Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Why veins could replace fingerprints and retinas as most secure form of ID

Forget fingerprinting. Companies in Europe have begun to roll out an advanced biometric system from Japan that identifies people from the unique patterns of veins inside their fingers.

Finger vein authentication, introduced widely by Japanese banks in the last two years, is claimed to be the fastest and most secure biometric method. Developed by Hitachi, it verifies a person's identity based on the lattice work of minute blood vessels under the skin.


Monday, November 10, 2008

Honda shows wearable device that helps you walk


Imagine a bicycle seat connected by mechanical frames to a pair of shoes for an idea of how the new wearable assisted-walking gadget from Honda works.

The experimental device, unveiled Friday, is designed to support bodyweight, reduce stress on the knees and help people get up steps and stay in crouching positions.

Honda envisions the device being used by workers at auto or other factories. It showed a video of Honda employees wearing the device and bending to peer underneath vehicles on an assembly line.

Engineer Jun Ashihara also said the machine is useful for people standing in long lines and for people who run around to make deliveries.

“This should be as easy to use as a bicycle,” Ashihara said at Honda’s Tokyo headquarters. “It reduces stress, and you should feel less tired.”

Read on at Japan Today.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Japanese researchers make brain tissues from stem cells

The cerebral cortex created with embryonic stem cells is pictured under a fluorescent microscope at 40 times magnification, in this photograph provided by Riken.

Japanese researchers have succeeded in creating a cerebral cortex, the part of the brain involved in thinking and motion, from embryonic stem cells, providing hope for future treatment of brain-related diseases.

The process using embryonic stem cells, which can change into various other types of cells, was successfully carried out by Yoshiki Sasai and Mototsugu Eiraku, of the Riken Center for Developmental Biology in Kobe.

The cortex remained undeveloped, equivalent to that of a fetus, but it's the first time that researchers have ever created brain tissue involving different cell types, rather than single brain cells.

Researchers hope that the process will shed light on the how illnesses like Alzheimer's disease work and how they can be cured, as well as leading to treatments to lessen the aftereffects of strokes.

continue reading at mainichi.jp

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Tomy unveils world's tiniest, thumb-sized walking robot

Tomy unveils world's tiniest, thumb-sized walking robot
Toymaker Tomy Co unveiled Saturday the world’s tiniest, thumb-sized walking robot that will debut in Japan next spring. The two-legged toy, dubbed ‘‘Robo-Q,’’ is only 3.4 centimeters high, but its artificial intelligence can detect obstacles and navigate through a maze using built in infrared sensors. Using a controller, it can also play games like soccer.

Robo-Q is being displayed at a three-day exhibition in Yokohama through Monday, where more than 100 different types of robots are being showcased by a total of 43 companies, universities and organizations, including Honda Motor Co and Fujitsu Ltd. ‘‘It just looks like a clump, but it’s impressive that so many functions are built into that thing,’’ Kazuhiko Oda, 55, from Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture, said after watching an exhibition of Robo-Q at the Robo Japan 2008. Robo-Q comes in four colors and will be sold in Japan from around February for 3,500 yen excluding tax. The robot is expected to be sold in other Asian countries soon afterwards and in the United States and Europe at an unspecified date, Tomy officials said.


Monday, July 21, 2008

Electronic display instantly identifies customer's sex, age range


NEC Corp says it has developed a new plasma display that can instantly identify people’s sex or age range and target them with advertisements to suit them. The 50-inch (127-cm) display is being demonstrated at an annual festival in Tokyo run by Fuji Television network. The event, which runs through Aug 31, drew more than four million visitors last summer.

A camera on top of the display recognizes on-the-spot the age and sex of viewers who are standing in front of it.

If the device finds viewers are predominantly female in their 20s, it will show cute miscellaneous items sold by Fuji Television for young women or an NEC cell phone designed for the demographic.

“Conventional advertisements may show cell phones for young women to men over 60,” said Hiroshi Takahashi at NEC’s solution business promotion division.

“Changing advertising products in accordance with the viewer would bring advertising closer to the purchaser,” he said.

The system is presented as entertainment at the Fuji event, with visitors knowing they are being watched, Takahashi said.

But the system is seen as having growth potential as companies struggle to win the attention of customers who are increasingly bombarded by advertisements throughout the day.

Those who are interested in what is being advertised can hold their cell phones over a special device, which feeds them a URL link, coupons and other information on the products.

Advertisers can tell whether the promotion has been effective by checking whether viewers visited their stores or made purchases.


Saturday, July 12, 2008

Matsushita Electric develops new lighting device

OSAKA —Matsushita Electric Works Ltd said Tuesday it has developed the world’s first device that can emit light efficiently without harmful mercury and a gas-discharging process used for conventional fluorescent lamps. Theoretically, the new light would be 50% brighter than a conventional fluorescent lamp while consuming the same amount of electricity, the company said.

Read other half of article at JapanToday.

Pioneer Develops World's First 16-Layer Optical Disc; Big Step Toward Future Large-Capacity Archive System

Tokyo, July 7, 2008 - (JCN Newswire) - Pioneer Corporation has succeeded in developing a 16-layer read-only optical disc with a capacity of 400 gigabytes for the first time in the world*. Its per-layer capacity is 25 gigabytes, which is the same as that of a Blu-ray Disc (BD). This multilayer technology will also be applicable to multilayer recordable discs. This development has bolstered Pioneer's confidence in the feasibility of a large-capacity optical disc, which is expected to become necessary in the near future.

Read on at JCN.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Nissan charged up on electric vehicles as the company's zero-emissions strategy (EV's YAY!)

TOKYO —Nissan is rapidly forging deals with cities and governments on electric vehicles as soaring gas prices and worries about global warming make the green technology surprisingly appealing, a senior executive said Wednesday.

While other car manufacturers are concentrating on fuel cells and hybrids, Tokyo-based Nissan Motor Co is going all out on electric vehicles, promising to mass-market the emissions-free cars globally in 2012, with the first models arriving in Japan and the U.S. in 2010.

“We are feeling more strongly than ever that we must speed up our development of electric vehicles,” said Nissan Senior Vice President Minoru Shinohara.

Continue reading at JapanToday.

Honda's All-New 2009 Acura TL to Debut This Fall

Torrance, Ca., July 11, 2008 (JCN) - Honda's all-new, completely redesigned 2009 Acura TL employs dramatic new styling along with a luxurious interior that includes more driver relevant technology than ever.

Featuring the most powerful Acura engine ever, the 2009 TL will be available in two distinctive versions including the first ever application of Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (TM) on TL. Available in the fall of 2008, the new TL will deliver a driving experience that achieves new highs within the performance luxury sedan category.

Acura offers a full line of technologically advanced performance luxury vehicles through a network of 270 dealers within the United States. The Acura lineup features five distinctive models including the RL luxury performance sedan, the TL performance luxury sedan, the TSX sports sedan, the turbocharged RDX luxury crossover SUV and the award-winning MDX luxury sport utility vehicle.


Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Showa Shell to build big solar power panel plant

TOKYO —Showa Shell Sekiyu KK is planning to set up one of the world’s biggest factories for manufacturing solar power generation panels in 2011 at a cost of about 100 billion yen, sources familiar with the matter said Wednesday.

The combined power generation capacity of solar panels produced in a year at the factory would be as large as 1,000 megawatts, which matches that of a nuclear reactor, they said.


A prototype video camera able to take 360 degree vertical videos from Olympus

"The Future Creation Laboratory of Olympus Corp announced that it developed a lens capable of shooting omnidirectional images and prototyped a CCD camera incorporating the lens."

Continue reading at TechOn!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Panasonic's Projectors Show Images on Curved Surfaces

Matsushita Electric Industrial Co Ltd developed two types of business-oriented projectors that can output images on curved surfaces and demonstrated them at Infocomm08, an audio-visual exhibition that took place in Las Vegas from June 18 to 20, 2008.

Continue reading at TechOn!

Sony Ericsson Wins Greenest Electronics Company Award

Gizmodo reports...

