3D technology not just for Star Wars.

Only last week I was bitching about it being 2009 and we don´t even have hoverboards yet, or the cool 3D messages used by Leia to get in contact with Obiwan via R2D2.

NEC is promising a 3D monitor version for release within a year or so. Vague? yep.

But they say they´re going to make it for medicinal purposes first on 12.1 inch screens, THEN gaming monitors and mass produced portable TV´s for grubs like you and me.

Here´s the full lowdown.


So I know we´ve been covering alot of Robot stories this week ...and here´s another one.

Those clever lil geeks at Waseda’s Graduate School of Advanced Science and Engineering in Tokyo unveiled a robot who can express emotions with body language to boot last Tuesday 23rd June.

The researchers say the Emotional Humanoid Robot is a first of its kind and can pout and hunch his shoulders and everything if you tell him your sob story.

Here´s your future nurse if your in Japan in the next few years and encounter an unfortunate accident, as researchers plan to develop him a bit more and then make him a nurse.

But don´t worry, he´s easy to relate to. He ain´t just wires and plastic, he can show up to 7 emotions including happiness, anger, fear, disgust, suprise and sorrow.

He also has ¨soft human like hands¨to help her human friends.

The project was aided by Professor Atsuo Takanashi, and robot manufacturer Tmsuk, based in Kitakyushu, southern Japan.

Video link


another day another gigantoRobot

This is getting all robot nerds hot in the blogosphere right now.

After the gigantuan Gundam robot in Odaiba Tokyo with moving parts that have made even Gizmodo staff weak at the knees, here´s another Robot, Tetsujin, planned to be finished in September for an October opening.
This one doesn´t move but it´s planned to be a permanent fixture.


new sharper Japanese swords

As if Japanese swords weren´t sharp enough, new research in shows that scientists have developed new improved swords that are 6 times,...yep...6 times more resistant than ordinary steel swords. And also withstand subzero temps with ease.

The labrats at The National Institute for Materials Science have found a way to develop crystal structures within the swords in a process that one researcher likened to making a pie.

¨The iron material is turned back on itself in layers and hammered; the process is then repeated more than a dozen times. This appears simple, but through repetition, strong and tenacious steel with fine needle crystals is formed.¨

Whatever you say, just don´t get angry man.


Cell phone novels a spreading trend

First cell phone blogging, now cell phone novels.

A trend which started in Japan about 10 years ago called keitai shousetsu (or cell phone stories) has spread like wild fire in the Asian region thanks to ease of accessibility to technology and advanced features in multimedia phones.

Where ten years ago you actually had to grab a pen and paper, now you can just type it all up on a cell phone, post to your website and your readers can download the novel by installment.

CNN eve did a story on the phenomenon back in February this year

Yukiko Nishimura, a Linguist at Toyo Gakuen University in Japan has heralded this trend as a new genre, defending this genre as literature ,¨Some critics argue that mobile phone novels are not literature.. I think they are¨, she says.

Nishimura even held a few lectures to prove it at the 4 day conference that started June 19 on Computers and Writing backed by the University Writing Program at UC Davis.

Interesting topic but are the novels any good?

Usually they are just about teenagers falling in love¨, says Aya Tanaka, a spokesperson for Goma book publishing house who have adapted many a cell phone novel into paperback, "But it is kind of like popular comics, it is what the teenagers want to read, and for the publishers,

Above, English cell phone novel site Mobamingle

it is quite a big market and it does sell."

Sell they do, what with cell phone author Yume-Hotaru´s (pen name meaning "Dreaming Firefly" in Japanese) hit the top selling books list across the board in Tokyo bookstores with their popular cell phone novel ¨First experience¨, about two orinary Japanese teenagers coming of age story. Although it is still a billion yen industry, critics say the trend is now cooling:

¨Last year few mobile novels appeared on best-seller lists while new stories published online have lost their characteristic edginess, said Chiaki Ishihara, Literature expert and cell phone story researcher at Waseda University in Tokyo.

Ishihara even predicts that in a few years time it will be just another trend that had its used by date.

What are your thoughts?

Check it out for yourself

Japanese cell phone novel site:


If you want to give it a try..



mondayitis, Robo-monk, Signage

So, it´s Monday and we here at Sci-Blog Japan have a severe case of Monday-itis.

