A phone with flu alert capabilities?

Would you buy a phone that could alert you to swine flu outbreaks over your smartphone?

The experiment brought to light by the Japan Times in early June 2009 is a new initative thought up by the Japanese Government in conjunction with a phone carrier, possibly Softbank this coming fall.

Apparently the plan was thought
Above: ¨I got what?¨
up before the current pandemic of swine flu.

The plan is to choose a school with approximatley 1000 students and give them iphones, to track the students whereabouts and store the info on a central server

A handful of students will be hypothetically ¨infected¨ with a virus. Then the phones track the whereabouts of all

students and see how an advisory GPS system can track down infected people, see who they have come in contact with and prevent further infections using this information.

Curenlty there are 2,033 Japanese infected with the swine flu, an infection that swelled from 3 cases from a Japanese teacher and her students from a trip to North America in May, to 1000 infections in June 2009.

With technology being able to help us in our daily lives, why not rely on mobile phones to track and detect the contamination of virus´s- even help advise those infected with a text to see the doctor?

On the other hand, privacy would be sacrificed as the system relies on having your GPS location at all times to see whose path you may have crossed.

How will the infectee be warned and treated? It opens the door to discrimination if some suspect you have been infected even before having been tested.

The pitch isn´t purely for the benefit of the community either, as Softbank has seen the market saturated with smartphones, so the benefit of having a device that can warn you of potential virus´s is a possible money spinner for Softbank.

Would you opt in to a phone with that service? Is there potential for use in the future in other densely populated countries?


Warm, Cool Biz technology

If you´ve ever lived in Japan, you´ll now it gets very, extremely soggy and wet during the summer months. So much so that you can´t walk anywhere without sweating like a pig when you finally do get to your destination.

If I´m grossing you out already, it is for a reason-

You´ve probably heard of Cool Biz, the campaign encouraged by the government to cut back on airconditioning and the effect this has on climate change. The policy allows for workers to wear just a short sleeved shirt and no tie rather than the whole ridiculous formal long sleeved shirt/tie/coat shebang that is usually ok for winter.

Here´s an ice suit (Japanese pdf), more like an ice pack really that let´s you store it in a coat pocket near your arm pits made by Haruyama. Not sure whether i´d wear it but then again it´s not meant for me.

But what to do in winter? Start a Warm Biz campaign of course! Same eco saving idea, and companies get to spruik their new improved thermal underware ranges.

This one uses special ceramic particles that heat up the body. To quote ¨It emits far-infrared rays that warm up the body from inside.¨Toasty.

Via Crunchgear


Origami leads the way in technology

Origami Godzilla by Seiji Nishikawa

Who knew Origami, that ancient Japanese art of folding pieces of paper has its finger on the pulse when it comes to science, technology, gadget design and all things generally innovative?

Origami has helped out when scientists were still scratching their heads about how to pack large equipment such as (PDF)space lenses, and here , space sails for a satellite and even in the medical field with (PDF) stents.

But for people into gadgets on terra firma, the concept cellphones of Electronic Ink were a hit for their beautiful, sleek futuristic designs that incorporated a fold out origami screen that expanded on scarce phone real estate.
Left:The popular origami concept phone with expanding screen

Here´s one that wasn´t quite so universally adored, the SD910 from South Korea Telecom.
Criticised for its brain teaser style way of unfolding, critics were wondering how the heck to put it back together again. That, and also the folding parts would get stuck and generally did badly at surviving in people´s bags.

From there the trail grows cold when looking for a more recent origami cellphone model..

But there are newer (if somewhat boxier) technologies that have come out in cellphones since.
Maybe it´s not origami per se, but it is about packing things in and out to make the best use of space.

Like this example, the Readius mobile phone, from Polymyr Vision that has an e-paper display that folds in and out of the mobile handset.

The phone was set for 2008 release and could ¨display electronic books and play MP3 files. In addition, it supports W-CDMA and HSDPA, enabling both phone call and data communication. Mounted with a Li-ion secondary battery of approximately 1,100mAh, it operates for about 30 hours per charge¨

Would you get one?
Do you know of any other more recent origami type cellphones, and do they have a future?

Origami phone by Electronic Ink via Gadget Review


In Mondayitis new distractions this week-

How much do you need to know the evolution of the Nintendo console? You don´t really but it´s a fun way to spend your time pretending to work.
From the first boxy console with the black cross and 2 red buttons in the 70´s and 80´s, to the present day Wii remote controller where all you have to do is move your arms or point and shoot at the screen, it´s a short and sweet article down memory lane. If you´re not old enough to remember any of the consoles, what are you doing crawling outside your crib?

Remember learning the periodic table? Boring hey? Students in the land of the rising sun won´t have that problem when it comes to memorizing the elements if they have this book, ¨Elemental Girls¨, that uses cute manga female drawing to help teach students about the elements.

The info included is the melting point the boiling point and for example a character dresses in her element so to speak and maybe with a speach bubble.

For example Hydrogen is a fairy, ¨light as air¨, and Gold is resplendant in well, her element with the title ¨dazzling through the ages¨.

International Tokyo Toy Show is coming up real soon, and just for your enter ¨toy¨ ment..(the sad thing is that I stole that off the tokyo toy fair website) here´s one of the toys in store from Bandai if you happen to be in town July 18th and 19th at Tokyo Big Sight.

The Samurai Gattai Shinken-Oh!

This little guy´s made up of 5 smaller robots in Emblem mode to Animal mode, and fits snugly inbetween your index and thumb when you tease your nephew with it.

Why didn´t I get toys like this when I was a kid??
Probably cos it costs around $80 US


The weekly roundup

Moday we looked at the Wii as sketch artist for a crim who trashed a car in Tokyo and also the genius of Magibon, a 23 year old woman who became an internet sensation by doing nothing in front of a camera in Japan.

On Tuesday we looked at brought on the discussion that despite Japan´s great domestic green and recycling trend, the same doesn´t apply for its consumer electronics who rated last on the green scale according to Greenpeace.

Also we looked at porn always a pioneer in advances in technology.

Thursday was all about scientist eyeing the possibility of mining the Moon for its recently discovered uranium.

Friday was all cutesy but expensive with the samurai robot due to be unveiled at the next Tokyo Toy Show 2009.

Have a great weekend!


Moon uranium

You know that Japanese probe ¨Kaguya¨ that crashed into the moon last week and left behind an HD movie of its landing? Well its swan song was the discovery of uranium under all that moondust.

Plans for lunar nuclear power plants have now been dusted off and given another once over
by official astrogeeks involved with the Kaguya space probe. They´re mulling over the possibility of permanent human settlements on our natural satellite, harvesting the uranium once it runs out on Earth.

There are also talks of plans to ferry the metal in special sealed containers to mimimize radioation on the astronauts ferrying them from Moon to Earth, according to Softpedia.

The astrogeeks are patting each others backs over the potential of mining the precious element on the Moon. Did they forget something? This is uranium, which isused on earth for fuel, electricity and, oh yeah, nuclear weapons not to mention the dangers of entering the earth´s atmosphere with an unstable radioactive nuclear element that is known for its ability to spontaneously fission.

Lunar mapping expeditions are now underway despite my feeble protests.

Via Softpedia


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