Archive for the Technology Category

World’s first robot marathon held in Osaka

Five knee-high androids have crossed the starting line in the world’s first marathon for two-legged robots, held last Thursday in Osaka, Japan.

The Robo Mara Full race was organised by robot technology firm Vstone Co, and the robots had to complete 423 laps on a 100-metre indoor track for a total of 42 kilometers. Operators were only allowed to change the robots’ batteries and motors but if the machines fall over they must get up by themselves.

It took the robot winner, Robovie-PC, 55 hours to complete the marathon.. Wow! These operators must have been really patient!

Japanese performing street magic with an iPad

Well, since Japanese incorporate technology in every aspect of their life, there’s no reason why they cannot use an iPad too. In fact it’s also fun to watch it! Check this street magician performing cool tricks with his iPad in front of the Ginza Apple Store in Tokyo. Enjoy the show!

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Japan’s broadcaster NHK revolutionizes aerial and water live TV broadcasting

Engineers at Japanese public broadcaster NHK (Nippon Hoso Kyokai) unveiled revolutionary systems, on Monday, at their company’s headquarters that will tremendously improve water sports coverage and change live TV broadcasting as we currently know it.

Such systems consist of overlaying Google Earth-like labels over live TV images from helicopters, or cameras that produce a single realistic image over and underwater for covering synchronized swimming at the Olympics!

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High-tech tombstones from Ishinokoe for resting in peace

In April 2008, the city of Kofu in Japan saw the launch of a new high-tech service for the recently deceased: high-tech tombstones.

Using cell phones to scan barcodes on the tombstones, families can view photos of their loved ones. The digital tombstones, called ‘Kuyo no Mado’, are made by a company called Ishinokoe.

We at OnlyInJapan.org wonder when LCD screens will start to appear on tombstones.

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Toylet games by Sega to ease boredness while urinating

Japanese toilets are famed for functions such as posterior shower jets and perfume bursts, but to ease the boredness of Japanese while urinating, entertainment company Sega has gone a step further by installing urine-controlled games in Tokyo urinals.

Named Toylet games, four types of games are available to be played during a test period ending this month. Each urinal is fitted with a pressure sensor, and a small digital display is placed at eye level.

Check out Mannekin Pis game below (named after a Brussels fountain) depicting a urinating boy and which measures the volume of the user’s stream.

Fitness Phone: the phone that can even measure bad breath

In October 2007, the Japanese firm NTT DoCoMo unveiled a prototype “fitness phone”. Designed to help you stay fit, it has devices that measure burnt calories, heart rate, and even body fat. But most useful of all, the phone can tell you if you have a bad breath. An alcohol-breathalyzer is apparently due next.

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