When Germany hosted the 2006 World Cup, people flocked to public parks, arenas, and sporting stadiums worldwide to watch the games on massive screens at public viewing events. If Japan lands its bid for the 2022 Cup, you may be able to go to your local soccer stadium and view real-time 3-D hologram displays of tournament games projected full-size on the pitch.
As elegance in engineering goes, it doesn't get much better: a functioning ornithopter modeled after a swallowtail butterfly. Japanese researchers fashioned their faux swallowtail to mimic the precise flying motion of the real thing, hoping its unique flying motion can inform future aerodynamic designs.
A probe to the solar system's most hellish planet is set for launch later today in Japan. If all goes well, the Japanese Akatsuki probe, about the size of a small car, should reach the second planet by December, where it will study the sulfuric acid clouds of the Venusian atmosphere.
Launch time is set for 6:15 a.m. Tuesday in Japan -- about 5:15 p.m. Eastern time Monday. Akatsuki means "dawn" in Japanese, a nod to Venus' status as the morning star in that part of the world. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, JAXA, which developed the probe, is calling it the first meteorological satellite on another world.
Given the financial situations in Greece, Spain, and Portugal in recent weeks, the Euro Zone has plenty of reason to be down on itself. But Poland is showing a bit of financial-sector flash this week, becoming the first nation in Europe to install biometric ATM machines that read fingerprints rather than magnetic cards.
Japan's robot love is set to go out of this world with a plan to put a bipedal robot on the moon by 2015. Yet the bipedal robot's main mission seems curiously lacking in ambition – it's tasked only with planting the Japanese flag on the lunar surface, according to CrunchGear.
Touchscreens can start polishing their resumes now, because a touchless future is drawing closer for the next generation of smartphones. The ever-industrious Ishikawa Komuro Laboratory in Tokyo has enabled mobile devices to touchlessly recognize movements and gestures from user's fingers, according to Geek.com.
There are currently more than 60,000 taxis cruising around Japan, a number that accounts for 20 percent of the country's CO2 emissions. To promote environmental health, the Japanese government has joined with Better Place, a US firm specializing in electric vehicle development, to come up with a solution: electric taxis powered by replaceable batteries. Today, three of the taxis will begin their circuit during a 90-day experiment funded by Japan's energy agency.
Japan's insatiable love for robots and mind-reading technology has converged in the form of a new government-industry partnership. That means Japanese consumers can look forward to robots and electronics controllable by thought alone within a decade, according to Agence France-Presse.
Over the weekend, video of a horrifying robot struggling to sound out vowels was passed around the web with little explanation other than, "This is creepy." Which it certainly is, but, after digging around for information, we found that despite the robot's nightmarish appearance and voice, its inventors actually intended the babbling for serious business--namely, for helping hearing-impaired people improve their speech articulation.
Harvesting the bounty of the earth is harder than it looks, especially you're over 65 years old -- as two-thirds of Japan's farmers are. For those whose joints ache more with every radish pulled out of the ground, Shigeki Toyama, a professor at Tokyo Agriculture and Technology (TAT) University, has developed a motorized exoskeleton designed to boost the wearer's strength by 62 percent.