The younger sister of Aico Chihira, on display at the Tokyo metropolitan government building, can provide information to tourists in three languages and eventually be able to respond to direct questions. (Kenji Matsuzawa)
Humanoid receptionist's sister raises the robotic bar with 3 languages
Receptionist Aico Chihira created quite a stir when she first went to work last spring, but her younger sister will have an even wider repertoire of skills.
An artist’s rendition of an ultra-small satellite to be launched by Astroscale Pte. (Provided by Astroscale Pte.)
By getting hit, satellite to shed light on mystery of space debris
With the help of a satellite in a crowded orbit, a venture company and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) plan to survey tiny space debris that threatens the International Space Station (ISS) and other objects.
An artist's rendition of the robotic village that will be set up in Tokyo's Odaiba district in time for the 2020 Olympics (Provided by the science and technology ministry)
Cutting-edge robotic village on drawing board for 2020 Tokyo Olympics
Japan will use the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to showcase its robotics technology and give visitors a sense of a futuristic society where humans are waited on hand and foot by robots.
Algae is being produced at IHI Corp.'s 1,500-square-meter pool in Kagoshima. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Algae is future fuel for thought for big business and government
When scientists huddle around the viridian-colored pool of water and gaze into its depths, they predict a bright, greener future for the world.
The Asahi Shimbun
Hitachi develops software to help people make up their minds
Hitachi Ltd. has developed a software program that can help procrastinators make the tough decisions.
Kiyotaka Ise, senior managing officer for Toyota Motor Corp., speaks at a news conference in Palo Alto, Calif., on Sept. 4. (AP Photo)
Toyota to invest $50M to help automate driving with Stanford, MIT
EAST PALO ALTO, Calif.--Toyota Motor Corp. is investing $50 million with Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in hopes of gaining an edge in an accelerating race to phase out human drivers.
Sony Corp.'s Aibo robotic dog (Provided by the National Museum of Nature and Science)
Aibo earns place in Japan's history of technologies
The National Museum of Nature and Science in Tokyo added Sony Corp.'s Aibo robotic dog to a list of Japanese technologies that changed people's lives.
A bioethanol-fueled DeLorean modeled after the time machine in the “Back to the Future” film franchise is seen in Narita, Chiba Prefecture, on Aug. 28. (Keisuke Katori)
Back to the Future: Trash-fueled DeLorean to hit Tokyo on Oct. 21, 2015
NARITA, Chiba Prefecture--Somewhere in the far-flung future, “Doc” Brown and Marty McFly may be smiling.
Cocomi, a yellow film-like material, is applied to clothing worn inside-out for the purpose of this photo. (Provided by Toyobo Co.)
Toyobo develops wearable material that measures heart rate
Toyobo Co. has developed a film-like material that can measure a person’s heart rate and take other biological readings when the material is applied to the underside of garments or other surfaces.
Chieko Asakawa, a fellow at IBM Japan Ltd., tests a voice guidance system developed with Shimizu Corp. for visually impaired people. (Yuji Shimoyama)
Smartphone-based audio guide aimed at visually impaired
Shimizu Corp. and IBM Japan Ltd. jointly developed a smartphone app to help visually impaired people navigate stairs, corridors, doors and other obstacles in buildings and underground shopping complexes.
A transistor that can be bent like rubber is shown at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture. (Susumu Yoshida)
New transistor bends like rubber, resistant to shock
TSUKUBA, Ibaraki Prefecture--Researchers have developed a flexible, tough and metal-free transistor that can be used as a sensor on clothing and human bodies.
The robot version of Leonardo da Vinci (Ryo Kato)
Leonardo da Vinci rebooted as robot by Osaka University team
Leonardo da Vinci has returned from the grave--as a robot.
The air temperature distribution in Tokyo's Ginza district at 1 p.m. on Aug. 19, 2013, can be seen in this image. (Provided by the NILIM)
Heat-analysis system could make Tokyo a cooler city
Tokyo could have its recent summer heat wave problem solved ... at least in the future, and this could lead to the development of a cooler, greener city.
Contemporary artist Sputniko! poses next to the dress she designed that is woven of genetically altered glowing silk at the farm ministry building in Tokyo on Aug. 24. (Photographed using a yellow filter) (Shigeo Ohata)
Flash look: Dress made of genetically altered glowing silk on display in Tokyo
A dress woven with genetically modified silk that glows in the dark is on display at the farm ministry building in Tokyo's Kasumigaseki district.
Pools to mass-produce algae by stirring the culture fluid with paddle wheels are seen in Minami-Soma, Fukushima Prefecture, on Aug. 7. (Masakazu Honda)
1st algae-based oil producing facility in Fukushima set up in devastated region
MINAMI-SOMA, Fukushima Prefecture--An experimental facility to produce oil from algae was constructed on former farmland that was abandoned after the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami struck the region.
A demonstration testing facility set up in at a villa at Huis Ten Bosch theme park in Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture. It is a hybrid system composed of the two wind-powered turbines on the left and a solar power generator. (Masahiro Yuchi)
Kyudenko to pitch renewable energy system overseas that utilizes solar, wind power
FUKUOKA--Kyudenko Corp. plans to enter overseas markets, primarily in Southeast Asia, with a small-scale power generation system combining the renewable energies of solar and wind power that is less at the mercy of the weather.
Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Scientists develop process to ID fish species present from small water sample
Through only a bucket of water, researchers have developed a new analysis method that can determine the species of fish inhabiting surrounding waters in rivers, ponds and seas.
The Asahi Shimbun
Smartphone map apps will help wheelchairs roll smoothly to Tokyo Olympic venues
In time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, free apps will help wheelchair users find optimal routes when moving between airports and competition venues.
A massive landslide devastated a residential area in Hiroshima on Aug. 20, 2014. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Scientist develops high-accuracy mudflow prediction after fatal Hiroshima landslides
A researcher has created a software program that can forecast with a high degree of accuracy how mud flows and debris spreads in residential areas in the case of a landslide.
Four types of lettuce are produced under artificial lighting at Spread Co.'s plant in Kameoka, Kyoto Prefecture. (Provided by Spread Co.)
Large, fully automated lettuce plant planned in Kyoto
An indoor factory capable of producing 30,000 heads of lettuce per day will be one of the world's largest when it starts operations in summer 2017, automated vegetable plant operator in Kyoto has announced.

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