Sunday, September 30, 2007

The SonyDrive XEL-1 OLED TV: 1,000,000:1 contrast starting December 1st

It's here friends, Sony's Drive teaser is none other than their 3-mm thin, 1,000,000:1 OLED TV, just announced official with a December 1st Japanese retail date. The 11-inch SonyDrive XEL-1 set features a 960 x 540 pixel resolution, terrestrial digital tuner, 2x 1W speaker, and HDMI, USB, and Ethernet jacks in a package measuring 287 x 140 x 253-mm and 2-kg (3.3-pounds). How much? Well, ¥200,000 or about $1,740 -- That's about $160 per inch of OLED. Rich indeed, but so it goes for first generation technology.

This article is from Engadget.

Finer details related to product found at JCNNetwork.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Colorless ink that produces a riot of color

"Seeing the whole color spectrum became possible with a new colorless ink jointly developed by Yasuchika Hasegawa, an associate professor of photochemistry at the Nara Institute of Science and Technology (NAIST), and researchers from Central Techno Co. in Osaka.

Colorless inks that appear blue or green under ultraviolet light have been available for years, but a new ultraviolet ink developed by Hasegawa's team has added another dimension.

The team has created a red ink so that now it's possible to produce all the colors of the rainbow by combining the three basic colors.

The researchers are aiming at commercializing the newly developed ink.

If the ink is used on the white surface of identification cards, for example, information written on the surface can be shown when it is exposed to ultraviolet rays. Or, advertisements or interior designs can be displayed in the dark.

The colorful photos or pictures disappear if they are not exposed to the ultraviolet rays.

Hasegawa's team members developed the ink by using europium, a rare-earth element that emits weak lights of red color when exposed to ultraviolet rays."

Read full article at

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Tohoku University Prototypes Wireless Power Supply System for Artificial Retina

"A research group focused on the development of artificial retina prototyped a system that can wirelessly supply power from an external source to an LSI in an artificial retina implanted in the eyeball.

The research group led by Mitsumasa Koyanagi, professor at graduate school of engineering, Tohoku University, presented the accomplishment at 2007 International Conference on Solid State Devices and Materials (SSDM), an international conference on semiconductors that was held from Sept. 18 to 21, 2007.

The latest system employs an electromagnetic induction type wireless power supply unit. The unit is equipped with a compact battery. It supplies power from the primary coil embedded in a lens of eyeglasses to the secondary coil in a crystalline lens serving as the lens for the eye by means of electromagnetic induction. Two major parts of the latest development were the secondary coil and the Schottky diode provided to rectify AC current supplied to the secondary coil to DC current."

This is an excerpt. Read full article at Tech-On!

NEC develops portable DNA analysis device

"NEC Corp. has developed a portable compact device that will allow police to complete a DNA analysis in about 25 minutes, according to the company.

The device, jointly developed with press machine manufacturer Aida Engineering Ltd., based in Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture, is the first portable device of its kind, the company said. It will go into use with police forces in fiscal 2008 at the earliest.

The compact device, which measures 50 centimeters by 20 centimeters by 40 centimeters, will help police speed up the early stages of investigations, the firm said.

Currently, it takes between one day and a week to complete a DNA analysis, as police have to take skin and other samples taken from a crime scene to a forensics lab where a number of pieces of equipment are necessary to conduct an analysis."

From the Yomiuri Shimbun.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Keio University's Eliica All-Electric Vehicle


"The Eliica (or the Electric Lithium-Ion Car) is a battery electric vehicle prototype, or concept car designed by a team at Keio University in Tokyo, led by Professor Hiroshi Shimizu. The 5.1 metre (16.7 feet) car runs on a lithium-ion battery and can accelerate from 0-100 km/h (60 mph) in four seconds. In 2004, the Eliica reached a speed of 370 km/h (230 mph) on Italy's Nardo High Speed Track.

The Eliica weighs in at 2400 kg (5291 lbs) and seats the driver and three passengers. The body of the four door car has a futuristic, bullet shape design which was tested in a wind tunnel. The front doors open forward and the rear doors open upward like wings. The car's platform contains 4 tracks of 80 batteries, which make for one third of the vehicle's cost. They currently require about 10 hours of recharging from empty to full charge, and can be easily charged off of a residential power grid.