"Congratulations, Sony Ericsson, for winning what was ultimately a barely challenging competition to become the greenest electronics company around. Our favorite Swedish-Japanese conglomerate rose to the top of Greenpeace's Greener Electronics Guide by exceeding Energy Star requirements, making all its models PVC-free and banning the most harmful chemicals from phones launched since January 2008. Unfortunately, it was valedictorian in a class whose scores have plummeted all around."

Continue reading at Gizmodo.com

Fuji Heavy Develops Electric Car Based on K-car 'Stella'

Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd announced that it had developed "Plug-in Stella Concept," an electric vehicle (EV) based on its "Stella" K-car.

Continue reading at TechOn!

Japanese companies work together on CCS

TOKYO (Reuters) - A grouping of 24 Japanese firms, mainly utilities and energy companies, will work with government on feasibility studies for carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects, an official said on Monday.

"We now have a firm that brings together all the technologies in this field," Toshihiro Mitsuhashi, who handles environmental policies for Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), told reporters.

Continue reading this article at Reuters.com

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Nintendo DS game console helps spur interest in English in Japan classrooms

TOKYO —The Nintendo DS isn’t just fun and games anymore for English students at Tokyo’s Joshi Gakuen all-girls junior high school. The portable video game console is now being used as a key teaching tool, breaking with traditional Japanese academic methods.

Continue reading at Japantoday.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Honda begins production of hydrogen-powered FCX Clarity in Japan

The Vancouver Sun is reporting that...

"The new Honda FCX Clarity, a zero-emissions hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicle, has begun production at the world's first dedicated fuel cell vehicle manufacturing facility in Japan, according to Honda.

The Clarity is powered by an electric motor that runs on energy generated in the new V Flow fuel cell platform. The vehicle has a range of 450 kilometres and emits only water."

Read full article at Canada.com

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."


NTT Docomo tests eye-controlled 'wearable' gadgets

Read about this futuristic gadget from NTT Docomo at CNN.com

Sony counting on core devices, video content services to win back electronic leadership

TOKYO —Sony Corp on Thursday unveiled its mid-term corporate strategy through fiscal year 2010 with a pledge to focus on realizing profitability in TV and game businesses by investing more resources into its core devices and mobilizing video content services through its online network. As potentially profitable markets, the group will bring more products and content services to BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China).

Read full article By Taro Fujimoto at JapanToday.

NEC to buy U.S. software firm for $300 mln

TOKYO, June 27 (Reuters) - Japan's NEC Corp (6701.T: Quote, Profile, Research), faced with a slow-growing home market, will acquire U.S. software company NetCracker Technology Corp for about $300 million to expand its overseas IT systems and network operations.

Read full article at Reuters

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Sharp Tops in 'Quality' of Solar Cell Patents in Japan

Read article by Mami Akasaka at TechOn!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Mazda to Improve Average Fuel Efficiency by 30% by 2015

Mazda Motor Corp announced its specific plans to reduce CO2 emissions in the fields of powertrains, vehicle bodies, plants and others.

Read full article by Saeko Kushitani, Nikkei Automotive Technology TechOn!

Toshiba Releases Laptops with Cell-based 'SpursEngine'

Read full article by Yukiko Kanoh, Nikkei Electronics @ TechOn!

Suzuki's Fuel-cell Car Certified by Japan's Gov't

Suzuki "SX4-FCV" fuel-cell vehicle

Suzuki Motor Corp has announced that it developed the "SX4-FCV" fuel-cell vehicle based on its "SX4" compact car and had it certified by Japan's Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT).

Read full article by Saeko Kushitani, Nikkei Automotive Technology at TechOn!

Panasonic adds new compact, ultra-mobile PC to popular Toughbook series

TOKYO —Panasonic’s latest PC offering is small enough to cradle in one hand, yet strong enough to handle the rough and tumble of extreme environments.

Read full article @ JapanToday

Oki Electric recycles waste cooking oil as truck fuel

TOKYO — Oki Electric Industry Co said Tuesday it has been recycling waste cooking oil from a cafeteria at its office in Tokyo’s Hachioji as biodiesel fuel for trucks for its logistics operations since April.

Project Transportation Co, a partner of Oki Logistics Co, has signed an agreement with G.O. Food Service Co, an operator of cafeterias for Oki employees, to buy waste oil from the cafeteria and refine it into biodiesel fuel for trucks, Oki said.


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

SoftBank Announces Price Plans for 'iPhone 3G'

SoftBank Mobile Corp announced June 23, 2008, its price plans for the "iPhone 3G" handsets to be launched on July 11.

Read all the details by Tatsurou Hokugou, Nikkei Electronics @ TechOn!

JAL to conduct biofuel test flights

TOKYO —Japan Airlines Corp said Monday it will conduct test flights using biofuel later in the current fiscal year in cooperation with such concerns as U.S. aircraft maker Boeing Co. The first test of its kind in Asia will involve a Boeing 747-300 with one of its four engines powered with a mix of biofuel and conventional aviation fuel, JAL said.

While the remaining three engines will run on conventional fuel, the tests will check whether the aircraft can fly normally. The biofuel for the test will be made from nonfood plants such as algae, now that production of biofuels made from corn and other food materials is being blamed for food shortages.


Matsushita to Further Promote CO2 Emission Cuts

Osaka, June 24, 2008 (Jiji Press) - Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. <6752> said Tuesday the company aims to cut its group's carbon dioxide emissions in fiscal 2008 by 110,000 tons from the fiscal 2006 level to 3.87 million tons.

In fiscal 2007 that ended in March this year, the Matsushita group's CO2 emissions totaled 3.97 million tons, down 10,000 tons from fiscal 2006.

The electronics giant set up a special task force for promoting CO2 emission cuts in April and plans to introduce devices that can determine amounts of CO2 emissions at all group companies.

Matsushita hopes to reduce the group's CO2 emissions in fiscal 2010 to the fiscal 2000 level of 3.6 million tons.


Monday, June 23, 2008

Sakai City, Kansai Electric and Sharp Announce Mega Solar Power Generation Plan on Sakai City Waterfront

Osaka, June 23, 2008 - (JCN Newswire) - Sakai City, Kansai Electric Power Co., Inc. (Kansai Electric), and Sharp Corporation today agreed to cooperate on the Sakai City Waterfront Mega Solar Power Generation Plan in Osaka Prefecture, Japan.

Read on at JCN

Softbank to sell iPhone for $215 in Japan

TOKYO (AP) — Softbank Corp., the carrier that won the coveted right to sell the iPhone in Japan, said Monday that Apple Inc.'s device will sell for $215 — comparable to the marked-down U.S. price for the hit gadget.

Read full article @ AP

Softbank To Charge Lower Web-Browsing Fee On Apple's iPhone

TOKYO -(Dow Jones)- Softbank Corp.'s (9984.TO) mobile telephone unit said Monday it will start selling Apple Inc.'s (AAPL) iPhone 3G handsets in Japan at prices in line with those of the U.S. models but with lower Web-browsing charges than already available smart phones in Japan.

Read full article at CNN

The i MiEV for fleet monitoring

The i MiEV for fleet monitoring

The i MiEV for fleet monitoring

Picture from TechOn!

Unusual Cars from Mitsuoka Motors Japan

Shiotsu is reporting that in Japan we can find many strange looking customized cars. Mitsuoka Motors is famous for creating such unusual cars with their slogan ‘A small factory with a big dream’. Mitsuoka Orochi is one of them which is named after a Japanese mythological eight headed snake. Orochi is Japan’s only supercar. This model was first created in 2001 and recently updated for 2007. Mitsuoka will start manufacturing this supercar next year. The eight headed monster on wheels will be priced at around 88,450 US dollars !!

Mitsuoka Orochi


Sony's New Camcorder Takes Photos of Smiling Faces during Video Shooting

The HDR-CX12

Sony Corp will release "HDR-CX12," a compact camcorder whose "Smile Shutter" function detects smiling people and automatically take still photos of them while shooting video.

The camcorder can take still pictures with a resolution of up to 7.6 Mpixels when shooting video. It is also equipped with a function to prioritize smiling child or adult subjects by automatically distinguishing between them.

Read full article by Yukiko Kanoh, Nikkei Electronics @ TechOn!

