Technology

“Pong!Pong!” Adds a Fun, New Dimension to Table Tennis Through Mixed Reality Technology

Table tennis is a popular game in Japan, not only as a professional sport but also as a pastime. Thanks to “child prodigy” Ai Fukuhara in the 1990s (who later went on to become an Olympic medalist in 2012 and 2016), table tennis experienced somewhat of a boom, spawning table tennis-themed manga like the gag-heavy Ping Pong Club (Ike! Inachu Takkyubu) (1993-1996) and Ping Pong (1996-1997), which was later made into a live-action film in 2002 and an anime in 2015. In addition, Japan’s excellent performance in table tennis at the Rio Olympic Games in 2016 probably reignited domestic interest in the sport. However, unless you’re watching someone like Takkyu…

4:42 PM


Japanese Tech School Lets Students And Maids Learn Game Programming Together For Mutual Benefit

Maids are a staple of Japanese otaku subculture, with maid cafes, where maids serve food and drink to guests while treating them like kings, being a shining example. In recent years the appeal of maids has expanded its umbrella to include even a gym where maids act as a personal trainer to motivate otaku to get fit, as well as a vocational “otaku training school” that teaches young women the ropes of the maid and cosplay business. Source: © Made In Maid Family / boonie bo Source: © Made In Maid Family / boonie bo Following the education route, Shibuya-based programming school Gifted Academy has launched a project to help…

4:13 PM


Japan Has A Robot Vendor That Is Very Happy To Give You Ice Cream

Whether it be performing funeral rites, staffing a hotel, or simply being a terrifying poop demon, Japan seems to have a robot for everything. When its not flexing its technological muscle in more adventurous ways, however, Japan focuses on practical uses for these clever robos, and Japanese robotic engineering company Yaskawa’s Yaskawa-kun may be living out the most practical use of all–giving people ice cream. 会社にいるアイスクリームロボット。100円でソフトクリーム🍦作ってくれる😋 An ice cream-serving robot pic.twitter.com/N4ldjYiS17 — とら(Steve) (@torachitech2) 2017年8月24日 you might remember Yaskawa from when they developed a sword-wielding robot to duel Japan’s modern samurai, but the adorable (and somewhat creepy) Yaskawa-kun is a little less aggressive, handing over soft-serve ice cream to customers…

1:46 PM


Demonic Eyed Japanese Poop Robot That Spews Diarrhea Is The Stuff Of Nightmares

Whether it’s the breathtakingly lifelike fish at Japan’s hotel staffed by robots, or Softbank’s cute domestic-assistant robot Pepper singing Beethoven in a choir, Japan’s constantly improving and impressing field of robotics seems to embrace all aspects of practicality, humor, and even a little bit of creepiness. One shining (well, not so shining) example of that is the DORODOROBO (ドロドロボ), featured at the Fujisawa Design Week in 2016. What separates it from other standout Japanese robots you may have seen? One look at it’s appearance and function should tell you–it’s a poop robot with terrifying demonic eyes that erupts in fecal liquid. You might simply write this off as another entry…

11:52 AM


Give Your Music Sessions A Fantasy Feel With Elf Earphones

If you’ve been aching to scratch the fairly niche itch of giving yourself an Elven makeover while listening to music at the same time, Japanese Akihabara-based retailer Thanko may be offering your two-birds-with-one-stone chance with these “Elf Earphones”–a set of earphones that let you slip on pointy elf ears. The fantasy-themed earphones have an instant appeal to cosplayers and fans of all things Elven, but can also make for just a quirky aesthetic when listening to your tunes. Source: Thanko Source: Thanko The earphones boast a quick and comfortable (supposedly) elf transformation, and are equipped with a toggle switch and mic. Unfortunately, they only appear to be available in one…

12:23 PM


Incredibly Lifelike Robot Fish Swim At Japan’s Robot-Staffed Hotel

Japan’s Henn na Hotel, or “The Strange Hotel”, recently celebrated the opening of a second branch nearby the Tokyo Disney Resort in Urayasu, Chiba Prefecture. The name of the hotel is a wordplay in Japanese for both “strange” and “evolving”, with both concepts being echoed by the fact that the hotel is staffed by robots and robot dinosaurs. Travel agency H.I.S. Co. has a vision for the hotel that offers both the excitement of Japan’s lauded robotics technology and what hopes to be the most efficient hotel experience in the world. The keyless hotel, which features 140 robots that do everything from carrying your luggage to cleaning your room, also…

12:54 PM


Watch Seismic Isolation Flooring Prevent Damage During The 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake

This video taken on a security camera during the 2011 Great Tohoku Earthquake shows how earthquake resistant construction and seismic base isolators can pay off in a country vulnerable to earthquakes such as Japan. The server room, located in Sendai, has a seismic isolation floor installed that prevents anything from getting damaged, even during a massive 9.0 earthquake. While there is obviously a lot of shaking going on, the part of the room with isolation flooring installed (under the servers) is able to keep steady and resist damage–the video even explains that walking on this part of the floor during the quake was not difficult. There are 15,894 confirmed deaths…

2:49 PM


“Beautiful Robot Girl” AI App Hopes To Deliver Authentic Girlfriend Conversation Experience