The car has eight wheels enabling it to be closer to the ground for better traction. Each of the wheels has a 60 kW (80 hp) electric motor, giving a 480 kW (640 hp) eight wheel drive which can tackle all kinds of road surfaces. The four front wheels steer. The electric motors mean that the Eliica can deliver a smooth acceleration free from gear shifts of about 0.8 g. Each wheel contains a disc brake and employs a regenerative brake system to recover energy.

There are currently (as of 2005) two versions of the Eliica: a Speed model and an Acceleration model. The Speed model is made to challenge gasoline-based records and has a top speed of 370 km/h (230 mph) with a range of 200 km (125 miles). The Acceleration model is made for the street and has a top speed of 190 km/h (120 mph) with a range of 320 km (200 miles).

The estimated cost of development was in excess of US$320,000. Once the team receives corporate sponsorship, they plan to produce at least 200 units. As of early 2007, the projected pricetag was ¥30,000,000, or about $255,000 US."


Saturday, September 22, 2007

Rocobo, Takara Tomy's tiny "Tamagotchi on Steroids"

"Rocobo, Takara Tomy's tiny "Tamagotchi on Steroids" is taking Tokyo by storm... and the wider world awaits. OK, don't get excited... but if you do, your interactive Rocobo robotic pet will too! Yell at Rocobo and the sassy li'l critter will flap his ears and yap right back. While you may think you're training this plastic pooch, it just might be training YOU at the same time!"

Read full article at InventorSpot.

Individuals to buy emission rights

Japan Carbon Offset, a nonprofit organization based in Tokyo, said it will begin a program to allow individuals as well as businesses to fight global warming by converting carbon dioxide emission rights into smaller lots for sale to investors. The program is the first of its kind in Japan, the organization said.

The program, expected to start later this year, will be carried out in cooperation with 16 companies, including retail giant Aeon Co., supermarket chain Seiyu Ltd., Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. and the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, the group said Thursday.

Payments to buy products or services offered by the 16 businesses will be partially set aside to buy emission rights.

The group will initially purchase rights to emit 10,000 tons of carbon dioxide from a hydraulic power generation project in Brazil and sell them in minimum lots of about 1 ton, which currently trades at just over ¥2,000 per ton.

The Japan Times.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Molecule linked to stronger bones

"Researchers have found that a molecule in the brain that regulates appetite also functions to control bone mass levels, a finding they say could help develop new drugs to treat osteoporosis.

A group, which includes Shu Takeda, an expert on bone-related studies at Tokyo Medical and Dental University, conducted a series of tests on mice using the peptide, called Neuromadin U (NmU).

Mice that did not have NmU experienced an increase in bone mass. When mice without NmU had NmU injected in their brain, bone mass decreased."

Read full article at

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Mitsubishi Motors's Electric Car Can Produce Wind Power

Tokyo, Sept 7, 2007 (Jiji Press) - Mitsubishi Motors Corp. <7211> on Friday unveiled a concept electric vehicle model that makes use of both solar and wind power, for exhibiting at the Tokyo Motor Show this autumn.

The i MiEV Sport model features a high-performance rechargeable battery and a body made of aluminum to keep down the weight.

With one charge of electricity, the model has a range of 200 kilometers, 25 pct more than the automaker's i MiEV minivehicle-type electric vehicle model. The maximum speed was increased to 180 kilometers per hour from 130 kilometers per hour.

The concept electric car has a solar cell panel attached to the roof so that it can accumulate electricity whenever sunlight is present. It is also equipped with a fan in the front air intake system, to enable wind power generation.

Although solar and wind power are generated only as supplementary energy sources, these features are designed to highlight Mitsubishi's environmental focus and efficient energy use, according to the company.

The Tokyo Motor Show will open on Oct. 26 at Makuhari Messe in Chiba Prefecture, east of Tokyo, and run through Nov. 11.

Article from JCNNetwork.

