One thing is certainly true about Japan: They know how to innovate when it comes to technology.
We recently returned from a trip across the world to witness some of the latest Japanese creations at CEATEC, one of the largest tech conferences not just in Asia, but the world.
Here are just a few of the amazing things we found at the conference. Prepare to be geeked.
1. Rohm Lazurite Fly flying origami bird
It weighs 31 grams total. It’s made out of 3D-printed nylon, paper and a homemade circuit board. The whole thing was designed in 90 days by a hobbyist. And it actually flies. Drones have nothing on this thing. So how’s your hobby going?
2. Omron Ping-Pong robot
This giant robot does one thing, and one thing well: It plays Ping Pong. Using sensor technology that it accurate up to 1/1,000th of a second, this robot is not just designed to play Ping Pong, but to do it in as human a fashion as possible. In short, it sometimes misses. It sometimes hits the ball long. In our test, we scored 2 points off the machine, leaving us feeling pretty good about ourselves. For now.
3. Omron Family Eye
Sure, we have the Nest Cam and Canary, but Omron’s Family Eye is designed to not only help you monitor your home, but also to recognize facial expressions (like, say, if your new baby isn’t happy) and body temperature fluctuations (like, say, if your wife is getting sick). And it all comes in a design-friendly package that can be customized to not look like a cold security cam imposing on your happy space.
4. NEC Handheld Mesh Network
Japan is no stranger to disasters, and neither are we. The NEC Handheld Mesh network is designed to create a network by triangulating between emergency vehicles and mobile transceivers/receivers. Think of it like a completely self-contained network for those times when networks go down. It’s an amazing feat and points to a safer, more secure future.
5. Rakuten WallSHOP
Virtually every sci-fi movie features some take on the future of shopping. Rakuten, Japan’s largest online retailer (we’re talking Amazon large), created this interactive wall that allows your smartphone’s browser to control objects on the screen, pull up special deals and get your shop on. It’s super impressive in person and, most importantly, it actually works.
6. Fujitsu Foot Monitor
In our race to strap activity monitors to our bodies as a way to track our health, we’ve somehow forgotten the one part that interfaces with the world perhaps more than any other: the foot. Fujitsu’s Foot Monitor integrates into a shoe to track not only activity, but gait style and other important factors to help you move around better, faster and smarter.
7. Sharp Robohon
It’s a robot. It’s a phone. It’s a personal assistant. Whatever it is, it’s 100 percent Japanese and it was the hit of the show. We’re still not sure what we’d do with it, but we want it.
8. The TMT (or Thirty Meter Telescope)
Mitsubishi has been quietly (depending on whom you ask) constructing the world’s most advanced telescope—3.5 times bigger than anything currently out there—in Hawaii. When finished, the TMT will be the most powerful telescope not just on earth, but in space, too. Even though it will be on solid ground, it will be 10 percent more powerful than Hubble, allowing scientists to see something as small as an insect on the surface of the moon (don’t worry, there are no insects on the moon… that we know of!).
NEC Handheld Mesh Network photo by Ubergizmo