Personal Mobility

Honda unveiled a newly developed personal mobile tool, U3-X. It is reportedly said that U3-X is designed not to exceed 6km/hr as a maximum speed per hour and has capability to go up and down on a slop for pedestrians in offices or hospitals. Seeing is believing...



Smart Grid

There must be a variety of leading edge technologies and components required for Smart Grid which is recently assumed as the next generation electric power distribution network.

Electric power has been supplied by an electric power company to every building or facility wherever needed. "Internet" is often used as an analogy of Smart Grid since various information generators are connected to the internet. In this context, the electric power supply network has been used as "down load" only while Smart Grid will enable us to download and upload of the electricity for multiple directions as the information traffic flows on the internet.

An important difference from Internet, however, Smart Grid has to assure stable and continuous power supply without no delay. No "Best Effort" is allowed on Smart Grid.

Smart Grid sounds pretty smart and beautiful as written and pronounce. However a huge amount of new technologies and efforts for standardization will be required to build it on this planet. A small piece of information released by National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) has driven me to think of the new vision of power electric distribution network.



Braille device

There are many companies that focus on assisting people in enhancing quality of life. KGS Corporation founded in 1953 keeps developing and suppying new ideas of products for visually impaired persons.

Braille Memo, BM16, as an example, looks an excellent device of portable notebook with which a user can take a memo at anyplace anytime. According to the product description, it equips convenient accessories functions such as a clock, an electronic calculator and a calendar that enable a user to manage indispensable information on daily basis. Electrical communications interface of BM16 is reportedly limited to RS232C. More compact and handy type of Braille Memo Pocket seems to be available now, and it has USB and Bluetooth interfaces, so that wireless communications capability is obviously available between the pocket sized Braille memo device and a personal computer.

This type of devices are not showy but very important technology products to help us improve our lives in the society.




"Metamaterials", artificial materials, seem to have great potential to create brand new and unprecedented applications for our future life. The electro-magnetic properties of Metamaterials could be artificially controlled by using metal nano-structures, so that refractive index could be changed or controlled. This suggest that we may be able directly to see virtual view, such as something beautiful flowers behind the screen of obstacle, or virtually to create a transparent person who might wear clauses made by Metamaterials.



Brain Machine Interface

Brain waves control a wheelchair. The new signal processing technology for brain machine interface (BMI) has reportedly been a recent result of collaboration activities among RIKEN, Toyota Motor Corporation, Toyota Central R&D Labs and Genesis Reserch Institute have jointly announced that BSI-TOYOTA Collaboration Center. This seems to be a big step for the next generation robotics.



Ultra-high speed video camera system

Ultra-high speed video camera systems demonstrated by Keyence reportedly provides 24,000 frames per second, that can analyse extremely high speed movement. High-tech just keeps enhancing its capability.

Source: DigInfo News via YouTube



Japan Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Demo Project

A Japan national project, Japan Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Demonstration Project driven by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry demonstrates its result at the Fuel Cell EXPO 2009.

It is important to point out that the result has brought up with a cross border collaboration involving not only Japanese auto manufactures, oil and gas suppliers but also US and Europe based companies, such as Toyota, Nissan, Suzuki, Mazda, General Motors, Mercedes Benz, Nippon Oil, Tokyo Gas and so on.

Click here to see a video and text description for further details.

Source: DigInfo



Dual mode cameras

Tribute to digital technologies, there seems to be no boundary between a photo shooting camera and video camera. A major camera supplier like Canon announced the dual functions camera while major consumer electronics devices manufactures, such as Sony and Panasonic that have video cameras as one of major product portfolio are starting to sell newly developed dual-mode camera.

NOTE: This YouTube video will be replaced with an English version soon.

Source: DigInfo via YouTube




Bio-sensor that has been enabled by a combination of semiconductor technology and biotechnology.  According to this video, there will be a variety of applications considered while practical applications for mass production will be available in 2.5 to 3 years.