Mazda Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid Gains Government Approval to Begin Public Road Testing in Japan; Hybrid System Enhances Power by 40 Percent and Doubl

Hiroshima, June 20, 2008 - (JCN Newswire) - Mazda Motor Corporation today received permission from Japan's Ministry of Land Infrastructure and Transport (MLIT) to test the Mazda Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid minivan on public roads. Mazda's newest hydrogen rotary engine vehicle features a hybrid system that increases the vehicle's power by 40 percent and doubles the hydrogen fuel range to 200 kilometers. Mazda aims to complete the road trials and start commercial leasing in Japan during fiscal year 2008. The Mazda Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid is the world's first hydrogen hybrid car with a dual-fuel system that enables the car to run on either hydrogen or gasoline.

Read full article at JCN

Fujitsu Wins Major Server, Storage Order from China Mobile Communications; Building 24 x 7 Support Infrastructure Covering All of Mainland China

Shanghai, June 23, 2008 - (ACN Newswire) - Fujitsu (China) Holdings Co., Ltd. today announced that China Mobile Communications Corporation, the country's largest mobile phone carrier, has selected Fujitsu's SPARC Enterprise UNIX servers, ETERNUS storage equipment, and PRIMECLUSTER middleware for its core information system, which is to be deployed in all 31 provinces, cities, and autonomous regions in mainland China. Fujitsu will also set up 24 x 7 maintenance support sites across mainland China and dispatch personnel and supply maintenance components to the sites as part of a support network to keep the system running smoothly.

Read full article at JCN

Panasonic Accelerates Environmental Initiatives in China with Higher Targets; Progress Report on 'China Eco Project' for FY2008

Osaka, June 19, 2008 - (JCN Newswire) - Panasonic, the leading brand by which Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. is best known, today announced its environmental performance in China for the business year ended March 2008 (fiscal year 2008). Since April 2007, Panasonic Group has been carrying out the three-year "China Eco Project" aiming to make Panasonic China, Panasonic's subsidiary company of Matsushita Electric in China, the top company in environmental contributions. After achieving better-than-expected results in many areas during the first year of the plan, the company has set higher goals for FY2009 onwards to accelerate its efforts in environmental protection in the country.

Read full article at JCN

Mazda to Cut Vehicle Fuel Consumption 30 Percent by 2015

Hiroshima, June 23, 2008 - (JCN Newswire) - Mazda Motor Corporation has announced that it is setting its sights on reducing the fuel consumption of Mazda vehicles sold globally by an average 30 percent by 2015. This determined commitment will entail a holistic approach which includes using lightweight technologies, the upgrade of almost all of Mazda's gasoline engines, introducing a Smart Idle Stop System, a new gasoline rotary engine and new diesel engines worldwide. By 2015, Mazda will have renewed almost its entire powertrain lineup and, from 2011, through steadily developing safe, lightweight, new generation platforms aims to reduce the weight of its new vehicles by 100 kilograms or more.

Read more about this at JCN

Nissan's Remodeled Teana Sedan Gets Off to Strong Start

Tokyo, June 23, 2008 (Jiji Press) - Nissan Motor Co. <7201> said Monday that orders for its fully remodeled Teana luxury sedan came to 5,034 units in some three weeks after its release on June 2.

The figure is more than five times the Japanese automaker's monthly sales target of 1,000 units.

Consumers aged 60 or older accounted for 50.2 pct of the overall sales, Nissan said.

Nissan aims to sell 20,000 units of the Teana by the end of March 2009. It sells the 3,500-c.c. high-end model for 3,948,000 yen and 2,500-c.c. versions at prices ranging from 2,467,500 yen to 3,265,500 yen.


Panasonic introduces world's 1st 6x write-once Blu-ray disc media

OSAKA —Panasonic says it has developed the world’s first write-once Blu-ray discs (BD-R) with 6X writing speed. The new discs will be available in Japan with both 25GB and 50GB capacities in this July.

Panasonic, which introduced the world’s first dual-layer 1X BD-RE Blu-ray Disc in 2004, 2X BD-R/RE discs in 2006, and 4X BD-R disc in 2007, is now launching the world’s first 6X BD-R to meet consumer demand to write and read large amounts of data at a higher speed. The new 6X discs have a maximum data transfer speed of 216 mbps, which is 20% faster than that of 16X DVD-R discs. This transfer speed, along with the discs’ high capacity, allows consumers to use these discs for a variety of applications such as storing high definition video or backing up PC data.

The new discs have a wide power margin at any writing speeds from 1X to 6X. This enables high-quality recording, even if the drive’s laser power fluctuates, resulting in greater overall drive compatibility.


Kansai Electric to assist solar power generation for Sharp plant

OSAKA —Kansai Electric Power Co will help operate Sharp Corp’s new large liquid crystal display panel plant in Osaka to be powered with solar panels, company sources said Monday.

The agreement, to be announced later in the day, will mark a full-fledged entry into the solar power generation business by the Osaka-based electric utility and see Kansai Electric set up a new solar power station near the Sharp plant, according to the sources. Sharp’s new LCD panel plant is now under construction on the coastal area of Sakai, Osaka Prefecture. The electronics maker plans to install solar panels on the plant’s rooftop to supply energy necessary for factory operations.


Friday, June 20, 2008

Fujitsu Develops Millimeter-Band Transmitter Capable of Data Transmission Speeds Exceeding 10 Gbps

Kawasaki and Tokyo, Japan, June 19, 2008 - (JCN Newswire) - Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd. and Fujitsu Limited announced today, as a world's first, the development of a transmitter operating in the 70-100 GHz band using impulse radio[1] that is capable of transmitting data at speeds of more than 10 gigabits per second. This new development eliminates the need for oscillators and other hardware that had been required for use of earlier millimeter-band transmitters, thus enabling a smaller millimeter-band transmitter. As a substitute for fiber-optic high-speed lines, the new transmitter could be used in wide range of applications geared to help bridge the digital divide[2], including for platform networks and short-range wireless LANs.

Continue reading article at JCN

Mazda Hydrogen Vehicle Starts Road Test

Hiroshima, June 20, 2008 (Jiji Press) - Mazda Motor Corp. <7261> on Friday started public road testing of a new hydrogen-powered minivan.

The automaker aims to begin commercial leasing of the Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid by the end of next March, targeting mainly government and other public offices.

The vehicle has a hydrogen rotary engine as well as an electric motor. In addition, it features a hybrid system in which energy gained from burning hydrogen is used to drive the motor.

The hybrid system allows the vehicle's hydrogen fuel range to reach 200 kilometers, double that of an existing hydrogen vehicle. When used together with gasoline, the range can be extended to 550 kilometers.

The vehicle enables the company to use existing production lines and to curb costs, an official in charge of development said, referring to an advantage at a time when automakers are racing to develop fuel-efficient, environment-friendly vehicles amid soaring oil prices.


NEC Electronics, Elpida Team Up on Display Driver Chips

Tokyo, June 20, 2008 (Jiji Press) - NEC Electronics Corp. <6723> and Elpida Memory Inc. <6665> said Friday they will set up a joint company in December to develop and sell display driver integrated circuit chips.

The unit, whose capital size is still undecided, will be owned 80 pct by NEC Electronics and 20 pct by Elpida, according to the parent firms.

The two chipmakers intend to combine their technologies to improve competition with rivals and to cut costs by outsourcing production to Elpida's advanced chip fabrication plant in Hiroshima Prefecture, they said.

NEC Electronics has a 13 pct share of the global market for display driver ICs, which are used to drive liquid crystal display and plasma display panels, with annual sales amounting to some 80 billion yen.
Elpida is Japan's sole producer of dynamic random access memory chips and has expressed its intention to start manufacturing system-on-chip products for sale under other brands.


Sekisui House Announces the Zero Emission House

Tokyo, June 18, 2008 - (JCN Newswire) - In conjunction with the Hokkaido Toyako Summit (July 7-9, 2008) Sekisui House announces Japan's cutting edge prefabricated housing and environmental technology to the world: The Zero Emission House. The Hokkaido Toyako Summit, (The G8 Summit) being hosted by Japan, will be held over three days from Monday July 7 to Wednesday July 9, 2008 at the town of Toyako in Hokkaido, and will focus mainly on global warming prevention measures.

