technology

New custom-made Sony earphones come with a price tag so high you won’t believe your ears

The latest in Sony Engineering’s product innovation line in inner-ear monitor (IEM) earphones has just been released with pre-sale advance orders available from April 29 at the Tokyo Hearing Care Centre in Aoyama.

The designers at Sony Engineering have developed “Just ear” earphones which are uniquely engineered and custom-built earphones designed for optimal sound quality to enhance the consumer’s listening experience. And they come with a price tag so high that you won’t believe your ears.

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Android app allegedly allows users to find and hire muscle to beat up whomever they want

One thing that Apple fans tend to bring out during the enormous Android vs iPhone flame wars is apps. While both systems have a huge number of applications, people often claim that those on iOS are either better or cover a broader range. We won’t even pretend to have an opinion on whether or not this is true, but it looks like Android may have Apple beat in at least one area! Though we’re not so sure Google will be proud of this accomplishment.

It looks like there might be an Android app in China that you can use to find some tough guys to rough people up for you!

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Could this creepy old guy actually be…a robot?!

This weird old guy was spotted at the AsiaWorld Expo, an electronics expo held in Hong Kong recently, creepily undressing people with his eyes, as he stared lasciviously at passersby like some kind of RocketNews24 writer on a weekend bender.

Just as people were about to call the police, we presume, it was revealed that the creepy old guy, whose first name is, inexplicably, Ham, is actually just a robot that happens to look like a filthy old lecher…which kind of is maybe almost creepier.

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Japan’s awesome, eco-friendly, old-school water heaters (and how to use them)

Japan may seem like a futuristic wonderland, what with its high-tech toilets and their array of functions that clean your bottom, heat your cheeks, and even provide sound effects to cover the natural ones that accompany your bathroom business. But technology is constantly evolving at a rapid rate, and each new innovation replaces something that used to be cutting-edge.

Case in point; every spring, thousands of young Japanese people leave home and move into their first, low-rent apartment to start school or a new job, and you can expect at least a couple will be shocked when they go to take a shower, discover this giant contraption next to the tub, and have no idea what it does.

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Guy supposedly finds himself sneaking a smoke at work on Google Street View

The fact that cameras are just about everywhere these days has all but guaranteed that you’ll get caught doing anything even remotely socially unacceptable unless you do it in the privacy of your own home (and even then you better make sure you close the curtains).

Gone are the days of anonymously ringing the crazy cat lady’s doorbell and running away, or sneaking in to your local Masonic Temple to uncover their nefarious, cult-ish deeds (true story!). You can pretty much forget about doing anything in an elevator.

Oh, and, better be sure to tell your supervisor before you take that smoke break, or the ever watchful, judging gaze of the Google Street View car might out you to your employer, as a Japanese Netizen apparently found out recently.

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3-D printer “Lunchbot” will put pretty patterns on your rice while you get ready for work 【Video】

As a kid growing up in the 80s, I had imagined that by the year 2015, we’d either be waging war against an army of unstoppable killing machines of our own creation or zipping to work by hoverboard (or perhaps in phallus-shaped train pods) while enjoying eggs ‘n’ bacon in tablet form. Alas, science has let me down on both fronts, with the closest thing I have in my life to robot warfare being Apple constantly bugging me to sign in to the Cloud or Facebook suddenly deciding that we all have to download a totally separate smartphone app just to receive private messages.

But at least we can now let machines make our bento lunches look pretty while we’re busy ironing a shirt or looking for the keys to our stupid, dead dinosaur-fuelled cars. Say hello to Lunchbot.

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Series of steamy shojo manga illustrations takes on the sizzling topic of IT security

It’s one of the all-time classic scene setups of Japanese girls’ comics. Our heroine finds herself in a secluded hallway of her school, alone with a handsome but mysterious male classmate. He turns to her and dramatically pounds the wall behind her, executing a perfect kabe-don before leaning in close to tell her a secret.

So what’s the dramatic line going to be this time? “I love you?” “We actually met years ago and were childhood friends befire you lost your memories?” “Don’t hug me, or I’ll transform into a dog?”