Mazda Develops World's First Biofabric Made With 100 Percent Plant-Derived Fiber for Vehicle Interiors

"Tokyo, Japan, Sept 12, 2007 - (JCN Newswire) - The world's first biofabric made with completely plant-derived fibers, suitable for use in vehicle interiors, has been developed by Mazda Motor Corporation in collaboration with Teijin Limited and Teijin Fibers Limited. This newly developed biofabric does not contain any oil-based materials, yet it possesses the quality and durability required for use in vehicle seat covers. Resistant to abrasion and damage from sunlight, in addition to being flame retardant, the new biofabric meets the highest quality standards.

Based on this biotechnology, Mazda will strengthen its future research and development on non-food-based materials in consideration of the impact such technologies have on food supplies. Mazda plans to use the biofabric for the seat covers and door trim in the all-new Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid that will be exhibited in October at the Tokyo Motor Show 2007. The all-new Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid will also feature a bioplastic, which Mazda developed in 2006, in the vehicle's instrument panel and other interior fittings."

Read full article at JCNNetwork.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Japan's Daihatsu Motor touts new fuel cell technology

Photo: AFP

TOKYO (AFP) - Daihatsu Motor Co., a unit of the Japanese auto giant Toyota Motor, said Friday it has developed a new fuel cell technology that eliminates the need for platinum.

Until now, the precious metal has been an essential material in the electrode catalyst in conventional fuel cells for automobiles, said the company, which specialises in manufacturing small vehicles.

"This proprietary fuel cell technology provides numerous benefits, including resource conservation, low cost, high output, and safe and easy fuel handling," the company said in a statement.

Read full article at Yahoo News.

Sony, Sharp, and Hitachi out to cut your LCD power bill

"Sony, Sharp, and Hitachi have joined forces with the goal of developing LCD television tech that will have displays sipping less than half the current juice by 2011. A recent CNET study shows that a typical plasma television uses 328 watts of power, whereas the average LCD uses 193 watts. By researching LED backlighting -- which also helps with expanded-range color reproduction -- and other energy-saving technologies, the companies hope to keep the costs of operating an LCD down as the sizes go up. And let there be no mistake, sizes will go up."

Article from Engadget.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Japan launches its first lunar orbiter

Image: Lunar probe launch
"TOKYO - After a number of delays, Japan's space agency has launched its first lunar orbiter, marking the latest move in an international race to explore the moon.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, is calling the Kaguya project the most ambitious mission to the moon since the Apollo flights, more than three decades ago. The $479 million mission is also known as SELENE, or Selenological and Engineering Explorer.

The rocket carrying the three-ton orbiter took off into blue skies, leaving a huge trail of vapor over the tiny island of Tanegashima, about 1,000 km (620 miles) south of Tokyo, at 10:31 a.m. Friday (9:31 p.m. ET Thursday) as it headed out over the Pacific Ocean."

Continue reading at MSNBC.


This photo from Yahoo! News Photo.

Salmon Spawn Baby Trout in Experiment

"The new method is "one of the best things that has happened in a long time in bringing something new into conservation biology," said University of Idaho zoology professor Joseph Cloud, who is leading the U.S. government-funded sockeye project.

The Tokyo University inventors dubbed their method "surrogate broodstocking." They injected newly hatched but sterile Asian masu salmon with sperm-growing cells from rainbow trout — and watched the salmon grow up to produce trout.

The striking success, published in Friday's edition of the journal Science, is capturing the attention of conservation specialists, who say new techniques are badly needed. Captive breeding of endangered fish is difficult, and attempts to freeze fish eggs for posterity so far have failed.

The Japanese researchers' ultimate goal: Boost the rapidly dwindling population of bluefin tuna, a species prized in a country famed for its tuna appetite.

"We need to rescue them somehow," said Goro Yoshizaki, a Tokyo University marine scientist who is leading the research."

Read full article at AP.

Fujitsu, Fujitsu Laboratories Develop Real-time 3D Stereo Sensor LSI for Robots

"Fujitsu Ltd. and Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd. announced, Sept. 12, 2007, that their joint development of an LSI chip, which performs processing for robots so they can recognize shapes and moves of subjects in real-time.

Like human eyes, the chip performs 3D stereo image processing, which senses the depth based on parallax between images transmitted from two cameras on the robot's both sides. Given its compact size and low power, the chip can be applied to relatively small robots, the companies said."

Read full article at TechOn!

