Japan’s Meiji period ushered in revolutionary changes to the country. As over 200 years of self-imposed isolation came to an end, centuries of economic, political, and scientific advances came flooding into Japan, and the nation’s thinkers and entrepreneurs began scrambling to modernize. Thanks to their efforts, soon after the Meiji period began in 1868, Japan had its first railways, banks, and apparently a dog-powered butter-making machine.
At some point in our childhoods, most of us probably owned a few coloring books to keep us entertained on rainy days or while traveling.
Although coloring is still a great way to boost a child’s imagination and improve motor skills, as digital technology continues to develop, fewer children are turning to coloring books to pass the time.
So in order to make coloring “cool” again, Disney decided to do a little research into what they could do to breathe some life back into this old pastime favorite.
If there’s a menial task that takes up a substantial amount of time, you can bet Japan is developing a robot for it. So far we’ve seen gems like the 24-fingered hair-washing robot, the floor-cleaning bot and the robot that feeds you tomatoes while you run.
Now, a new generation of self-automated robotic assistance is set to make life easier for families in the very near future, with an amazing new machine that folds your laundry.
Google’s self-driving cars have gone from being a quizzical project that only the geekiest of geeks cared about to a very real possible future. Of course, Google isn’t the only company making forays into automated transportation, so it’s hardly a surprise that Japanese companies are also working on such technology.
But where Google’s self-driving cars basically look like tiny adorable bugs, Japan’s Robot Taxi is looking to solve the various transportation issues facing Japan—both urban and rural—with one magic bullet. Will they be successful? We have no idea, but this touching commercial will definitely have you rooting for them!
As Japan’s human population decreases, its robot population steadily rises. From the giant, rideable KURATAS to SoftBank’s domestic robot, Pepper, there’s diversity in their numbers but from next year, one smart mechanical biped aims to outdo them all.
It’s the adorable RoBoHoN from Sharp, who’s set to crush the cellphone market with an array of impressive features and an equally charming character. To see just how amazing this little guy is, come with us as we take a look at his exclusive introductory video after the break.
Every year since 1957, Japan’s Good Design Awards have honored products which are designed in such a way to have a positive impact on people’s lives. The award system, which is now operated by the Japan Institute of Design Promotion, has recently released their list of 2015’s Good Design Best 100 award winners.
With such innovative ideas as LED jump ropes and basketball courts, these awards are truly the best place to catch a glimpse of athletics equipment of the future!
Even though this year’s Tokyo Game Show already wrapped up a few weeks ago, we just can’t get all that awesome cosplay out of our heads. Even though the convention space made for some great shots, more and more cosplay enthusiasts are searching for that perfect spot to really give their costumes some added flair, and Haco Stadium, opened just last year, really delivers.
With 33 different themed rooms and a wide range of free or rental items for visitors to use, it’s a cosplayer’s dream come true. But not satisfied with stopping there, this time Haco Stadium wants to help you look even more the part with the introduction of a new sticker picture, or purikura, machine that promises to give you a flawless finish.
Not too long ago, we reported on Pico Cassette, a new device which will allow you to play retro video games on your smartphone via a cartridge which you plug into the headphone jack.
Since we absolutely love all kinds of gadgetry here at RocketNews24, and since we’re also big retro gaming nerds, we made a point to visit Pico Cassette’s booth at this year’s Tokyo Game Show in order to try it out for ourselves!
SoftBank’s emotional robot Pepper could be considered a hit in Japan ,with the first wave of 1,000 bots selling out in a minute and another 1,000 ready to move at the end of this month. But is Pepper’s popularity peculiar to purely people in one part of the Pacific? Perhaps.
We may soon find out according to a report in MIT Technology Review. One of their writers visited Aldebaran Robotics, the company which made Pepper along with SoftBank, and learned that an American Pepper is already well into development and has been given a significant attitude adjustment of the smart-ass kind to better fit in there.
Music has all but gone entirely digital. Video rental stores are a critically endangered species. Even video games are steadily moving towards more online distribution. At this rate we’ll soon be welcoming the first generation to think sticking a piece of plastic into a machine for entertainment is as attractive an idea as rubbing two sticks together for fire.
Then again, isn’t there something intrinsic in humans to want to put a cartridge or disc into something for entertainment?
That’s not a rhetorical question. I really have no idea, but the makers of Pico Cassette are hoping so. This device will load video games both new and old into your smartphone by plugging into its headphone jack.
When disaster zones are inaccessible by ground—such as the areas of Japan hit by widespread and deadly flooding last week—news broadcasters typically take to the air, relaying footage from helicopters. In the city of Joso, Ibaraki, news helicopters captured dramatic footage of rescue teams winching people to safety from rooftops on Thursday after the Kinugawa River burst its banks.
But helicopters can only get so close, and so authorities in Japan are now using drones to capture footage in disaster areas. The drones can fly closer to disaster-hit areas than a manned helicopter, offering a different and dramatic perspective.
