technology

Researchers at Keio University working towards a future where we may all use the “Force”

Researchers at Keio University working towards a future where we may all use the “Force”

On 20 December a research team led by Professor Kohei Onishi unveiled their Force Transceiver technology. This is technology that can remotely transmit physical forces and resistances two-ways in real time.

Prof. Onishi hopes that this technology can be used in robotics such as carrying out precise work in environments too hazardous for humans. Not only that, work that would require direct, personal contact such as physical therapy could be done anywhere in the world with an almost identical level of quality.

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Awesome Japanese rescue robot probably won’t kill you

Awesome Japanese rescue robot probably won’t kill you

DARPA, the American agency commonly known for its hilarious supervillain-esque laser projects and weaponized dolphins, took time out of its wacky military inventions schedule to hold its Robotics Competition in Miami, Florida, where a humanoid robot from Japanese company Schaft, Inc. took top prize.

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I took Nissan’s ‘Taxi of Tomorrow’ for a spin, and it’s clear New Yorkers will love it

I took Nissan’s ‘Taxi of Tomorrow’ for a spin, and it’s clear New Yorkers will love it

In May 2011, Nissan was selected to create and supply the vehicle that would be the exclusive New York City taxi.

That plan hasn’t worked out so well. A series of court decisions have blocked the City from approving the NV200 as the only taxi model, in part because it’s not a hybrid, according to the New York Times.

But Nissan still has the right to bring its taxi to the streets of New York, and it sold the first one at the end of October.

This week, the automaker invited me to get a closer look at the NV200 and take a spin around Manhattan.

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Are mysterious nocturnal happenings in rural Shimane Prefecture the work of poltergeists?

Are mysterious nocturnal happenings in rural Shimane Prefecture the work of poltergeists?

Shimane Prefecture, located along the northwestern edge of Japan’s main island of Honshu, is commonly the butt of jokes. At best, it’s often confused with neighboring Tottori Prefecture, and at worst, it’s forgotten about altogether.

Despite its natural beauty and historical sites such as the Grand Shinto Shrine of Izumo, there’s no getting around the fact that Shimane is a quiet, rural place. Even in the prefectural capital of Matsue, there’s usually not much going on.

Except, perhaps, for a recent poltergeist attack.

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Amazon Japan teases gamers with shots of PlayStation 4 stockpiles, warns of inflated prices

Amazon Japan teases gamers with shots of PlayStation 4 stockpiles, warns of inflated prices

Gamers in Japan who have yet to place an order but are hoping to pick up Sony’s newest console when it finally launches next February may well be disappointed come launch day. Amazon Japan is already reporting that it has sold out completely, and although it is hoping to guarantee more units soon might not be able to meet demand.

As with most new must-have items, numerous retailers offering the console at considerably inflated prices are already starting to appear online. Whether or not for its own gain, Amazon Japan has urged its customers via Twitter to be aware that those paying more than 40,000 yen (US$385) for a PlayStation 4 are being ripped off.

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Twitpics show sumo wrestlers getting health checks… in spaaaaaaace!

Twitpics show sumo wrestlers getting health checks… in spaaaaaaace!

Now here’s something you don’t see every day – a bunch of enormous men in their underpants sitting in fiberglass pods that look like something NASA might fire out of a space shuttle.

Shared on Twitter earlier today by the Japan Sumo Association, these photos show some of the sumo community’s most famous faces attending a health check session prior to a series of upcoming bouts. They’re also kind of hilarious.

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Humidify in style with artsy, all-natural humidifier

Humidify in style with artsy, all-natural humidifier

Sure, this thing that roughly resembles a boat looks like a moderately gifted shop class student’s midterm project at first glance, but it’s actually a modern humidifier with some cool low-tech miracles happening under the hood. Join us after the jump for a closer look at this cool natural gizmo.

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Taiwan’s annual IT show lasts a whole month! Booth babes galore! 【Photos】

Taiwan’s annual IT show lasts a whole month! Booth babes galore! 【Photos】

It’s IT Month in Taiwan right now, and the annual IT trade show just made its stop at the Taipei World Trade Center this week, boasting 350 exhibitors rolling out 1,765 booths showing off the shiniest tech-gadgets in town.