Continue reading article at JCN.

Toshiba signs nuclear cooperation pact with Kazakhstan's Kazatomprom

TOKYO —Toshiba Corp said Friday the Japanese nuclear plant builder and Kazakhstan’s state-run atomic company Kazatomprom have signed a memorandum promoting their nuclear energy cooperation.

The two will consider their cooperation using beryllium, tantalum and other materials for nuclear power plants, manufacturing nuclear plant components and developing supply chains for such plants, Toshiba said. Toshiba has also invited the Kazakh firm to invest in Westinghouse Electric Co, a U.S. nuclear reactor builder that Toshiba has acquired.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Sony develops green flat-panel TV to woo ecological consumers

TOKYO —Sony’s new flat-panel TV consumes less energy than comparable regular models without compromising image quality—the latest in Japanese manufacturers’ efforts to woo buyers with green products.

Full article at JapanToday.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Japan, EU to work together on new energy development

TOKYO —Japan and the European Union agreed Monday to cooperate in the development of new energy technologies as part of their efforts to address climate change, Japanese officials said. Industry minister Akira Amari and Janez Potocnik, EU commissioner for science and research, agreed during talks in Tokyo to reinforce cooperation between Japan and EU energy research institutions and organize a joint workshop in Japan early next year.It is the first time that Japan has formed an international partnership based on the country’s technology road map to aim for a 50% cut in global carbon dioxide emissions from current levels by 2050, the officials said. The road map, released in March, identified 21 emerging technologies, including near-zero emission coal-fired power plants, fuel cell vehicles and carbon capture storage, as promising in trying to address global warming.


Sony develops green flat-panel TV to woo ecological consumers

TOKYO —Sony’s new flat-panel TV consumes less energy than comparable regular models without compromising image quality—the latest in Japanese manufacturers’ efforts to woo buyers with green products.

Full article at JapanToday.

Mitsubishi, Peugeot to Join in Electric Vehicle Business

Tokyo, June 17, 2008 (Jiji Press) - Japan's Mitsubishi Motors Corp. <7211> and French automaker PSA Peugeot Citroen said Tuesday they have agreed to study their cooperation in development and production of electric power trains.

The autoamakers said they will work out details over the next several months. They are to consider providing motors and lithium-ion batteries for the i MiEV electric vehicle to be launched by Mitsubishi Motors in Japan in 2009.

The announcement came at a time when Mitsubishi and Peugeot are building an automobile plant in Russia.

Separately, Mitsubishi Motors plans to mass-produce lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles and other applications at a joint venture with GS Yuasa Corp. <6674> and Mitsubishi Corp. <8058>.


Monday, June 16, 2008

Sanyo May Develop Lithium-Ion Batteries with Ford and Honda Motor

Tokyo, June 17, 2008 (Jiji Press) - Sanyo Electric Co. <6764> may jointly develop lithium-ion batteries for next-generation hybrid vehicles with Honda Motor Co. <7267> and Ford Motor Co., Sanyo President Seiichiro Sano has said.

In a recent interview, Sano said Sanyo may develop such batteries jointly with Honda and Ford if the products serve the needs of the Japanese and U.S. automakers.

Sanyo recently agreed on joint lithium-ion battery development with German automaker Volkswagen AG. The Japanese firm currently supplies nickel-metal hydride batteries to Honda and Ford for vehicles sold in the North American market.

Sanyo will have to team up with a wide range of Japanese and foreign automakers to achieve its target of raising its share of the global lithium-ion battery market to at least 40 pct by 2015, the president said.

Asked about another company goal, doubling overseas sales at its solar cell business, Sano said Sanyo has already started personnel training and other tie-ups with academic and other institutes in Hungary, where it has a key manufacturing base.

Sanyo may consider joint development projects, but any such moves may come after the Hungarian tie-ups produce concrete results, he said.

The firm's white goods business is in a severe situation, but the division will become profitable if necessary steps in selection and concentration are taken and its product planning capability is enhanced, Sano said.


Saturday, June 14, 2008

Toyota Picks Up Strong Orders for Alphard, Vellfire

Tokyo, June 13, 2008 (Jiji Press) - Toyota Motor Corp. <7203> said Friday it has received about 36,000 purchase orders for its new luxury minivans, the Alphard and the Vellfire, one month after their debut on May 12.

The total is six times more than the joint monthly sales target of 6,000 units.

The models' luxurious interiors and high fuel efficiency seem to be attracting buyers in their 30s and 40s, Toyota said.

There were around 16,000 orders for the Alphard and about 20,000 for the Vellfire.


Friday, June 13, 2008

Japanese invent car that runs only on water

TOKYO (Reuters Life!) - Tired of petrol prices rising daily at the pump? A Japanese company has invented an electric-powered, and environmentally friendly, car that it says runs solely on water.

Genepax unveiled the car in the western city of Osaka on Thursday, saying that a liter (2.1 pints) of any kind of water -- rain, river or sea -- was all you needed to get the engine going for about an hour at a speed of 80 km (50 miles).

"The car will continue to run as long as you have a bottle of water to top up from time to time," Genepax CEO Kiyoshi Hirasawa told local broadcaster TV Tokyo.

"It does not require you to build up an infrastructure to recharge your batteries, which is usually the case for most electric cars," he added.

Once the water is poured into the tank at the back of the car, the a generator breaks it down and uses it to create electrical power, TV Tokyo said.

Whether the car makes it into showrooms remains to be seen. Genepax said it had just applied for a patent and is hoping to collaborate with Japanese auto manufacturers in the future.

Most big automakers, meanwhile, are working on fuel-cell cars that run on hydrogen and emit -- not consume -- water.

Yahoo News.

Mazda Commences Development of Non-Food-Based Bioplastic; 'Mazda Bioplastic Project' is Industry-academia-government Collaboration Aiming to Use the N

Hiroshima, June 13, 2008 - (JCN Newswire) - Mazda Motor Corporation today signed a collaborative research agreement with Hiroshima University to launch the "Mazda Bioplastic Project." The project aim is to develop a bioplastic from non-food-based cellulosic biomass and have it ready for use in vehicles by 2013.

Continue reading article at JCN.

Honda's Freed Orders Top 10,000 Units in 2 Weeks

Tokyo, June 13, 2008 (Jiji Press) - Honda Motor Corp. <7267> said Friday that cumulative orders for the Freed, its new 1,500-c.c. minivan, reached 10,000 units two weeks after its release on May 30.

The brisk initial sales are 2.5-fold more than the model's monthly sales target of 4,000 units.

Honda said the Freed has won popularity thanks to its large interior, compact body size, and the high-quality designs of both its interior and exterior.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Epson Toyocom Develops "Thinnest" kHz-band Crystal Unit

Epson Toyocom Corp has succeeded in commercially developing a new tuning-fork crystal unit. Said to be the world's thinnest kHz-band crystal unit, the FC-13E, has a maximum thickness of just 0.48mm.

Leveraging on the company's QMEMS technology and capitalizing on its proprietary packaging technology, the company is able to produce an ultra-miniature tuning-fork crystal chip. The material thickness of the package has been optimized, and the package is hermetically sealed with a gold-tin alloy.

The crystal unit is approximately 20% thinner than the company's previous offering, which has a maximum thickness of 0.6mm. By trimming the maximum thickness down to 0.48mm from 0.6mm, the company enables the realization of secure, thin smart cards equipped with a time management function. Frequency tolerance, an indicator of accuracy, is ±100 x 10-6. The FC-13E is EU RoHS compliant, and will enter volume production this month (June 2008).


Toyota's Green Plan: Li-ion Battery Production to Begin in 2009

Toyota Motor Corp announced its action plan for contributing to a low carbon society at the "Toyota Environmental Forum," which took place June 11, 2008. The plan proposes initiatives in the areas of "research and development," "manufacturing" and "social contribution."

In the research and development area, Toyota announced efforts aimed at reducing oil consumption and promoting the adaptation of vehicles to energy diversification. Toward the commercialization and mass-production of plug-in hybrids and small electric vehicles, Panasonic EV Energy Co Ltd will start production of Li-ion secondary batteries at a small volume in 2009 and volume production in earnest in 2010.