Symptoms include an aversion to work, blurry vision, ADHD, coffee addiction and easily distract-.....

er, what was i saying?

Here´s a minute timewaster for you.
The Hotoku-ji monk hard at work. (Friday, April 23, 1999)

Don´t you wish a robot could take over you work and you could sit back drinking something ridiculously colourful with an umbrella by the pool?

Well guess what? Those Japanese monks are way ahead of you.
They already thought of that idea back in 1999, with a robomonk in Hotoku-ji, a temple in Kakogawa City, Hyogo Prefecture.

The Robo monk sits still most of the time but then chants when it senses somebody approaching. Much like me pretending to type at work on a Monday.

The best part is that the creator ,Yoshihiro Motooka, a 65-year-old former railway technician, made the robot from recycled parts including an old casette recorder and a washing machine motor.

Motooka claims when Robomonk dissapears for maintenance, people are always disappointed and inevitably ask ¨Where´s he gone??¨


I thought this was cool. While some countries just have your poor mans ¨Men at Work¨ sign, Tokyo has this:


iphone launches in Japan

I would have thought there would be more but ..meh.
the Asahi Shimbun reports only 200 Japanese fans of the iphone sweated it out on the streets of Omotesando district yesterday (Friday 26th June) outside the phone store Softbank to get their brand spanking new 3G iphone.

The crowd left happy with their 3 megapixel cameras, new video recording functions and net browsing speed at twice the speed of the last version.

Then they all headed over to geek district Akihabara to claim the perfect anime phone mascots..

The Asahi Shimbun says that whizzbang multimedia phone sales are up by 68% from last year. Recession? What recession?


Moonwalking in commemoration

In commemoration of the great singer, dancer, performer extraordinaire that was Michael J Jackson, I decided to post these crappy techie gems.
.. MJ kicking butt as a video game character (might want to turn down the volume and scroll to 0.25 secs)

..MJ Dancing Robot for Citroen C4
And finally the Darth ´n´ storm trooper dance off to Thriller which has nothing to do with Japan, but I included cos it makes Whitts wince with paiiiin.. :-P

May you rest in Peace Mr Jackson.


Sex or War, the future of Robots?

Left:National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology's HRP-4C, a "cybernetic human courtesy The Japan Times

In an article published on March 25th 2009 in the Japan Times, 3 time author and writer of ¨Wired for War¨, P.W. Singer, has stated that Japan´s robotics industry has been meticulously developing cutesy android femmebots, since, well.. forever and equipping them with knowledge of puzzlingly lame domestic tasks such as ¨Receptionist¨ duties or the ability to walk awkwardly up and down stairs.

Meanwhile the US have been concentrating on developing robotics with really sharp edges that are ¨changing the nature of combat.¨

Left, the cover of ¨Wired for War¨ by P.W Singer

Basically Singer suggests that the robots from Japan are perfect candidates for the booming Japanese sex industry, one which has exploded (´scuse the pun) to an estimated to 1 trillion yen by Japan Times newspaper.

While the femmebots may be a great cash cow for the Japanese robotics and porn industries, Singer says that Japan is on the sidelines of the thriving robotic revolution in national defense strategies,"Military robots are an even more revolutionary technology than the atomic bomb," prompting your truly to quietly crap myself.

Singer says that in Middle eastern war zones such as Iran and Afganistan, there are already Unmanned Automated Vehicles (UAVs) that are being operated remotely by soldiers who, only yesterday were playing video games till 4 am ...only now they´re using their excellent hand- eye co-ordination for remote reconnaissance operations and deploying bombs.

The US clearly has its eye on larger goals, according to the author, ¨pouring a massive $230 billion into the Future Combat Systems program, brigades will have more unmanned vehicles than manned vehicles by 2015¨.

"It sounds like sci-fi, yet it's very real already. People say it'll never happen, but for some reason we're already building it."

Bear in mind, this is no guy off the street talking, he´s a Harvard Ph. D. in Government, all round media commentator and coordinator of the Defense Policy Task Force during Obama´s election campaign.

Although he writes with a wary tone, his soundbites scare the HECK out of me. Maybe I´m conjuring up nightmarish Terminator / Clone war doomsday scenarios and not the cool transformeresque images i usually like to associate with robots. Thoughts?


OOps Site under construction. But you come back now y´all..

27th June launch.


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