Sure, it’s nice to be in touch with the latest technology trends and stuff, but it’s even better when cute peachy girls are involved in the process, ain’t it! Who’s with me?

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Enjoy revolving sushi at home (even if the catch of the day comes with a catch)

Enjoy revolving sushi at home (even if the catch of the day comes with a catch)

Revolving sushi restaurants, also known as conveyer belt sushi, are one of the most accessible and enjoyable ways to eat out in Japan. You simply grab a seat, then grab plates of sushi as they pass by on the automated belt. Since there’s no ordering necessary, you don’t even have to know the name of the fish in your native language, let alone Japanese.

Unlike full-service sushi restaurants where the exalted chef often chooses what to place on the customers’ plate, at revolving sushi restaurants your meal is make up of exactly what you want to eat, and nothing else. Add in the fact that revolving sushi restaurants are far cheaper than their more traditional cousins, and you have an almost perfect dining experience.

Now, one inventor is looking to let you to experience revolving sushi at home, albeit with a big twist.

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Ultra-simple smartphone navigation system helps you find your friends even if you can’t read a map

Ultra-simple smartphone navigation system helps you find your friends even if you can’t read a map

In Japan, only the largest of streets have names. Addresses aren’t sequential either, so as you walk down the road the numbers may go from 12 to 5, and then back up to 23. Since making it from point A to point B isn’t as simple as “turn left on Main Street, then right on Arrow Highway, and if you see the 1600 block, you know you went too far,” for most people, a good map is essential for getting where you want to go.

But what if your map-reading skills aren’t the greatest? Or how about if you’re looking for a person, like the girl you asked out to dinner and are supposed to meet up with in five minutes?

Thankfully, there’s now an app for that.

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Research institute explains technobabble with awesome retro anime 【Video】

Research institute explains technobabble with awesome retro anime 【Video】

Scientists must often have a hard time explaining deep scientific concepts to the general public without resorting to a lot of wild gesticulating and exasperated sighs. We know we’d get around five minutes into a college physics lecture before giving up and drawing cat doodles in our notebooks for the remaining hour of class.

It’s no wonder, then, that Japan’s RIKEN national comprehensive research institution resorted to making this totally awesome anime to enthrall and amaze our stupid civilian minds with flashing lights and hot robot girls, so we’d sit still long enough for the institute to introduce its new and totally sci-fi sounding SPring-8 Angstrom Compact Free Electron Laser (SACLA).

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No more mangled tofu 【Video】

No more mangled tofu 【Video】

Apparently the destruction of soft silky tofu is so much of a problem that one company has developed a machine to replace the delicate task of handling tofu. No more will we have to worry about shaky cumbersome hands to package the jiggly white stuff. Yes, we can all rest easily knowing our tofu is safely in the hands of robots. Or maybe that is something we should fear.

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Japanese mobile provider locks smartphones to prevent use while walking

Japanese mobile provider locks smartphones to prevent use while walking

We all do it, and we’ve all been irritated by others doing it: walking while checking something on your phone. You know that it’s dangerous, but when you are in a hurry and need to check an urgent mail or see if anyone liked your witty status update yet, it’s hard not to just give the screen a quick gander on the go.

Japanese mobile provider Docomo has developed a service to remove that very temptation from your life, though. By setting your Android smartphone to “safety mode,” it will give you an error message if you try to use it while walking. That’s right, cruise control for pedestrians is finally here!

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Tokyo Motor Show 2013: Cars! Crowds! Comely models! 【Photos】

Tokyo Motor Show 2013: Cars! Crowds! Comely models! 【Photos】

Like a migratory bird made of carbon fiber and engine blocks, every two years the Tokyo Motor Show returns to give us all a glimpse at automakers’ visions of the future. RocketNews24 visited this year’s event, and we’re here to share with you our impressions and photos of the massive crowds, newest concept cars, and hottest current models (both automotive and female).