Moreover, Toyota will set up a "battery research department" in late June 2008 in an effort to research and develop a next-generation battery that can outperform a Li-ion secondary battery.

In the powertrain segment, average fuel efficiency for new Toyota vehicles sold in Japan rose by approximately 28% in the 10 years from 1997 to 2007, Toyota said. By the end of 2010, Toyota will complete the transition to a new series of highly efficient engines and transmissions.

As for gasoline engines, Toyota will introduce new 1.3 and 2.5-liter engines in 2008. The 1.3-liter engine employs the newly developed "Stop & Start System," an idling stop function. Toyota will complete revamping its engine lineup with the introduction of these two new engines.

As for transmissions, Toyota will introduce a highly efficient compact six-speed manual transmission in the fall of 2008, while advancing multi-stage automatic transmissions and CVTs.

In the field of alternative fuels, Toyota is currently conducting joint research with Nippon Oil Corp on bio-hydrofined diesel with improved oxidative stability and performance equivalent to that of conventional diesel, while advancing research on a biofuel (cellulosic ethanol) that can both avert competition with the food supply and ensure a stable supply.

Furthermore, Toyota is researching a bio liquefied fuel, which is derived from synthesizing gas made from all types of biomass including cellulose as well.

In the manufacturing area, Toyota is currently reducing CO2 emissions from its production activities, based on its "Fourth Toyota Environmental Action Plan" for fiscal 2006 to 2010. The company has, however, set new targets and strengthened its approach as it has already achieved its original 2010 targets.

Saeko Kushitani, Nikkei Automotive Technology


Sony Develops Back-illuminated CMOS Image Sensor, Realizing High Picture Quality, Nearly Twofold Sensitivity and Low Noise

Tokyo, June 11, 2008 - (JCN Newswire) - Sony Corporation today announced the development of a back-illuminated CMOS image sensor (pixel size: 1.75 micrometer square pixels, five effective mega pixels, 60 frames/s) with significantly enhanced imaging characteristics, including nearly twofold sensitivity[1] and low noise. This improved performance has been achieved by illuminating the backside of the silicon substrate, in contrast to conventional CMOS image sensors based on front-illumination technology.

Continue reading article at JCN.

Sharp Passes 10-Million Mark for One-Seg Mobile Phone Shipments

Sharp Logo
Tokyo, June 12, 2008 - (JCN Newswire) - In late May 2008, Sharp passed the 10-million mark for shipments of One-Seg-compatible mobile phones in Japan. One-Seg is a terrestrial digital broadcasting service for mobile devices in Japan. In the two years since the release of its first One-Seg mobile phone in May 2006, Sharp has become the first in the industry[1] to reach 10 million shipments of One-Seg mobile phones.

In addition to making it easy to enjoy TV programs on the go, One-Seg mobile phones feature the vivid clarity of digital broadcasting and the convenience of data broadcasts and an EPG (electronic program guide). These mobile phones have succeeded in penetrating deep into markets, with shipments topping 30 million units industry-wide as of April 2008[2].

Sharp's first One-Seg mobile phone had a 'cycloid-style' LCD screen that could be rotated horizontally 90 degrees. This offered a unique way of enjoying TV on a mobile phone that was a big hit with consumers. Sharp has also made it possible to display clear, vivid high-quality images by equipping its mobile phones with the Mobile Advanced Super View LCD, based on based on LCD technology cultivated through the development of AQUOS LCD TVs, and the SV (Super Vivid) Engine, which reproduces beautiful colors and sharply defined outlines.

In the spring of 2007 Sharp followed up the cycloid-style model with the release of variously designed mobile phones, including dual-hinged[3] and slider[4] designs. Knowing that user needs diversify with rising demand, shipments of One-Seg phones have increased from a total of five million (as of the end of October 2007) to 10 million in a mere seven months.

Sharp will continue to create new demand by developing and marketing mobile phone products that anticipate a wide range of user needs.

[1] For One-Seg-compatible mobile phones as of June 12, 2008.
[2] JEITA (Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association) published data.
[3] Clam-shell mobile phones with hinges that allow the LCD screen to face different directions.
[4] Mobile phones with a sliding display section that allows the operating section to be pulled out from underneath.

* AQUOS, cycloid style, and SV Engine are all registered trademarks or trademarks of Sharp Corporation.


Sharp to Introduce World's Largest 108-Inch LCD Monitor for Commercial Applications; Now Accepting Orders

Sharp Logo
Tokyo, June 13, 2008 - (JCN Newswire) - Sharp Corporation will introduce into the Japanese market a 108V-inch LCD monitor, the world's largest*, for business and commercial applications. This monitor will be delivered to the Shinjuku Piccadilly cinema complex (Shochiku Co. Ltd.), one of Tokyo's premier multiplex movie theaters, which is set to open July 19, 2008. In the future, Sharp will mount a full-fledged effort to accept orders for this model and plans to expand sales to the global marketplace.

This unit features a widescreen 108V-inch Advanced Super View LCD panel, the maximum size that a single 8th-generation glass substrate (2,160 x 2,460 mm) manufactured at Kameyama Plant No. 2 can yield. The large display area is nearly equivalent in size to two tatami mats (approx. 3.2 m2) and can convey images to many people in wide interior spaces. Plus, a rich assortment of inputs, including HDMI and DVI-I connectors, provides greater connectivity with a wide variety of equipment and devices, and a fan-less design that minimizes noise and intake of dust from outside air further improves its level of technical sophistication as a commercial display.

The Shinjuku Piccadilly, where this monitor will be installed, will be one of Tokyo's premiere multiplex cinemas, and is being built under the concept of a "pure-white theater" with a predominant design theme of brilliant, immaculate "white." The entrance lobby features a huge open-ceiling foyer extending from the 1st floor through to the 3rd floor, and this 108V-inch LCD monitor will be set up in the center of the third-floor main lobby facing this open foyer. This setting will take maximum advantage of the outstanding features of the LCD, including wide viewing angles and high contrast even in bright locations. This impressive monitor will be showing vivid, vibrant video images such as movie trailers and advertising movie in the bright lobby befitting the name "pure-white theater" where exterior light streams in through large windows.

In the future, Sharp will contribute to creating new styles of doing business and making better presentations in gallery and public spaces which will take advantage of the wide variety of business/commercial LCD monitors we offer, including this 108V-inch model which we consider our flagship LCD monitor for commercial applications, as well as information displays with screen sizes from 37V to 65V inches, 4-inch electronic POP displays, and 2-inch electronic shelf labels.

Product name               LCD monitor
Model name                 LB-1085
Suggested retail price Open (build-to-order product)

Major Features
1. 108V-inch LCD Monitor, the world's largest, for commercial/business applications, based on an LCD panel manufactured at Kameyama Plant No. 2.

2. Rich assortment of inputs needed for connectivity to peripheral equipment and devices, including personal computers and a wide variety of audio/visual equipment

3. Low-noise, fan-less design and high durability to handle round-the-clock continuous operation.

* As of June 13, 2008, for commercially available, direct-view LCD monitors.


Sumitomo Electric Develops Superconducting Motor Vehicle

Tokyo, June 12, 2008 (Jiji Press) - Sumitomo Electric Industries Ltd. <5802> Thursday unveiled a prototype electric vehicle with a motor that uses superconducting wires.

Superconducting wires, cooled by liquid nitrogen of about minus 200 degrees centigrade, can reduce electrical resistance to almost zero.

The model can run about 13 pct longer than a conventional electric vehicle using a copper wire motor, the company said.

The company hopes to put the vehicle to practical use in 10 years.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Honda to Provide its New Fuel Cell Vehicle, FCX Clarity, and Other Technologies for the Hokkaido Toyako Summit

Tokyo, June 10, 2008 - (JCN Newswire) - Honda Motor Co., Ltd. will provide its new fuel cell vehicle, FCX Clarity, as well as Civic Hybrid and other advanced technologies for the Hokkaido Toyako Summit to be held July 7-9, 2008.

Get more details at JCN.