We’ve seen promise of a Japanese artificial intelligence hologram device embrace and anime aesthetic to be your perfect partner before, but a recently developed smartphone application and artificial intelligence game engine by the name of SELF is boasting companionship abilities never seen before by a virtual girlfriend. With upgrades to its conversation potential and perception of the player, the AI. engine is said to provide a beautiful girlfriend with conversation ability close to that of a real partner. Source: PR Times The app’s responding character is “beautiful robot girl” Ai Furuse, and is designed to give unique responses (with a conversation vocabulary of over 30,000 words) by monitoring valuess of…

5:43 PM


Send Your Friend A Free Drink From Anywhere Behind This Digital Japanese Vending Machine

When it comes to lifestyle technology, Japan is known to take it one step further than other countries. This can often be seen on a smaller scale with devices like vending machines, which in Japan have digitized purchase windows and money scanners for quick and convenient use (the scanning is possible with IC commuter passes with QR codes embedded inside). However, for Japanese vending machine company Acure, vending machines with “only” these features still don’t qualify as truly convenient. YouTube Since the world is now filled with people dipping their heads into the screens of their smartphones, Acure took advantage of that reality to make purchasing from vending machines even…

10:36 AM


Japanese Love Dolls Are Getting Scarily Realistic

We’ve taken a look at the complicated love doll industry in Japan before, particularly how they’ve been used for companionship, and even some controversial claims of them being used as a method of rehabilitation. However you feel about these life-like figures, advances in technology have led to some almost disturbingly realistic love dolls being made over the past few years. One maker, Orient Industry, has some particularly realistic dolls that could almost pass as human. Source: Sakitan Orient Industry is a Japanese love doll maker (they are marketed as “Dutch Wives”) that offers dolls made of high quality silicone, and options customize every feature of the body, from bust size…

1:18 PM


2020 Tokyo Olympics To Become A Platform To Showcase Japanese Technology At Its Finest

As Japan gears up for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Japanese technology is taking an unprecedented step towards accommodating foreign visitors. The following are some technological advancements that are expected to be put to practical use by the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. 1. Interactive vending machines For anyone who has ever visited or lived in Japan, vending machines can be found on practically every street, no matter how desolate the area is. The convenience of being able to quickly purchase a drink from a vending machine explains its prevalence throughout the country. But for a foreigner who knows little Japanese, such vending machines pose little convenience. After discovering that foreigners are less…

10:40 AM


Japan Releases Shirt To Combat Visible Nipple Slip-Ups

You don’t have to walk down many streets or ride many trains in Japan to see that white button-down dress shirts the chosen armor of Japan’s salary men and women. Unfortunately for them, whether it is the sweat worked up from grueling work hours or cold weather, accidental sightings of nipple outlines can be pretty common in the Japanese workplace. While you would normally just rectify this by suggesting a better or thicker undershirt, the nip-slip seems to be a common occurrence among Japanese workers. At least common enough for one company to propose a specially crafted shirt to conceal your nipples! 透けない白Tシャツ「正装白T」オフィシャルアカウントさん(@seisoshirot)がシェアした投稿 – 2017 3月 2 3:54午後 PST 透けない白Tシャツ「正装白T」オフィシャルアカウントさん(@seisoshirot)がシェアした投稿…

2:54 PM


Smart Anime Hologram Is Now Available For Pre-Order In Japan And The US

With a little space in your room and an extra 321,840 yen (2,730 USD) to spare, you could live life devoid of loneliness even if you decide to never step foot from your house again. It’s been almost a year since we first introduced the Hologram Communication Robot by Gatebox, a virtual robot of your favorite character to share your life with. Now, 300 units of the device are available for pre-sale in Japan and the US, and will soon be making their way into the arms of their new human companions. Source: YouTube For those unfamiliar with this cutting edge anime hologram, it can simply be described as a…

5:53 PM


Robot Driven Delivery Services Expected To Launch In Japan Next Year

Japan’s knowledge and passion for robotics is pretty much known to everyone, and the country has never shied from using it for fun and quirk–a Japanese university team recently even developed a robot dog. Now thanks to a partnership between the Kuro Neko (Black Cat) Yamato delivery company and mobile portal and e-commerce company DeNa, Japanese people can soon expect self-driven cars that deliver shipments right to their door. Source: Yamato Called “Robo Neko“, or “Robot Cat”, the service will allow customers to place and track their orders via a company app. Upon delivery, it is then up to the customers to open the vehicle and unload their ordered package…

12:08 PM


Japanese Robot Dog Powered By Pneumatics Runs As Cute And Clumsy As A Real Pup

In perhaps the ultimate bridge between Japan’s love of robotics and all things cute, a development team at Osaka University lead by Professor Koh Hosoda has made this lively dog robot, powered by pneumatics. Source: YouTube While it certainly seems like something out of science fiction to see a robotic dog on a leash, you probably won’t be surprised to find out that the robo-dog, called PneuHound, is actually pretty damn cute. PneuHound’s mechanical feet waddle and pit-pat with all the adorable furry of a Corgi running down the hall, and tops off at an impressive speed of 9.5 km per hour. Air pressure fuels PneuHound’s artificial muscles, and actually…

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