right? A basic concept of things like fractions and algebraic equivalents is what keeps us from getting taken advantage of by con men who make such tempting offers as trading two of their shiny monies (or even three!) for our one paper money when the latter is actually of greater value.

Still, basic math is all about following the proper procedures to arrive at the one true solution, which is why you don’t get partial credit for having the wrong answer on your math assignment just because you took a novel approach and wrote the numbers with nice penmanship. As such, you can program a machine to spit out the answer in a fraction of a second, and with a new smartphone app, all you have to do is snap a picture of the math problem, and let the app take over from there.

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Engineers teach robot to swing katana at 1,000 foes, hopefully don’t awaken its bloodlust 【Video】

We recently took a look at the latest iteration of the DARPA Robotics Challenge, which showed us how far scientists have come in building sophisticated robots, and yet how far those machines have left to go before they can get from point A to point B without falling down hilariously. But little did we know that while we were snickering at those clumsy creations, another group of engineers were building their own robot that can perfectly perform a severing strike with a samurai sword.

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Three potentially fatal flaws with the facial recognition ATMs soon to be introduced in China

We’ve all seen how facial recognition software can go badly wrong. But it seems that China hasn’t gotten the message, since they’re going forward with a new plan for ATMs which rely on face-scanning technology.

The new machines will reportedly snap a quick picture of the person trying to access each account, and cross-reference their facial features with a database to find a match.

We can see at least three fatal flaws with this plan. Can you guess what they are?

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Young inventor dreams big to cleanup ocean plastic, will launch test in Japan

What did you accomplish by the time you were 20 years old? Did you answer, “inspired an entire world to get behind your idea to clean the ocean”?

A Dutch engineering phenom has done just that with his project The Ocean Cleanup. In 2016, he and his team will launch a pilot program that will eventually lead them to tackle the Great Pacific Garbage Patch that lies between Hawaii and California. However, any idea has to start somewhere, and that somewhere will be Japan.

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Miniature maglev train set provides hours of high-speed, floating fun!

When you were a kid, you probably owned (or knew someone who owned) a model train set, or Scalextric-style slot car racing track. You probably also watched Back to The Future and lusted after Marty McFly’s hoverboard. But I bet you never thought that when you grew up, you’d be able to buy your very own hovering high-speed train set! And now you can, courtesy of toy company Takara Tomy!

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We brave fastballs from the world’s fastest (and most terrifying) pitching machine

If there were ever going to be some kind of cheesy, baseball-themed horror movie, we’re almost certain the mechanical antagonist would be this Shizuoka Prefecture pitching machine – the world’s fastest at a pitching speed of 230 km/h (143 mph) – which would probably be depicted firing a fastball directly through the torso of some cocky coed.

Record-setting and somewhat terrifying? You bet we had to go and take a shot at hitting one of those blazingly fast pitches. Well, like, not us. We’re too young and handsome to die. We sent one of our Japanese-language writers, instead.

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Never miss an important call again at the office with our bra lifehack!

For those of us working in high-tech societies, connection and communication can be as valuable as any resource. A single missed call can turn into a missed business chance, so making sure you can be reached no matter how furiously you’re typing is important. But at the office, no one wants to be that jerk that just leaves their ringer on. And it’s pretty easy to miss a call with just vibration mode.

However, the writers for the Japanese-language side of RocketNews24 may have come up with a solution for you. All you need to do is keep your phone in range of view while you’re using the computer. There are, obviously, a number of ways to do this, but our writer P.K. thinks he’s found the best way: With a bra!

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New JPEG image enlargening software is actually a bigger deal than it sounds

Maybe this is an Internet writer problem and all you people with real jobs won’t understand, but a major snag we often run into in this line of work is not being able to find images of the right size and/or copyright status.

A lot of the most relevant, high quality images tend to belong to wire services and newspapers, while pulling stuff from the less copyright-protected corners of the net is kind of a crapshoot; you might find a beautiful pic that’s perfect for your story, but then again you might also discover that the only remotely related image that you can find is a thumbnail that’s only clearly visible under a magnifying glass.

Now, however, there is a solution!

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Panasonic develops data communication using an ordinary light and smartphone

There are many ways that data is transferred these days, be it fiber optic cables, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 4G-LTE, and a whole slew of other brand names and acronyms the meanings of which I don’t care to learn.

Now Panasonic has come up with a way to send and receive data that’s easy for everyone to understand: light. Actually it uses light emitting diodes (LED) to be exact, but that’s about as technical as this explanation needs to get, I promise.

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