Toyota Strengthens Initiatives for Low Carbon Society

Toyota Motor Corporation logo
Tokyo, June 11, 2008 - (JCN Newswire) - Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) unveiled today an action plan for contributing to the realization of a low carbon society through initiatives in the areas of research and development, manufacturing and social contribution.

"Since its foundation, Toyota has conducted its business based on the guiding principle of contributing to the development of a prosperous society through the manufacture of automobiles", said TMC President Katsuaki Watanabe, speaking at the Toyota Environmental Forum in Tokyo, where the action plan was unveiled. "Toyota seeks to combine the power of people and technology to help create a society that maintains a balance between corporate activities and environmental preservation."

Specific TMC plans are described below.

I. Research and Development

Some of the environmental and energy issues surrounding automobiles include reducing CO2 emissions (global warming measures), supporting the use of non-petroleum based sources of energy and improving air quality. TMC aims to help achieve sustainable mobility by using hybrid technology as a core means to reduce oil consumption and promote the adaptation of vehicles to energy diversification.

1. Automobiles

While adapting to energy diversification, TMC will develop vehicles that can simultaneously reduce CO2 emissions and make the air cleaner. It will commercialize such vehicles in line with the energy trends of each market based on its philosophy of introducing the right vehicle, at the right time, in the right place.

2. Packaging

TMC is working on initiatives to reduce vehicle size and weight. The "iQ", which is planned for launch in 2008, offers revolutionary packaging?seating four people in a body less than three meters long.

3. Powertrains

Average fuel efficiency for new Toyota vehicles sold in Japan rose by approximately 28% in the 10 years from 1997 to 2007. By the end of 2010 TMC will complete transition to a new series of highly efficient engines and transmissions.

- Gasoline Engines
TMC will complete revamping its engine lineup, with new 1.3-liter and 2.5-liter engines introduced in 2008. The new 1.3-liter gasoline engine is equipped with the newly developed TOYOTA Stop&Start SYSTEM.

- Diesel Engines
In 2003, TMC introduced clean diesel engines featuring the Diesel Particulate-NOx Reduction system, and, in the fall of 2007, it introduced a new 4.5-liter V8 engine. Cumulative production of diesel engines passed the 20 million mark in February 2008.

- Transmissions
While advancing multi-stage automatic transmissions and continuously variable transmissions, TMC will introduce a highly efficient compact six-speed manual transmission in the fall of 2008.

4. Hybrid Vehicles

Hybrid systems are a core Toyota technology that can contribute to cleaner emissions, lower CO2 emissions and increased fuel efficiency. TMC is actively working to popularize these systems by increasing the number of hybrid models among its vehicle series.

Worldwide cumulative sales of the Prius reached 1 million units this past April and global cumulative sales of hybrid vehicles reached 1.5 million in June 2008. According to TMC's calculations, use of these vehicles has contributed to approximately 7 million fewer tons of CO2 emissions than would have otherwise been generated and has reduced gasoline consumption by approximately 2.7 million kiloliters[1].

- TMC's aim is to achieve hybrid vehicle sales of 1 million vehicles annually as early in the 2010s as possible and to strive for further popularization.
- TMC is working to further reduce the size, weight and cost of motors, inverters, batteries and other hybrid system components.
- In addition to already producing hybrid vehicles in China and the United States, TMC recently decided to produce hybrid vehicles in Thailand and Australia. We intend to continue to expand our overseas hybrid vehicle production efforts.

5. Alternative Fuel Vehicles

- Flexible Fuel Vehicles[2]

- Bio-fuel Flexible Fuel Vehicles
In 2006, TMC adapted all of its vehicles sold worldwide to E10 fuel and in May 2007 introduced flexible-fuel "Corolla" models in Brazil that can run on E100.

TMC will introduce the E85-compatible flexible-fuel Tundra and Sequoia in North America in 2008.

- Electricity (Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles/Electric Vehicles)
Verification tests are currently being conducted in Japan, the United States and Europe, as plug-in hybrid vehicles?which can be used as electric vehicles for short trips and as conventional hybrid vehicles for traveling longer distances?represent the most promising approach.

By 2010, TMC will introduce a plug-in hybrid vehicle equipped with a lithium-ion battery, geared toward fleet customers in Japan, United States and Europe.

TMC plans to accelerate development of small electric vehicles for mass production.

- Battery R&D and Production
TMC will establish in late June 2008 a battery research department to advance the development of an innovative next-generation battery that can outperform a lithium-ion battery.

Panasonic EV Energy Co., Ltd., a joint venture TMC established with the Matsushita Group that is conducting joint research on batteries for use in automobiles, will commence limited production of lithium-ion batteries in 2009, moving into full-scale production in 2010.

- Hydrogen (Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicle or FCHV)
TMC has developed the "TOYOTA FCHV-adv", which features a newly designed high-performance Toyota FC Stack fuel cell. The TOYOTA FCHV-adv received vehicle-type certification from Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport on June 3.

The TOYOTA FCHV-adv features a 25% improvement in fuel efficiency, and, through the use of TMC-developed 70Mpa high-pressure hydrogen storage tanks, has a single-fill-up cruising range of approximately 830 km (in the 10-15 Japan test cycle; 760 km in the JC08 test cycle; as measured by TMC), which is more than twice the cruising range of its predecessor, the TOYOTA FCHV.

The TOYOTA FCHV-adv can be started and operated at ?30 degrees Celsius, greatly improving its cold weather performance. TMC is steadily overcoming the technological hurdles associated with fuel cell vehicles and will focus next on solving problems related to maintaining reliability and reducing costs.

- Alternative Fuel Supplies
TMC's involvement in alternative fuel utilization includes a variety of initiatives aimed at ensuring fuel supplies.

TMC is reinforcing its structure of survey-based global energy analysis by establishing energy research organizations in Japan and the United States.

TMC is conducting research on a cellulosic ethanol that can both avert competition with food supplies and ensure a stable supply. The distinctive feature of TMC's research is the focus on using technologies that involve yeast.

TMC is conducting joint research with Nippon Oil Corporation on high-concentration bio hydrofined diesel (also known as "BHD") as a bio-fuel alternative to petroleum-based diesel. So far, the research has led to vast improvement in the oxidative stability of BHD, enabling the fuel to perform on par with conventional diesel.

TMC is conducting research on biomass-to-liquid (also known as "BTL"), which is derived from synthesizing gas made from all types of biomass, including cellulose.

- Infrastructure and Driver Support
Solving global warming and energy-related issues cannot be accomplished solely through automotive technology; it is essential to address issues throughout society, taking into consideration the actions of drivers and the state of the transport infrastructure. As an automaker, TMC is supporting activities in these areas.
In terms of infrastructural development in Japan, TMC is working with various government ministries to improve traffic flow by reducing traffic congestion. One potential method for accomplishing this is to find practical applications for the Probe Communication Traffic Information System [3].

As one way to support environmentally considerate driving, TMC will increase the number of vehicle series equipped with the Eco Driving Indicator, which lights up when the vehicle is being operated in a fuel-efficient manner, and with the Eco Driving Mode Switch, which puts the vehicle in an energy conserving mode by monitoring and controlling such functions as gear-shift timing and air conditioner settings.

II. Manufacturing

TMC is continuing to actively seek greater environmental responsiveness in its production and logistics through greater reduction of CO2 and further consolidation of environmental management. In addition to existing initiatives, TMC is also strengthening the global implementation of "sustainable plant" initiatives as another means of reducing CO2 emissions.

CO2 Emission Reduction Results and Targets for TMC Production
TMC is reducing CO2 emissions from its production activities, based on its "Fourth Toyota Environmental Action Plan" (2006 to 2010[4]). Because TMC has already achieved its original 2010 targets, it has set new targets and strengthened its approach.