Phosphoric Acid Fuel Cell

Fuel cells use hydrogen and oxygen as the raw materials to generate electricity, while there are many ways to get hydrogen and oxygen.  The phosphorice acid fuel cell presented by the following video reportedly allows two types of gases to get the two essential gases including city gas and bio-gas.  This system sounds pretty environmentally friendly with a high efficiency rating of power generation.



The sky is in your hands!

How quickly to find a star or stars in the sky depends on clearness of the sky, whether conditions, knowledge level of a planisphere and on quality of an astronomical telescope.

StellarWindow seems to ease us quickly to find a star by putting up a flat panel screen (actually tablet pc) with which an USB type sensor is connected and StellerWindow software is installed. This fantasy animation video well present on how to use it.

According to the supplier, 3TEC, the package price which includes the software package and the USB device but excludes the tablet PC, is Japanese Yen25,000.- plus consumption tax within Japan.

Source: 3TEC Corporation & its groups' page



Video Presentation on Japanese Technologies

There are a few good sites that well summarize a trend of Japanese science and technologies in English. This video site created by National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) is one of the good ones.

Its URL is http://www.aist.go.jp/aist_e/video/. More sites would be expected to be provided by many other organizations maintaining at least this level of quality in English.




Bio Battery sounds interesting.   The technology product seems to be changing our concept of battery when it's commercially available in the market. 

Source: DigInfo via YouTube



Ninja Chest

This chest itself is one of traditional Japanese furniture, but has magic built in.   There seems to be no hi-tech, but one of traditional technologies.  



Lithium-ion Battery Powered Vehicle

According to the spillover's specification sheet, it runs 100km 
(assuming at a constant speed rate of 30km/h) once the 
lithium-ion battery is charged from the regular power supply 
of 100VAC, whilst one time of charging takes 6 to 8 hours. Its 
weight and length are 360kg and 2.48 meters respectively.



2.5 GHz CMOS Differential LC VCO

Sugimoto Laboratroy of Chuo University presented on their newly developed technology of 2.5 Ghz CMOS differential LC VCO (voltage controlled oscillator) at SEMICON Japan 2008.    It is expected that the new technology will significantly improve S/N ratio voltage controlled oscillator. 


A Trend of MEMS Technology

A micro-3-axis-MEMS touch sensor jointly developed by Tokyo University and Panasonic received an award of "Robot of the year 2008" announced by Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. The MEMS chips enable robotic fingers to sense a very small amount of vertical and horizontal pressure values, as well as shearing forces of material.



Award winning educational robot series

It seems that a robot must be an excellent tool for students to learn engineering ideas. "e-nuvo", an educational robot series supplied by ZMP INC must be the one. It was first launched in 2004, and since then, over 300 units have been used in educational facilities and research laboratories in Japan and foreign countries. This robot was an award winner at the 2008 Robot Award held in Tokyo.

The supplier, ZMP INC. offers a few other robotic products, such as "muro" which is a network music player equipped with robotic technology, "PINO". an interactive humanoid robot, etc.



Spiral Magnus - a wind power generator

About one year ago, February 2008, I introduced at this blog site Spiral Magnus wind generator designed and manufactured by MECARO.  It seems that the new generator is now in commercial production.  The first commercial unit reportedly installed in Ogata Village, Akita Prefecture, Japan last November.  This video is a brief presentation on the product.

According to the supplier, MECARO, the strong advantage of Spiral Magnus are in low speed rotation, exceptionally quiet operation, long lasting durability as well as high efficiency and stability in power generation that have been enabled by Spiral Effect together with MECARO's patent technology.

Typical specifications data extracted from the supplier's web site are as follows.

Wind Turbine Diameter: 11.5m
Rated Output: 12kW
Rated Wind Speed: 11m/s
Rated Rotor Speed: 30rpm
Cut-in Wind Speed: 3m/s
Cut-out Wind Speed: 30m/s
Wind Load Survival Rate: 60m/s

       MECARO's web-site



Wind power generator

Airdolphin is the name of a cute wind power generator.  Airdolphin is compact, light and simple no-screw body structure inspired by traditional Japanese handcraft techniques, the supplier, Zephyr says.   