View seen from left eye

View seen from right eye

3D measurement results

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Mitsubishi to Unveil Electric Vehicle with On-roof Solar Cells

"Mitsubishi Motors Corp. announced, Sept. 7, 2007, that it will exhibit three concept cars at the 40th Tokyo Motor Show.

One of the cars that will make its worldwide debut is the i MiEV SPORT. Based on the i MiEV, the new vehicle enhances the driving experience. The i MiEV is an electric vehicle based on the platform of the light car i, which drives the rear wheels by a motor. In contrast, the i MiEV SPORT employs, in addition to the rear motor, in-wheel motors at left and right sides in the front to enhance maneuverability.

To increase the utilization efficiency of energy, the i MiEV SPORT is equipped with a photovoltaic generator attached on the roof and a power-generating fan inside the front grill. The photovoltaic generator has a generation efficiency of 13%, and recharges the battery while the car is parked.

When lit by the sun for about 1 week, an energy corresponding to 10% of the battery capacity (equivalent to a cruising distance of 20 km) can be recharged. When the car is slowing down, the fan inside the front grill is rotated for the power generation."

Read on at TechOn!

Fujitsu Begins Sales of World's First PC Mouse Equipped with Palm Vein Biometric Authentication Sensor

Tokyo, Japan, Sept 11, 2007 - (JCN Newswire) - Fujitsu Limited and Fujitsu Frontech Limited today announced that they have developed a PC Login Kit for use with the PalmSecure palm vein biometric authentication device and begun sales of a mouse model and a standard model for corporate users.

PalmSecure PC Login Kit comes standard with login-authentication software, enabling client-side authentication and eliminating the need to use an authentication server, which had been required up until now. In addition, other improvements have been incorporated, such as faster authentication speeds without a palm guide[1] and greater tolerance for the distance and angle of the hand when it passes over the device.

With the new PalmSecure PC Login Kit, logins to PCs or applications that up until now required IDs and passwords can now be done using the highly secure palm vein biometric authentication method.

Read on at JCN Network.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Sony's egg-shaped stereo 'dances,' emits light to tune of music

Sony's egg-shaped stereo 'dances,' emits light to tune of music

Sony Corp. said Sept. 10 it will market on Sept. 29 the ''Rolly,'' a palm-size, egg-shaped music player that ''dances'' and emits light to the tune of the music, employing the company's electronic know-how for music analysis. (Kyodo)

article from Kyodo News.

You can see the Rolly in video at Youtube.


This picture found at Yahoo News.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Toshiba Boosts Hard Drive Density By 50%

"Toshiba has unveiled a ground-breaking technology that boosts recording density by 50% on an 80-GB, 1.8", single-platter drive. Using what it calls Discrete Track Recording technology, Toshiba was able to pack 120 GB storage on a single 1.8" platter. The new development will hugely benefit media player, UMPC, and ultra-portable laptop segments where 1.8" drives with maximum possible capacity are in great demand."

via Slashdot

Friday, September 07, 2007

World's Smallet Humanoid Robot.

"A new humanoid robot, certified as the world's smallest, will be released this autumn by Japanese toy manufacturer Tomy Company. On October 25, 2007, the Omnibot 17µ i-SOBOT is scheduled to hit the market—as well as the 2008 edition of Guinness World Records, which will list the product as "the smallest humanoid robot in production."

Robotics fans look forward to i-SOBOT as a fun toy to add to their collections, but also as a leap forward in miniaturization of the advanced parts that go into these high-tech tools.

i-SOBOT stands just 16.5 centimeters tall, and weighs only around 350 grams."

Read full article at Trends in Japan.

You can see a video of these cute things in action at

Video provided by

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Surf's up as Japan plans artificial reef

A Japanese surfer competes during the Monster Energy Pipeline Pro at the Banzai Pipeline, North Shore Oahu, Hawaii, in February. Japan plans to build its first artificial reef to respond to the growing number of surfers as more Japanese enjoy kicking back on the waves, officials said Wednesday.(AFP/ASP/File/Kelly Cestari)

"TOKYO (AFP) - Japan plans to build its first artificial reef to respond to the growing number of surfers as more Japanese enjoy kicking back on the waves, officials said Wednesday.