And drones are not only being used to survey these areas hit by flooding and landslides; they are also starting to be used in rescue missions.
Our rice-resurrecting Japanese writer Meg isn’t just one of our favorite writers, she’s also one of our globe-trotting writers! And while we’re always happy to hear from her, this report she filed from China has a particularly special place in our hearts because it’s from the Shaolin Temple in Hénán Province!
In addition to sightseeing, it seems that Meg also took the opportunity to chat with some of the Shaolin monks. So, what did Meg want to discuss with the ascetics she met? Did she ask them to accept her as a disciple or get them to teach her a special technique to defeat all her enemies? Or maybe asking them to tell her the secret to eternal life? Not quite…
You may think you’ve heard and seen it all when it comes to Japan’s vending machines. They dispense panties and hot food, and sometimes they’ll give you a little freebie. But what you still might not know is that these handy beverage-dispensing boxes have been getting quite chatty recently. It’s not uncommon now for your vending machine to attempt to engage you in some chit-chat as you purchase your wares. The one outside my apartment, for example, chats to me each morning about the weather, sometimes in the Kansai dialect, and sometimes even in English. “Vendy” also likes to dispense encouraging soundbites, such as “Do your best again today!” In fact, we’ve become pretty pally.
The talking vending machine technology is apparently customisable, and recent reports have been circulating of a company president who has installed several machines for his coworkers’ use which feature his smiling mugshot and a variety of encouraging dialogue he’s recorded to keep up employee morale!
No matter how handy you get with typing text or creating digital images on a PC, tablet, or smartphone, for jotting down some quick notes, there’s still nothing as natural and speedy as simply grabbing a pen and piece of paper. The drawback to the old-school analog route, though, is that you might end up with dozens of sheets of annotated doodles lying around, which aren’t the easiest to catalog and refer to when you get down to the nitty-gritty of organizing and working through your project digitally.
But a new product from Japanese electronics manufacturer Wacom is promising the best of both worlds, as it lets you write notes on regular paper, then quickly transfer them as digital data to a variety of devices.
In the realm of technology, it’s a fact that everything gets smaller and more powerful as time goes by. “Minicomputers,” for example, used to be as big as a refrigerator, but now the smartphone you have in your pocket has far more processing power, and even that slick piece of tech is only as big as it is to accommodate its display screen.
The same thing happens with video game hardware. When new systems launch, they’re sizeable boxes, but after a couple of console generations, suddenly they can be shrunk to handheld size, like what’s happened with these two portables that play Nintendo Famicom and Super Famicom cartridges.
With the iPhone 6s set to launch on September 9, the current model of iPhone will soon become old news. But if you’re one of those who doesn’t mind not having the newest, shiniest version on the market, you’re sure to be able to find a great deal, as stores try hard to get rid of back stock before herds of Appleheads flock to get their shiny new toy.
Take this au store in Japan, for instance, whose workers were out shaking things up with a special dance in an attempt to advertise their awesome iPhone 6 deals.
…There. We said it.
As technologically cool and fun-sounding as the “Mitsukete-miyou! Iro Kyachi Pen” (lit. “Let’s Find it! Color Catch Pen”) appears to be, it also has the unfortunate appearance of a “massager,” which in Japan, is code for…Well, look, it’s code for a vibrator. Literally no one uses a “massager” for their back or any other non-genital area (and anyone who says otherwise is a dirty, filthy liar and probably also says they never pee in the shower, which we all know is a lie, too), so parents be warned: You and your child may have lots of fun playing with this fantastic, educational toy, but you will also never, ever, ever be able to shake the image of your nine-year-old holding something they might as well have found in your secret fun-time drawer out of your head for as long as you live.
Earlier this summer, RocketNews24 brought you the breaking news that the United States’ MegaBots had built a giant robot and had challenged Japan who, to no one’s surprise, already had a giant robot themselves. This challenge for robot supremacy was quickly accepted and the ante was upped to include melee combat.
MegaBots couldn’t back down from a challenge they issued first, so it was back to the drawing board in preparation for next year’s battle for national pride. They have some ideas, but are going to need your help to “kickstart” an American victory.
It’s amazing how much technology has become an integral part of our everyday lives. Companies continually strive to outdo one another by bringing us the latest modern conveniences and seeking to create new and unique gizmos that we won’t want to live without. That said, there are times when we seem to rely on technology more than we need to, and when it feels like companies release new devices without much of a goal in mind besides trying to be different..
A little while back, we brought you news of Electrical Udon developed by Kurare of Arienai Rika (“Unbelievable Science”) for an event to be held in Osaka. Well, that event has come and gone, and we were fortunate enough to be there to get a taste of his technicolor noodles along with some other off-color foods like blue rice topped with even bluer curry and fried chicken with a secret green sauce.
We also got to see some of the DIY science that made Arienai Rika a cult hit with science and tech enthusiasts in Japan.