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Years of labor and millions of dollars finally yield amazing french fry vending machine

Years of labor and millions of dollars finally yield amazing french fry vending machine

For many of the world’s greatest cuisines, there is a fine line separating a stellar example of a particular dish from a loathsome, gag-inducing failure. In the case of the humble french fry, that fine line is a few extra minutes from fryer to your eager food hole; let the fries sit for just a little too long and they transform before your eyes from hot, crunchy guilty pleasure to disgusting, squishy, limp waste of calories.

Apparently deeply affected by a soggy fry incident, the folks at China’s Beyondte Electronics Co., Ltd. set out to perfect a french fry vending machine that would produce hot, crunchy fries on the spot whenever you got a craving, eliminating the need to order them at your favorite fast food joint and carry them home and – a happy side effect – also eliminating the need to actually speak to another human being to get your fry fix.

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Honda’s UNI-CUB is our laziest dream come true

Honda’s UNI-CUB is our laziest dream come true

The good people at Honda, seemingly having read our minds, introduced at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show this beautiful luxury chair-vehicle hybrid that we never knew we’d always been waiting for.

Gone are the days of actually having to get out of your seat to retrieve the remote, or that last broken chip from the Pringles can that somehow found its way into the seat cushion of that chair you never use. In fact, with the new UNI-CUB the only reason you’ll ever need to get out of your seat again is to give a standing ovation to Honda’s brilliant – and probably equally lazy – engineers.

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Sony files patent application for a “Smart Wig”

Sony files patent application for a “Smart Wig”

Smartphones are great and all, but they require your hands, which can be a problem when doing work, sports or raising the occasional barn. Then, along came Google Glass, a brand of smart glasses with promises of a more hands-free future. Unfortunately, it’s hard to interact with people and not have them stare at your right eye the entire time.

There must be a way to combine the discreet practicality of a smartphone with the hands-free functionality of smart glasses. According to an invention filed with the U.S. Patent Office this year, Sony appears to be interested something that just might do that with the “Smart Wig.”

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Finally, your dog can safely leap through flaming hoops with this adorable doggy fire gear

Finally, your dog can safely leap through flaming hoops with this adorable doggy fire gear

Every dog owner has experienced it: you want your dog to sit, speak, roll over and maybe shake, but your pooch has other ambitions. Bigger dreams. He wants to join the fire brigade (you know this because you taught him to speak), but you’re worried about your little buddy’s safety.

Finally, though, you can let your doggy chase both his tail and his dreams with this adorable doggy flame-retardant suit. Join us after the jump for more adorable photos!

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Finding the heroine’s panties: The most difficult side quest in newest Final Fantasy role-playing game

Finding the heroine’s panties: The most difficult side quest in newest Final Fantasy role-playing game

While in recent years opinions have become increasingly divided on the gameplay in long-running video game series Final Fantasy, there’s not much room to criticize the franchise’s artistry. New installments of Final Fantasy are consistently among the most visually and aurally pleasing games at their time of release. Each title has a huge team of designers and software engineers who spend untold hours making sure the cut scenes are gorgeous, the interface slick, and the soundtrack stirring and crystal clear. And also, apparently, that the heroine doesn’t inadvertently flash her panties.

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New “Privacy Glasses” protect your identity and your image

New “Privacy Glasses” protect your identity and your image

Protecting your privacy can be a difficult task in today’s world of information technology. With surveillance cameras on every corner and a recording device on every smartphone, there’s a good chance your image has been captured somewhere without you even knowing it. Safeguarding your mug in the future is set to become even more difficult with advancements in facial recognition technologies and wearable computers like Google Glass.

So what can you do to ensure your identity remains intact? In Western countries the answer would be simple: put on a pair of sunglasses. In Japan, however, sunglasses are a much less common sight, and many consider them to be worn only by those trying a little too hard to look cool, and in more extreme cases associate them with the yakuza lifestyle. Researchers at the National Institute of Informatics in Tokyo have addressed this issue by designing a non-threatening pair of white shades to protect both your identity and your public image, dubbing them the “Privacy Visor”.

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