Japan's Agency for Natural Resources and Energy has begun funding a field test of electric vehicles (EVs) with replaceable batteries. The test consists of three EVs, each one used as a taxi, which can putter into a battery replacement station built in Tokyo and have its battery replaced in about 60 seconds.
"It is much faster than charging a battery," Better Place Japan said. "So, it will drastically improve the convenience of electric vehicles."
All three taxis are stationed in Roppongi Hills in Tokyo and are operated by Nihon Kotsu Co Ltd. Powering the taxis are rechargeable lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries made by A123 systems, each with a capacity of 17kWh. According to Better Place Japan, the batteries have enough juice in them for taxis to run about 70km to 80km (about 43.5 miles to 49.7 miles).
"The convenience of battery-replaceable EVs is very high," said Ichiro Fukue, vice president of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which is cooperating with Better Place Japan in the development of a battery replacement system. "If it is recognized by the public, they are highly likely to become common."
The new Core i5 and Core i7 mobile CPUs are already finding their way into some products. Panasonic has announced that the Japanese version of the Toughbook laptops, known there as Lets Note, will be getting some speedy new Nehalem-based processors. The new rugged (and a little ugly) offerings will come in four flavors.
The S9, N9, and F9 will have a Core i5-520M CPU. Screen sizes range from 12.1 inches (S9 and F9) up to the 14.1 inch screen on the F9. This screen will probably look quite nice with a resolution of 1440 x 900. The real gem here is the R9 model which will have a Core i7-620M, 250GB HDD, and 2GB of DDR3 RAM crammed into a chassis the size of a netbook. A 10.1 inch screen with that kind of power makes for a desirable ultraportable computer.
A Japanese launch is scheduled for February 17th. No word on if these PCs will find their way here. If you were able to get one of these, what would you pay for it?
Facebook continues to make inroads in the Japanese market and now has four times as many visitors as it did last year, but surprisingly, that still isn't enough to propel the social networking site into the top spot. and dethrone Mixi from its perch.
In November 2008, Facebook recorded around 355,000 unique hits in Japan. That number ballooned to 1.39 million visitors in November 2009, said NetRatings, who added that growth has been trending upwards all year long.
Even still, Facebook remains a distant second. The No. 1 social networking site in Japan claimed more than 9.2 million unique visitors per month, and what's more, users are spending more time on Mixi. According to NetRatings, Mixi users spent four-and-a-half hours on the social networking site, compared to just 36 minutes on Facebook.
Okay admit it. Not only is Aliens one of the greatest movies of all time, but it instilled in you a secret lust to engage Alien queens in battle with a giant, futuristic cargo stacking mech. Okay, perhaps we are overstating this just a touch, but we were still totally excited to see Japanese engineers demonstrate a fully functional Dual-Arm Power Amplification Robot, particularly one that gives users superhuman strength, and was quite obviously inspired by the cult sci-fi classic.
The robot, which is being designed with a commercial future in mind, is capable of lifting more than 100kg, but itself weighs slightly over 230kg. Given these specs, obvious safety concerns are raised by wearing a suit that is heavy enough to crush its wearer, however, Chief engineer Go Shirogauchi claims the robot is quite safe. “The most important challenge is not to injure the operator with the amplified power” he said. “For that challenge, a delicate control and a mechanics design which does not put too much force onto a human in the worst situation is required”.
The robot is primarily being designed for the construction industry, but Shirogauchi claims they plan to have plenty of interchangeable parts to make it viable in many more situations. “Our intention is not to develop a small power shovel, but to create a common platform which can be applied to many areas other than the construction sites” said Shirogauchi.
The arms are expected to cost about $357,000 when they eventually come to market, hopefully sometime in 2015.
Japanese electronics manufacturers Casio, NEC and Hitachi have decided to merge their mobile phone divisions. The merged entity will be ready to lock horns with local and international competitors by April next year. Casio and Hitachi are already part of a joint venture they constituted in 2004. With NEC joining the existing joint venture, the resulting entity will, immediately after its birth, acquire the bragging rights that belong to the second-largest handset maker in Japan.
It doesn’t matter that almost all the text is in Japanese, and you probably don’t speak Japanese. This adorable look at how Google Street View works is easy viewing for all nationalities. Sure, it takes some creative liberties, but that’s why it’s so darn endearing.
The video opens on a charming little fellow with a camera for a head puttering down the street. He snaps pictures as he goes, and then takes them back to his (also charming) workshop, where they are scanned. Identifiable information is blurred out, and all is well. Well, there are some additional complaints about unwanted elements in the pics, but the little camera-headed fellow works late into the night to keep you safe.
Japanese researchers have made a major breakthrough that could prove to be a watershed in the development of flexible OLEDs. Scientists from the Center for Future Chemistry at Kyushu University in Fukuoka, Japan have concocted a “liquid-OLED.”
They have detailed their innovation in the latest issue of Applied Physics Letters. The “liquid-OLED” is named as such on account of its use of a liquid semiconductor layer. This latest technology could yield more pliant and reliable roll-up OLEDs compared to other technologies currently undergoing the rigors of testing and fine-tuning in other part of the world.
It appears CBHD (China Blue High-Definition), formerly known as CH-DVD (China High Definition DVD), has a shot at doing something HD-DVD never could: Beat Blu-ray. Or at least that's the case in Japan.
Apparently a Japanese news station ran the numbers and confirmed that the CBHD format holds a 3 percent market share lead over Blu-ray, FormatWarCentral.com reports. The revelation was presented as part of a documentary, which you can view here, though you're on your own in translating the dialogue.
Under its former designation, the CBHD format was first announced in September 2007 as a joint venture between OMNERC and the DVD Forum, the latter of which was responsible for the failed HD-DVD format. CBHD supporters hope the format will succeed where HD-DVD didn't by offering better copy protection features. However, Warner Brothers is so far the only Hollywood studio to support CBHD.
The Japanese have peculiar tastes, be it in video games or gadgets. The whimsical idiosyncrasies of a group of Japanese technology enthusiasts with very peculiar tastes have manifest themselves in the form of the Akiduki Pulse box, a device that automatically tweets your heart rate to your buddies. The user needs to press a particular button for a few seconds to send his heart rate to his friends on Twitter. The device, which has been developed by a group named Koress Project, is open source. The group intends to commercialize the device at some point in the future. The Akiduki Pulse box may one day emerge as the world’s first fully automated web-based death announcement device.
Google recently announced that they have planned to retake all of their photographs for the Japanese version of Street View thanks to their cameras being too high for most resident’s fences.
The new images will be taken from 16 inches lower than before, and will blur out license plates to protect the privacy of those potentially in the camera’s view. Japan Probe argues that the height difference will make little to no difference, because many images that have been deemed inappropriate weren’t behind fences. Examples include a high school girl’s chest being touched, a man who has passed out in his own sick, and a couple entering a “love hotel.”
Given what passes for a game show over there, I’m surprised that this is what people are having issues with.