The western prefecture of Wakayama, just south of Osaka, plans to make a reef out of natural stones and shaped like a boomerang, which would produce waves of up to 1.5 meters to 2 meters (6.6 feet).

The reef will be built on sand, which will be safe for beginners, he said.

It will be built six meters below the water surface and will measure 50 meters (165 feet) by 4.5 meters (15 feet).

Construction is slated to begin late December or early January 2008, Naka said."

Read full article @ Yahoo News.

Untangling the web: Japan experts publish map of the net

Map of the web
Provided by Information Architects Japan

"Mapping the great network that is the internet was never going to be an easy task. There would have to be as many connections as there are in the human brain. But for a group of web architects based in Japan, it is worth a go.

Modelled on the fiendishly complex Tokyo Metro map, the latest Web Trend Map (the 2007/V2 version) organises some of cyberspace's movers and shakers into an easy-to-read chart. Plotted by the Japanese firm Information Architects (IA), each line on the map represents a theme, be it news (green), tools (pink) or the brown Chinese line, which IA calls the "second internet", after the country's efforts to censor much of the content freely available in the West."

This is an excerpt, read full article at

via: newsonjapan

Sega Toys kaleidoscope projector. Kaleidoscope on the ceiling!


"Mangekyo means “kaleidoscope” in Japanese, and this projector can be used to paint your walls in bright, moving colors and shapes. The projector itself is a stylish tube that will look pretty cool sitting next to your white Homestar Pro when it comes out." -Trends in Japan


"Can make your plain walls look psychedelic. You know what’s funny? The projector that does all of this looks like a bong! :P"

vias: & Trends in Japan

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

USB Powered Ash Trays.

"If smoking and computers are your thing, then Evergreen has the answer for you: a USB powered ash tray that not only lights up when you open it, but also has a built-in fan so you can save your co-workers from second hand smoke. How nice of them to think of us non-smokers. The USB powered ash tray is modeled in the shape of a car (cars + cigarettes = macho!) and is not only powered by USB, it can also be powered by two AA batteries. Available in blue, red, yellow and green; for ¥500, how can you go wrong?"

Article From

Bandai's New Cockroach Robot Toy


"Bandai's newest high-tech toy? A translucent robot modeled after real cockroaches. This little thing has six legs, a touch sensor that tells it to change directions when it hits a wall, a micro monitor that makes it vibrate like a cell phone, and a mic sensor that lets it scuttle away when you make loud noises.

After experimenting with several different bugs, the creators decided that the cockroach's movements and speed were the most compatible with battery efficiency and design. You can also get models with bodies resembling ladybugs, but they're still going to move like roaches.

The Hex Bug comes out in mid-September and will retail for about $15/each."

Press release (in Japanese, via ImpressWatch)

article from

Ditch the Cubicle with Japan's "Chair/Desk


"From the "idea is better than the actual product" department, this chair answers the question, "Why get a desk and a chair when you can just get a chair-desk?" Even though it's not the sleekest implementation we've ever seen, we really like the concept; less stuff is better than more stuff, right? Conceived in Japan, where living space is at a premium, it might make sense for us bloggers, too; rather than hunching over our laptops on the couch or lounging in bed in our pajamas, this could be a major upgrade to the "home office." Looks like it's only available in Japan for now; we'll have to settle for the flexible Trey chair. ::Thanko Chair/Desk (site in
Japanese) via ::TokyoMango"


Japanese scientists make breakthrough in space-based laser power

"The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Osaka University have been working together to develop a device which converts sunlight into laser-light with four times the efficiency of previous attempts. According to a report out of Tokyo, the team is working on Space-based solar power systems which can collect sunlight in space and convert it into laser light, which is then transmitted to Earth and used for electricity... or to power a massive Death-Ray. The project works by storing sunlight-based energy in plate made from a sintered powder of metals like chromium and neodymium. When weak laser light is shined onto the plate, the stored energy is transferred to the laser where its strength is amplified by a factor of four. In one test, a 0.5-watt laser was amplified to 180-watts by the plates. Scientists have thus far been able to garner 40-percent of the solar energy produced, and they hope to have a system ready for satellite mounting by the not-too-distant year 2030. Huzzah!"

article from Engadget.

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