How about, “Don’t you know how important protecting your smartphone password is?”

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Proposed facial recognition system would send warning emails to families of pachinko addicts

For a country that doesn’t have any businesses officially classified as “casinos,” Japan has a ton of places to gamble. By far the most common are pachinko parlors, which you can find within a short walk of just about every major train station in Tokyo and Japan’s other large cities.

But with so many places to gamble, and many of them allowing customers to purchase the balls used to play for as little as one yen (less than a penny) each, it’s easy to get sucked into the siren song of the pachinko parlor. Seeking to help gamblers keep their wagers within their limits, one company is now proposing using facial recognition software to inform you, or your family, when you’re gambling too much.

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Tokyo’s busiest train lines to get luxury “one-man” express pods by next April

Japan is well-known for its packed commuter trains. For decades, smartly dressed men and women have shuffled wordlessly into train cars each morning, all painfully aware that they will soon be getting up-close and personal with total strangers and have nowhere to run, hide, or even breathe freely until their stop. Glove-wearing station staff pack passengers in as tightly as they’ll go without them popping out the other side, each firm shove accompanied by a polite word or phrase thanking passengers for moving all the way inside the car or warning them to keep their various appendages clear of the (just barely) closing doors.

But earlier today, Japan was given a glimpse of a much more civilised, luxuriant commuting experience that may soon put an end to these sardine-can shenanigans. Better yet, this logistical revolution is coming soon: not twelve months from now, commuters will be able to zip into Tokyo in style, lying back in comfortable faux-leather chairs inside sleek, aerodynamic private pods that resemble something out of Minority Report.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is the next generation of luxury travel, and its name is Kosoku.

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Otaku ears-New line of earphones is designed specifically for listening to anime songs with

For anime music fans, the appeal of the songs is more than just their connection to the shows they serve as anthems for. Over the years, anime songs have evolved into a genre in and of themselves, often employing fast, even frantic tempos and an even greater proportion of young female vocalists and electronic sounds than Japanese pop music in general.

So now that there are certain baselines the anime music scene has established for itself, it’s time for the hardware end of the musical experience to catch up, which is the promise made by these new sets of earphones specifically designed for listening to anime songs with.

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Feeling the generational gap recently? The top 20 things that Japanese youth are distanced from

Have you ever felt worlds apart from the generations above you? 

The topic of Japanese youth distancing themselves (purposely or not) from “things of the past” is something that pops up every now and again on Japanese variety shows. Most recently, an online research group also decided to tackle the topic, asking 500 people what they felt like young people are becoming more and more separated from in today’s world.

Today, we present the top 20 replies for “Things that Japanese youth are distanced from.”

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Awesome new electric motorcycle looks like something out of “Akira”‘s Neo Tokyo

Despite working a boring office job and having lived in Tokyo for long enough that not even schoolgirl uniforms, random cosplayers or the neon wash of Kabukicho really give me pause anymore, there are still moments when I look around at all the futuristic bizarreness and think, Is this real life? Or am I living in the dystopian anime world of Akira?

Maybe it’s the abnormally tall buildings, the dingy arcades that look like they’re right out of that early Akira scene. Maybe it’s the male hosts with their impeccable dress and gravity-defying hair, or the life-size, moving Gundam of Odaiba. Or maybe it’s because every once in a while a vehicle like this new electric motorcycle will come roaring down the street like its giving chase to an escaped Replicant or something.

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Want to see this impressively huge AR Titan? No problem, just fire up your personal drone

The hit anime Attack on Titan has really captured Japan’s imagination. For some reason, the idea of giant naked people eating regular sized humans really resonates with the Japanese psyche. So, it logically followed that various entities have attempted to recreate the scale of the series’ titular Titans in real life. Through Universal Studios’ impressive statues to, of course, a porn set and beyond, a lot of attempts have come close to capturing the pants-wetting terror of seeing a Titan in real life.

But none have come as close to a true-to-scale Titan as this private (!!!) augmented reality (AR) hobbyist who has managed to project a massive AR Titan dancing giddily in the Japanese countryside. And all you’ll need to see it for yourself is a multi-thousand dollar personal drone. You know, no big deal.