1. 2010 CO2 Emission Reduction Targets, Results and New Targets

Region             Worldwide[5]
Emissions Volume per sales unit
2010 Target 20% reduction from 2001
2007 Results 32% reduction from 2001
New 2010 Target 35% reduction from 2001

Region TMC (Japan)
Emissions Volume per sales unit
2010 Target 35% reduction from 1990
2007 Results 55% reduction from 1990
New 2010 Target 60% reduction from 1990

Region TMC (Japan)
Emissions Volume
2010 Target 20% reduction from 1990
2007 Results 25% reduction from 1990
New 2010 Target 30% reduction from 1990
"Sustainable Plant" Activities
"Sustainable Plant" activities were begun in July 2007 with the aim of emphasizing the role of nature through the creation of production sites that are in harmony with their natural surroundings. TMC is implementing its "Sustainable Plant" activities with the following in mind:

1) Energy reduction through development and implementation of low carbon production technologies and through daily kaizen (improvement) activities
2) Energy conversion using photovoltaic and other renewable energy sources
3) Tree planting for fostering exchanges with local communities and protecting ecosystems

2. Model Plant Initiatives

- Japan

Takaoka Plant
In August 2007, Line No.1 started production after the introduction of innovative production technology.

Tsutsumi Plant
A photovoltaic generation system was introduced in March 2008 that has a rated output of 2,000kW, making it one of the largest photovoltaic power generation systems in use among automobile plants worldwide (as surveyed by TMC).

Also, a project to paint the assembly plant's exterior walls with a photo-catalytic paint is planned for completion by around the summer of 2008.

On May 18, volunteers from the local community and from TMC took part in Japan's largest tree-planting event (as surveyed by TMC), with approximately 50,000 trees planted.

- Overseas

United States
Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Mississippi, Inc. (TMMMS) is expected to begin production?with an innovative production line?in around 2010. TMMMS is also actively promoting tree-planting activities as part of its effort to achieve a harmonious balance between the local community and the environment.

Toyota Motor Manufacturing (UK) Ltd. (TMUK) and Toyota Motor Manufacturing France S.A.S. (TMMF) serve as model plants.

Ban Pho Plant of Toyota Motor Thailand Co., Ltd. in Thailand is Asia's model plant. In addition to its cogeneration system and solar panels, the plant recycles wastewater, employs waterborne metallic paint at vehicle body paint lines and has maintained zero landfill waste since the beginning of its operations. This year in August, as part of its plant "greening" activities, Toyota plans to conduct one of the largest-ever tree-planting events in Thailand, with 10,000 people planting 100,000 trees.

III. Social Contribution

TMC promotes programs for the development of forestry, human resources and the local community in countries and regions throughout the world, believing that community-based initiatives are just as necessary for a sustainable level of environmental preservation as initiatives on the national or international level. TMC will continue to strengthen and enhance its contribution to environmental preservation by sharing the knowledge and experience gained with society at large so that the initiatives can be more widely implemented.

Examples of Key Initiatives

- In 1992 the "Forest of Toyota" initiative was launched in Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture. This initiative includes a number of activities, such as a hands-on nature experience program, forest improvement and maintenance, and research on satoyama (forests and wetlands near populated areas).

- In the year ending March 2001, TMC launched the Toyota Environmental Activities Grant Program, a subsidy program that supports the environmental activities of non-profit private groups and other organizations. The core theme of the program is environmental technology and human resource development that contribute to environmental revitalization and conservation. As of the end of the 2007 fiscal year (in March 2008), TMC granted funding to a total of 140 grant projects, both in Japan and overseas.

- In 2001, desertification prevention projects were begun as part of afforestation efforts in China, in areas affected by overgrazing and excessive cutting down of trees. In addition, TMC launched afforestation programs in 2007 to rejuvenate tropical forests in the Philippines, where forest degradation is a serious issue.

- In 2005, TMC supported the establishment of the Center of Industrial Development and Environmental Governance within the School of Public Policy and Management at Tsinghua University in China.

- The Toyota Shirakawa-Go Eco-Institute in Shirakawa, Gifu Prefecture, which was established in 2005, offers hands-on programs so that people can experience and learn about nature and projects for conserving forests.

- In addition, Toyota foundations and overseas affiliates throughout the world conduct initiatives in a number of areas, centered on providing grants.

[1] Based on TMC calculations
[2] Vehicles that are specially designed to run on either gasoline alone or on a blend of gasoline and ethanol
[3] Gathers traffic information and provides drivers with specifically tailored driving information.
[4] Unless otherwise noted, the years mentioned are from April 1 to March 31.
[5] The roughly 120 Toyota Group companies both in Japan and overseas subject to consolidated environmental management


Elpida, Qimonda Sign Joint Development Pact

Tokyo, June 11, 2008 (Jiji Press) - Japan's Elpida Memory Inc. <6665> said Wednesday that it has signed an agreement with Germany's Qimonda AG to jointly develop next-generation dynamic random access memory chips.

The two companies plan to release advanced DRAMs in 2010 and start mass-producing them the following year. They will consider joint production.

The tie-up is designed to reduce costs and shorten the time of development through measures such as exchanges of engineers.


Toyota to Start Developing Innovative Next-Generation Battery

Toyota Motor Corporation logo
Tokyo, June 11, 2008 (Jiji Press) - Toyota Motor Corp. <7203> said Wednesday that it will launch a new team in late June for the research and development of innovative next-generation automotive batteries.

The team will initially have some 50 engineers, and the number will be doubled two years later, according to the top Japanese automaker.

Toyota also said its battery-making joint venture with Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. <6752>, called Panasonic EV Energy Co., will start small-scale output of lithium-ion batteries for hybrid vehicles at a plant in Shizuoka Prefecture, central Japan, next year. Full-fledged production is slated to begin in 2010.

The new Toyota R&D team is due to study technologies for such next-generation batteries as solid-state batteries and metal-air batteries, both of which are said to have higher energy densities and be safer than lithium-ion batteries.

Toyota will aim to launch such new batteries by around 2030, according to Vice President Masatami Takimoto.

Toyota also said it now aims to reduce fiscal 2010 carbon dioxide emissions from its global production sites by 35 pct from the level in fiscal 2001, more ambitious than the previously targeted 20 pct cut. In fiscal 2007 that ended last March, CO2 emissions from the Toyota plants dropped 32 pct from the fiscal 2001 level.


Pioneer to Release PDP Monitor for 'Users Particular about Picture Quality'

Pioneer Corp unveiled June 10, 2008, the 60-inch "KRP-600M" PDP monitor, which is the second model added to its high-end "KURO" PDP series.

The company regards the KRP-600M as "a product targeted at 'Audio-Visual fans,' who are very particular about picture quality," said Masaaki Nishio, general manager of Engineering Department 3 of the PDP Product Engineering Division in the Home Entertainment Business Group of Pioneer.

Compared with the PDP-6010HD PDP TV, which is the first model in the KURO series, the black luminance of the KRP-600M was lowered to about 1/5 by reducing the predischarge emission. Black luminance determines the full On/Off contrast ratio.

The new PDP monitor does not have a built-in digital terrestrial tuner or a speaker, so "the users can select products of their choice for the KRP-600M," said Nishio. The KRP-600M is only 41mm thick at its thinnest part and 64mm at the thickest part. When using a wall hanger, the distance from the wall is 89mm.

The specifications were not unveiled, other than the fact that it has a resolution of 1920 x 1080. According to Takeshi Hama, deputy counselor of Home AV Engineering Group at Product Strategy Department of Pioneer Marketing Division, the full On/Off contrast ratio of the KRP-600M is enhanced to 100,000:1, while that of the PDP-6010HD is 20,000:1.

"Numerical competition is something KURO does not want to get involved in," Hama said. "If you take a look at the actual product, you can see its superiority in display performance."

Based on this thinking, the specifications of the KRP-600M, including the full On/Off contrast ratio, have not been specified in its catalog or other materials. Pioneer intends to continue the development of the PDP with a thickness of only 9mm (at the thinnest part), which was on display at the 2008 International CES in January 2008, in addition to other products.

"It doesn't mean we will stop the development just because we do not show the numbers," the company said.

In order to reduce the thickness to 64mm, the company used a low-profile power board and other thinner parts, while changing the part layout to improve the heat dissipation performance. The monitor incorporates a cooling fan, but "it only operates when the temperature rises to a certain point," Nishio said, expressing his confidence in the dissipation design as well.

The remote control that comes with the monitor is equipped with three or four LEDs. When the remote control is operated, the buttons glow like those on mobile phones.

