The lunar rover developed by the Hakuto research team (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Japanese team wins 'milestone award' for lunar rover development
A Japanese private-sector team was one of five entries to receive a special prize to develop an unmanned lunar rover by sponsor Google Inc.
The Asahi Shimbun
TEPCO to rely on cosmic beams to glimpse melted fuel inside Fukushima reactors
Tokyo Electric Power Co. will use cosmic rays at the crippled reactors at its Fukushima plant to identify sites with melted fuel.
Sony Corp.’s Aibo robot dog (Provided by Sony Corp.)
Sony spinoff applies Aibo intelligence to home electricity-measurement system
Former technicians of Sony Corp. have used the artificial intelligence of the company’s famed robotic dog Aibo to develop a home-use system that measures power consumption for each electrical appliance.
Information in Thai appears on a tablet computer screen when a QR code is scanned at Kansai International Airport. (Ryuji Nakagawa)
Codes provide info in 9 languages at Kansai International Airport
IZUMISANO, Osaka Prefecture--Kansai International Airport has eased the way for overseas travelers with the Jan. 20 start of a smart-device service that offers tourist information in nine languages.
A map offered by the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan shows the active Tachikawa fault in red. (Susumu Yoshida)
Hazard map shows smartphone users disaster risk at a click
Smartphone users can now access information about areas at risk of natural disasters using a new map service offered by the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan (GSI).
A shirt, socks and pillowcase that are made from the material developed by Teijin Ltd. and Kansai University that can copy the movements of users (Tomoyuki Izawa)
Teijin, Kansai University develop fabric that copies movements of wearer
Teijin Ltd. and Kansai University have developed a new clothing fabric that converts a wearer’s movements into electrical data that can be mimicked elsewhere, such as by a robot.
Masayoshi Kano, an assistant professor at Chukyo University, right, cradles his Smiby robot at the school's campus in Nagoya. (Yuta Takahashi)
Demanding baby robot consoles solitary elderly people, keeps them busy
NAGOYA--To help alleviate a sense of isolation among elderly people living alone, a robot baby that craves constant attention from its "parent" like a newborn will hit the market on Jan. 21.
The Aldebaran Robotics’ Nao, which will become part of the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ staff in spring (From the Aldebaran Robotics’ website)
French-made robot lands gig at nation's largest bank helping customers
The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ will introduce a humanoid robot to its staff lineup in spring to attract customers and offer them guidance to the right counter.
A worker, wearing a strap-on robotic device, lifts a box in Ichihara, Chiba Prefecture, on Dec. 17. (Ken Miyazaki)
New strap-on robotic devices offer lift to aged workers, undermanned companies
At a UPR Corp. distribution center in Ichihara, Chiba Prefecture, a 56-year-old male worker, wearing a strap-on motorized device that gave him an additional lifting force of 15 kilograms, easily hefted a 30-kg box on a recent workday.
The Asahi Shimbun
NEC uses image processing technology to determine safety of roads and bridges
NEC Corp. has developed technology that enables engineers to estimate the internal deterioration of aging concrete structures, such as roads and bridges, by analyzing video images of their surfaces.
A developer uses the Fish Analyzer to measure lipid levels in horse mackerel during a recent demonstration event in Omura, Nagasaki Prefecture. (Kyosuke Yamamoto)
Nagasaki team develops affordable 'analyzer' to sort out the tastiest fish
NAGASAKI--Researchers at the prefectural government, a public university and other local institutions here have jointly developed the “Fish Analyzer,” an electronic device that can measure lipid levels in fish, which costs less than one-tenth of conventional detectors using infrared rays.
Cyberdyne’s transport robot carries a heavy rice bag during a news conference in Tokyo on Dec. 24. (Aki Fukuyama)
Omron, Cyberdyne join forces on factory robotics
Omron Corp. will provide motion-detecting sensors for Cyberdyne Inc.’s robotic products, including wearable devices that allow users to emulate the movements of skilled workers at factories and construction sites, the companies said Dec. 24.
A Japanese space development team’s moon surface probe maneuvers through Hamamatsu’s Nakatajima sand dunes during a field experiment on Dec. 18. (Tomohiro Yamamoto)
Japan XPRIZE hopefuls take lunar rover on 'moon run' in Hamamatsu dunes
HAMAMATSU, Shizuoka Prefecture--A team of entrepreneurs and engineers held a trial run here on Dec. 18 of an experimental rover it developed for a high-profile Google Inc. contest to create a moon probe.
A drone for surveying volcanoes flies over Mount Sakurajima in Kagoshima Prefecture in an operational test on Dec. 9. (Yu Kamata)
Drones surveying volcanoes to enhance disaster response
KAGOSHIMA--To improve preparations for volcanic eruptions, scientists are testing the abilities of automated drones to gather topographical data and other information of potential disaster areas.
The Hokkaido Shinkansen Line's H5-series train exits the Seikan Tunnel on its way to Imabetsu, Aomori Prefecture, on Dec. 7. (Hideoki Kozuki)
1st Hokkaido Shinkansen crosses strait, arrives in Aomori on trial run
IMABETSU, Aomori Prefecture--A cheering crowd of local residents and railway buffs greeted the first Shinkansen from Hokkaido as it came gliding out of the early morning mist into Okutsugaru-Imabetsu Station here on Dec. 7.
A demonstrator in a prototype wearable robotic device uses his brain waves to order the equipment to help him get a glass of water from a faucet on Dec. 4 in Seika, Kyoto Prefecture. (Tatsuyuki Kobori)
Scientists develop 'mind-reading' robotics to assist in daily lives
SEIKA, Kyoto Prefecture--Researchers on Dec. 4 demonstrated a prototype wearable robotic device that can “read” minds and carry out activities for elderly users and people with physical disabilities.
A demonstration of a computing machine developed seven decades ago is given at the Tokyo University of Science in Shinjuku Ward on Dec. 1. (Hisatoshi Kabata)
Early computer dating to 1944 solving complex equations again after long 'reboot'
An early analog computer developed seven decades ago that was a forerunner of the modern computer was brought back "online" at the Tokyo University of Science in Shinjuku Ward on Dec. 1.
The Asahi Shimbun
JAEA seeks to resume research on new type of nuke reactor it says is safer
The Japan Atomic Energy Agency is seeking to resume research and development of a new type of nuclear reactor that it claims is safer, even as experts raise doubts about such efforts in the wake of the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident.
Toyota Motor Corp. will test its automated highway driving assistance systems on this vehicle from next month. (Hirobumi Ohinata)
Toyota to sell self-driving cars by 2017
Toyota Motor Corp. plans to commercialize by 2017 cars equipped with automated assistance systems capable of self-navigating on one lane of a highway and maintaining a safe distance from other vehicles.
Cocoons woven by silkworms containing spider genes (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Project under way in Kyoto to commercialize spider-silkworm thread
KYOTANGO, Kyoto Prefecture--A government-academic collaboration project plans to commercially develop high-performance silk created through genetic engineering between spiders and silkworms in about five years.

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