The core rotor has three ultra-light carbon fibre blades that are uniquely designed dramatically to reduce air flow noise.   The robust body generator cuts in at a wind speed of 2.5m/s and cuts out at a 50m/s, while a windload survival rating is 65m/s.  A rated power figure is 1kw at 12.5m/s wind speed.

Typical figures of Model Z-1000 are extracted from Zephyr's specifications sheet as follows.

Rotor Diameter: 1800mm
Mass: 17.5kg
Mount Diameter: 48.6mm
Number of Blades: 3
Blade Mass (per piece) : 380g
Body Material: Aluminum die cast
Body Construction: Screw-free joints (based on traditional Japanese handicrafts)
Product Finish: Teflon-based paint
Control System: Built-in Zephyr-Original Power Management System* (ZPMS) with:
Power-Assist Function
Stall Mode
Safety Control
Battery Charge Management
Data Communication System
Cut-in Wind Speed: 2.5m/s
Cut-out Wind Speed: 50m/s
Survival Wind Speed: 65m/s
Rated Power: 1kW(12.5m/s)
Rated Rotor Speed 1250rpm
Maximum Power:3.2kW(20m/s)
Maximum Rotor Speed: 1600rpm(20m/s)



The Robot Awards 2008 Grand Prize Winner

Another one, an advanced humanoid robot, is actually a toy but with it you'll just forget time passing. The 16.5cm-tall and 350g-weight robot is programmable and driven with rechargeable batteries. Its price seems to be within a very reasonable range. Several key technologies developed for the robot seem to be applicable for other industrial products. Enjoy it!

Source: DigInfo News



A rescue robot

An active scope camera proposed here is a rescue robot. Covering the entire cable of robot in cilia, the camera is capable to propel itself forward if the cable is contacting with the surface. According to this video reported by DigInfo, some discussions and technology evaluation are in process for commercial production.



Gyroscopic power generator

Transforming ocean wave power to electricity seems to be an excellent solution to save natural resources! Hope it will be in commercial use shortly.



Solid state heat emission and absorption unit

The Peltier element is a semiconductor element that can control heat emission and absorption using electric current.  The supplier of the element, Ampere, newly developed a skeleton type Peltier element that eliminates thick ceramic covers to replace with ployimide film material.  A proven survival rate of heat cycles is more than 100,000 which is significantly higher than conventional ones.

Application fields of this product seems to be expected in manufacturing and inspection processes as well as medical and biological areas.


Palm-top sized super ink-jet module

Nanotechnology Research Institute, a part of National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) announced on October 14, 2008 that it successfully developed a mobile type of super ink-jet equipment.  


According to the released information, the equipment is almost 1/600 in cubicle dimensions of those currently available and is driven at 5V (DC).    It is expected that this technology will significantly contributes to reducing energy consumption as well as volumes of ink.  Application areas of this technology will vary ranging from electronics manufacturing processes to security fields where high precision printing technology is required.   



Clean energy hybrid controller

This energy controller seems to be pretty good for  controlling a stand alone solar battery system and wind generator system together located in a remote site.     A brief interpretation and summary of the product catalogue written in Japanese are attempted by me as follows.

This device controls charging and discharging electric power generated both by a wind generator and photovoltaic power generator.  This hybrid controller has features all-in-one required for an ecological power generation system of 12-250W or 24V-500W.  Applications areas of this controller will be stand alone systems, such as emergency lighting, street lighting, eliminating, water-pumping and so on.   With data communication interface, this controller can communicate with a central control office where all the data is monitored and controlled.  Dimensions are W120×H300×D80mm.  



Book page turn-over robot

I wonder why this kind of machine has not been available until now. It seems that there is no special technology required. But if you think of its sofisticated movement, there must be a variety of consideration needed to create this. It will be helpful for people who have some handicaps or stay on the bed for quite a long time but love to read books. I hope it will be further improved, become popular and be available with a reasonable price level.