"This feature improved the operability in dark environments such as home theaters," Nishio said.

The KRP-600M is slated for release in Japan in late June 2008. There is no manufacturer's suggested retail price, but "the market price is expected to be about ¥850,000 (US$7,921, price may vary depending on country)," Nishio said. The company plans to introduce a 50-inch PDP monitor, targeting the year-end shopping season.

Shinya Saeki, Nikkei Electronics


IBM Japan, Kyoto University Develop Large-scale Traffic Simulator

IBM Japan Ltd and Kyoto University jointly developed a new technology that can simulate a wide range of traffic conditions in large metropolitan areas where several million vehicles interact with one another in a complicated manner.

With this technology, it is possible to simulate the behavior of individual vehicles in detail. Based on various scenarios, traffic policies and city planning for wide regions, such as the entire Tokyo metropolitan area, can be evaluated in a multilateral way, according to IBM Japan and the University.

The latest technology is part of the achievement from the Strategic Information and Communications R&D Promotion Program commissioned by Japan's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.

According to IBM Japan and the University, the main goal of the latest joint development is to simulate in detail wide-range traffic situations in metropolitan areas where people's intentions and drivers with diversified driving characteristics interact with one another in a complicated manner.

During the joint development, Ishida & Matsubara Lab at Graduate School of Informatics, Kyoto University established the system to model various types of drivers such as young and older people.

Tokyo Research Laboratory of IBM Japan developed a large-scale multiagent simulation environment "IBM Zonal Agent-based Simulation Environmental" and a large-scale multiagent traffic simulator called "IBM Mega Traffic Simulator," which allow the high speed simulation of broad-scale traffic based on a variety of driving behavior models.

The new simulator is designed to fetch multiple driving behavior models and vehicle attributes extracted from the results of driving simulation test conducted in virtual space. Then, by utilizing the information on road networks and traffic regulations, the simulator can reportedly simulate in detail the traffic situation on a scale of several million units of vehicles.

In October 2007, a pilot program was carried out in Kyoto to block private vehicles from the area between Shijo Kawaramachi and Shijo Karasuma so that the amount of traffic was monitored when only public transportation vehicles and pedestrians were on the road. The comparison between the measurement result and the simulation result obtained by using the Mega Traffic Simulator reportedly showed that the Simulator has an excellent reproducibility.

Motoyuki Ooishi, Nikkei Electronics


Sanyo, VW to develop lithium-ion batteries

Sanyo and Germany's Volkswagen AG will develop lithium-ion batteries for hybrid vehicles as global automakers race to develop more environmentally friendly technology.

Japanese electronics maker Sanyo Electric Co. said Wednesday it will invest 80 billion yen ($769 million) to expand production by 2015 of such batteries, with plans to start mass producing them in a Japanese plant by next year, making 15,000 to 20,000 batteries a year.

Continue reading article at Yahoo News.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Solar Powered Prius goes 100 MPG!

Tony Markel, senior engineer at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, shows off a Prius  powered by batteries, solar energy and a sip of gas. Photo by Preston Gannaway

If a car that gets 100 miles per gallon of gasoline sounds like a driver's futile fantasy, think again.

Scientists at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden are testing a spruced-up Toyota Prius, a plug-in hybrid sedan complete with a solar panel attached to its oval roof and a bigger battery in the trunk to supply power in lieu of the gasoline-fueled engine.

The result: A spunky Prius that runs the initial 60 miles mostly on battery, adding up to a fuel mileage of 100 miles per gallon.

"The stored power in the battery does a great job of displacing petroleum," said Tony Markel, a senior engineer at NREL who has been working on the 2006 model Prius for the past two years. "For most people, their daily commute is about 30 miles, so this car would run virtually on battery and only need to be recharged at night."

Displacing petroleum is a desirable virtue today, as the nation battles global warming and skyrocketing fuel prices.

On Monday, Colorado's average price for regular, unleaded gasoline hit a record high at $3.943 a gallon, nearly 70 cents higher than the $3.258 a year earlier.

But the spruced-up Prius doesn't come cheap.

The lithium-ion battery, which can be recharged using a standard electrical outlet at home or even at the workplace, has a price tag of $40,000. And the solar panel on the roof cost $2,500.

All told, the car adds up to almost $70,000 - but as NREL says, it's only a unique research model at this point.

And if the car runs at more than 35 miles per hour, the gas engine comes to life to supply more power and consumption goes up.

Detroit automakers are interested in NREL's research, Markel said, adding that the goal is to bring down cost. Xcel Energy, Colorado's biggest utility, also is keen about vehicle-to-grid technology, which would have car batteries supply excess electricity during hours of peak demand.

Although NREL has yet to determine the experimental Prius' payoff time, it could improve with biofuels such as ethanol or biodiesel.

NREL says that light, plug-in hybrid vehicles could cut in half the demand for fuel, making it practical to use E-85 - a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. Also, the fuel cost savings could amount to more than $500 per vehicle a year.

"I think high energy prices are here to stay, and to go even higher," said Bryant Gimlin, energy risk manager of Gray Oil & Gas, a diesel and gasoline wholesaler. "It will not only encourage new technologies such as plug-in hybrids but make them more price effective."

"But it will take a number of years to do that and make a serious dent on oil consumption," Gimlin added.

by Gargi Chakrabarty

Rocky Mountain News

World’s first solar battery charger for cell phones

Japanese companies StrapyaNext and Tokyo Coil Engineering claim they developed the world’s first battery charger for cell phones based on solar energy. The charger comes in the form of a phone strap.

The device is 12.5 cm long and weighs 40 grams. It takes between 6 and 10 hours for a full charge with which you can talk for up to 40 minutes. StrapyaNext promises on the product page: “As long as the sun pours light and heat on the earth!” An AC adapter can get the job done in 3 hours.

The charger is available for $19 but for the time being, only Japanese cell phones are supported.

Written by Serkan Toto


Panasonic's Bulb-type Fluorescent Lamp Gets Bright Quickly

Matsushita Electric Industrial Co Ltd released the Palook Ball Premier Q, a bulb-type fluorescent lamp that offers sufficient brightness immediately after it is turned on.

The new lamp incorporates an incandescent bulb called "Quick Lamp" inside a spiral arc tube. In order to overcome the problem of insufficient luminous intensity immediately after a lamp is turned on, the new lamp utilizes the Quick Lamp to compensate for the lack of brightness of the fluorescent lamp for the first minute or so.

According to the company, the brightness of the latest lamp increases to 60% of the maximum level in one second at around 25°C and to approximately 100% in a little over a minute. The brightness of the existing products is only about 40% immediately after they are turned on. Fluorescent lamps generally take longer before becoming bright. This is one of the obstacles in replacing incandescent bulbs with bulb type fluorescent lamps.

The latest product is suitable for use in bathrooms, corridors, etc, where the light is used for a short period of time and is frequently turned on/off. The power consumption is 10W, except when using the Quick Lamp (30W).

The life (time required for light flux to be reduced to 80% of the initial level) of the latest lamp is extended from 10,000 to 13,000 hours. The amount of material used to release electrons (the emitter), which is applied on the coil in the electrode unit, has been increased by a certain amount.

In addition, by equalizing the thickness of the fluorescent material applied on the arc tube, the remaining amount of gas generated when baking the fluorescent material has been reduced. As a result, the light flux is less likely to be reduced even when the lamp is used for a longer period of time, the company said.

The number of times that the lamp can be turned on/off during its life cycle is increased from 30,000 to 40,000 through the optimization of amount of emitter applied. This is also advantageous for applications in places where lighting is required for a shorter period of time, according to the company.

The Palook Ball Premier Q comes in three types, namely, the A-type measuring 55mm in outer diameter, the D-type with an exposed spiral arc tube and the G-type with a spherical shape measuring 90mm in outer diameter. Two colors are available for all types: the incandescent color and the cool color, which looks whiter. There is no manufacturer's suggested retail price, but it is expected to be about ¥1,500 (US$14, price may vary depending on country). It is slated for release on July 1, 2008.

Jun 10, 2008 18:42
Masaru Yoshida, Nikkei Electronics


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