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.
A facial recognition test is conducted at Narita Airport on Aug. 4. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Japan to use facial recognition screening at airports
The Justice Ministry plans to introduce an automated facial recognition system for Japanese travelers at airports to slash the waiting time in screening procedures to enter the country.
An artist's conception of Shimizu Corp.'s Ocean Spiral structure (Provided by Shimizu Corp.)
First deep-sea city of the future could be reality by 2030
Residents could be living in a massive eco-city extending thousands of meters beneath the ocean's surface within 15 years, according to a plan unveiled Nov. 18 by a leading Japanese construction firm.
Toshiba Corp. has developed a system to produce hydrogen from water using sunlight. (Provided by Toshiba Corp.)
Toshiba develops portable solar-powered hydrogen system for use in fuel cells
Toshiba Corp. has developed an energy supply system that may be the ultimate in eco-friendliness because it uses only sunlight and water, with no carbon dioxide emissions, to produce hydrogen.
Patriot Advanced Capability 3 (PAC3) missile interceptors are deployed on a Defense Ministry compound in Tokyo in April in preparation for a possible launch of a North Korean missile. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Japan plans to load sensor on satellite to better detect N. Korean missiles
The Defense Ministry is developing an infrared ray sensor for early warning satellites to help Japan detect ballistic missile launches on its own.
The Procyon microsatellite developed by the University of Tokyo and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency in Tokyo on Nov. 5 (Akemi Kanda)
3 microsatellites to 'rocketpool' with Hayabusa 2 asteroid explorer
Researchers on Nov. 5 unveiled a microsatellite that will hitch a ride aboard an H-2A rocket to explore an asteroid in orbit between Earth and Mars.
Shunji Sakurazawa, head of design and development at Xenesys Inc., with equipment used to produce power through ocean thermal energy conversion technology in Imari, Saga Prefecture (Shinya Haraguchi)
Saga plant riding the wave of the future in ocean thermal energy conversion technology
IMARI, Saga Prefecture--Unlike solar and wind power output, there is a renewable energy source that is not at the mercy of the weather and can supply electricity around the clock.
The screen shows how an artificial intelligence program solves English questions. After the questions are translated by humans into computer language, the program selects questions and seeks methods to solve them. (Hisatoshi Kabata)
Researchers: AI program smart enough to enter 80% of private universities
An artificial intelligence (AI) program can now pass the entrance examinations of 80 percent of private universities in Japan but still falls short of acceptance to the nation’s most prestigious school, researchers said.
A newly developed yellow morning glory, left, with a cream-colored variant used in the project (Provided by the National Institute for Basic Biology)
Researchers bring extinct vibrant yellow morning glory back into bloom
OKAZAKI, Aichi Prefecture--A long-lost yellow morning glory believed to be extinct has been brought back to life, thanks to the creative work of a national research team.
A newly developed device determines the safety of liquids stored in bottles in seconds. (Hisatoshi Kabata)
Research team develops liquid bomb detector that works in seconds
Japanese researchers have developed a counterterrorism device that can quickly determine if the liquid inside a bottle or can is explosive or flammable, which could greatly speed up baggage inspections at airports.
A memory component made with fused silica glass (Hisatoshi Kawabata)
Hitachi high-density data storage chip set to take ride on rocket
Hitachi Ltd. announced Oct. 20 that it has developed technology that can write data onto highly heat- and radiation-resistant fused silica glass that is capable of storing data for up to 300 million years.
Kao Corp. is looking into algae as a potential source of surfactants for shampoo. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Kao in a lather over algae-based shampoo
Household goods maker Kao Corp. may soon be using algae to produce cleansing agents for its products, specifically shampoo.
A human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell (Provided by Shinya Yamanaka)
Cosmetics maker Kose uses iPS technology to take 30 years off man's skin
Cosmetics maker Kose Corp. has succeeded in taking the equivalent of about 30 years off the life of skin samples from a 67-year-old man using induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, the company said Oct. 15.

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