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Pepper the robot looks like a robot, thanks to an almost-anime design. What then, of Kodomoroid (above, center) and Otonaroid (right)? Both androids have found employment at Japan's National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, as part of its new "Android: What is human?" exhibit. Kodomoroid...

8 months ago 0 Comments
June 25, 2014 at 4:00AM
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Takara Tomy promised us that maglev technology would make its way to playsets next year, when we spoke at this year's Tokyo Toy Show. It had two very different toys on hand, one a train that the company claims can reach up to 600 KPH (relative to its scale, at least). To our untrained eyes, all we...

8 months ago 0 Comments
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The path to mainstream home robots is strewn with the battery-drained corpses of AIBO and lesser-known, Dalek-esque robots like Wakamaru. But now Japan's SoftBank, flush from the purchase of Sprint, has introduced its robot game changer, teaming up with Aldebaran Robotics (the team behind NAO) to ...

8 months ago 0 Comments
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It had a good run, but Sony has decided to bring the curtain down on the PlayStation Portable. The company has announced that June's shipment of the hardware will be the last in Japan, and local users looking to upgrade to the PS Vita can earn a $30 or $40 trade-in discount across the summer. The ...

9 months ago 0 Comments
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Dancers with weird costumes? Check. Trippy sci-fi music? Check. Drones with pyramids on top... wait, what? The Eleven Play dance troupe in Japan has integrated quadrotors into its performances, starting with synchronized moves choreographed to the dancers. The flying 'bots soon take over the show,...

9 months ago 0 Comments
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While most scientists are attempting to give robots facial expressions, a group from Japan's Kansai University is working on another aspect that makes them more human: physiological reactions. According to IEEE Spectrum, Dr. Tomoko Yonezawa and her team are developing robots that can sweat and get...

9 months ago 0 Comments
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The buttons are easier to type on, the battery lasts longer, it's familiar. No, we're not talking about BlackBerry this time, but the Japanese feature phone. Glorious, folding forefather to the smartphone, and the form-factor that gave birth to gara-kei, a shorthand phrase for "Galapagos phones". ...

9 months ago 0 Comments
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Many people know that they should take breaks when they're fatigued, but actually recognizing that worn-down state is tricky; it's all too easy to push past the breaking point. If JINS' upcoming Meme smart glasses live up to their billing, though, you'll always know when it's time to relax. The Bl...

9 months ago 0 Comments
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Dirt, stains, effluent, material, the load, waste, matter. These are the words my tour guides at Toto's toilet factory and research center in Kyushu used to verbally pirouette around what exactly its porcelain thrones deal with: shit. Japanese toilets are probably the best in the business at getti...

9 months ago 0 Comments
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Remember Hospi, the digital porter from 2004? We wouldn't blame you if you didn't, since Panasonic only sold two of the things in the better part of a decade. Now, the company is looking for a do-over, having redesigned the robot to actually provide some use to Japan's hospitals. This time out, th...

9 months ago 0 Comments
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If we're being civil, Japan's relationship with the Xbox could be described as "tenuous" at best, and the release date for Microsoft's latest game console probably won't do much to change that. Come this September 4th, gamers in the country will finally be able to claim an Xbox One for themselves....

10 months ago 0 Comments
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Ever seen one of those funny novelty spectacles with eyes drawn on them? Dr. Hirotaka Osawa from Tsukuba University in Japan has designed a high-tech version of those called AgencyGlass, and they have eyes that actually move. The digital eyes blink when you nod or shake your head, look up when you...

10 months ago 0 Comments
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In 2008 Japanese scientists decided to take a handful of cherry tree seeds (and by "handful" we mean over 250) to space. The embryonic plants spent eight months aboard the International Space Station as part of an educational project aimed at children. When the stones returned, 14 of them were sel...

10 months ago 0 Comments
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One of the (if not the) most influential manga artists ever, Osamu Tezuka, has joined the digital halls of the Google Cultural Institute. If there was no Tezuka, there would have probably been no Dragonball, no One Piece... well, you get the picture. The collection includes a Google Street View to...

10 months ago 0 Comments