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Want to practice karaoke without anyone hearing you sing? This disturbing gadget is for you!

As fun and entertaining as a night of karaoke can be, it presents a major problem for many people. If you’re not used to it, singing in front of others can be embarrassing, even when the audience is made up of your close personal friends. Practicing at home can help you build confidence, but if you’ve got roommates or an apartment with paper-thin walls, that might not be an option, especially if you’re still at a level where you’re singing is less “sweet serenade” and more “public disturbance.”

Thankfully, there’s a solution that doesn’t involve calling a contractor and adding layer upon layer of sound-proofing to your bedroom walls. Instead, all you need is this noise-blocking microphone for solo karaoke practice.

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Spiral escalators may be even more stylish than clothes at Japanese department store in Shanghai

There’s definitely an elegance to a spiral staircase, and you could argue that an opulent shopping palace is just the place to install one, letting your customers feel stylish and sophisticated even as they move from one floor to the next. However, they won’t feel so glamorous if they’re panting for breath after walking to the top of an eight-story building.

That’s why for its new Shanghai branch, this Japanese department store decided to install spiral escalators, which it’s claiming are the longest of their type in the world.

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Japanese PM Shinzo Abe says he pays his Facebook and Twitter fees just like everyone else

Has Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe fallen for one of those “Facebook to start charging” hoaxes?

Abe found himself the butt of the joke in parliament this week after slipping up on the subject of social media. The prime minister proudly told the House of Councillors on Wednesday that of course, he pays his Facebook and Twitter membership fees.

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More than just cartoons, here are five anime that predicted and inspired the future [Video]

The future doesn’t seem all that far away anymore, especially with tablets, 3D TVs and the advent of hoverboards, as predicted in Back to the Future Part II. But it’s not just Hollywood movies that gave us a glimpse of what was to come. If we take a step back and review certain classic anime, we see some hints and foreshadowing of things that we either have todayor soon will.

The guys over at nerdy-cool fandom website Dorkly, compiled a video list of 5 Times Anime Predicted the Future, doing a great job of picking out some startlingly accurate predictions and possible inspirations. It could have been premonition, it could have been that vital element that inspired today’s scientists. Either way, it’s pretty cool, if not creepy at times.

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Sony sets its sights on the Chinese market, unleashes its limited-edition dragons on March 20

As the third-largest gaming market in the world, with revenues surpassing US$15 billion in 2014, China has long been a coveted prize for global gaming giants. Yet, until recently, that prize has remained out of reach due to the Chinese government’s 14-year ban on sales of foreign gaming consoles. With that ban now lifted, Japan’s Sony is set to take the plunge into these uncharted waters.

Sony is spearheading its entry into the new market with the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita, both of which will go on sale in China on March 20. This being the second planned release after a previous delay in January, Sony is pulling out all the stops with limited-edition models of both systems.

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Traditionally dressed Japanese waitress runs so fast her kimono flies off in cheeky Wi-Fi advert

Kimono are beautiful, often brightly-coloured intricate works of art as well as being items of clothing. But if you’ve ever tried one on, you’ll know that the sensation is at first somewhat akin to being wrapped in a sleeping bag or heavy roll of carpet. Even walking in a kimono can take some getting used to, and it beats me how Kyoto’s Maiko are able to dance in those things.

But in this slightly naughty commercial by Japanese internet provider UQ-WIMAX, a kimono-clad waitress at a traditional Japanese restaurant actually manages to run so fast, her kimono goes flying off!

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Samsung’s Dream Doghouse: a $30,000 pad for the cultivated canine

When we look at our four-legged companions, we can see ourselves stripped of all the complications of being human. After all, dogs seem to derive an almost inordinate amount of joy from the simplest pleasures: a well-chewed bone; a warm spot on the couch; occasional rolls in the dirt. Yet, as with humans, there are some dogs that value the finer things in life. 

Samsung might just have the answer for these posh canines: the Dream Doghouse. With building costs of US$30,000, this prime piece of real estate is hardly a bargain… but, then again, how many doghouses have a hydro-pool and treadmill?

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