Tweet in Italian: the Twitter translation project keeps on growing

Back in October, Twitter asked its users to help translate the site into over 70 new languages worldwide. With the Twitter translation project moving full-steam ahead, Italian Twitterers can now tweet away in their mother-tongue. In a statement (translated by…

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Gerald LynchTweet in Italian: the Twitter translation project keeps on growing

Insane Bandai 'Diorama' speaker

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File this one under ‘crazy’ and ‘Japanese’. It’s a pair of speakers, 2x1W, with a mounted diorama of a Tokyo street scene slapped on top of it. It’s so wonderfully tacky that I’m actually rather fond of it.

Want one? No? Okay. Well, if you know anyone who does, then tell them that it’s limited edition – just 2000 are being made – so get moving sharpish. It’ll cost them ¥198,000 (£1,640). That’s what’s known in the trade as ‘too much’.

Bandai (via Akihabaranews)

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Duncan GeereInsane Bandai 'Diorama' speaker

TokyoFlash reveals latest wristwatch creation: Kisai Keisan

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It’s been a while since we’ve marvelled over TokyoFlash’s wristwatches, but the Japanese company has returned with its latest creation — the Kisai Keisan.

The watch combines a raised convex bubble lens with precision-engineered optical technology which diffuses the LEDs for a bright, magnified lighting effect. At least, that’s what TokyoFlash says…

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Andy MerrettTokyoFlash reveals latest wristwatch creation: Kisai Keisan

Voice-controlled toy helicopters coming later this year

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Evil geniuses, take note. Your army of drone planes that currently need to be controlled by an army of assistants will, in March, become obsolete when Tokyo-based Taiyo corp releases a voice-controlled toy helicopter. It’s going to understand English and Japanese, and understands “”start engine,” “up,” “hold,” “down” and “stop”. No “forward”?

It’s battery-powered, 18cm long, and can fly 10m away from the operator. You need to wear a headset to control it, too. Still, it’s likely you’ll be able to mod it to carry tiny miniguns, and hack it to fire on voice command, too. If everything goes wrong, you can control it by conventional remote, too. It’ll cost $60 (£42 or so).

(via CrunchGear)

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Duncan GeereVoice-controlled toy helicopters coming later this year

The μTRON Keyboard – a terrifying new form of Japanese brain torture

As if typing isn’t a difficult and tiresome enough chore that only exists because voice and brain recognition technology is STILL rubbish, here’s something to make it harder. The μTRON Keyboard. A keyboard that’s been chopped up and rearranged. An invention that could halve office productivity over night.

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The μTRON Keyboard comes in two pieces, with the space bar relegated…

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Gary CutlackThe μTRON Keyboard – a terrifying new form of Japanese brain torture

Like Japanese food? Get the Motoman industrial robot to cook it for you

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Visitors to the International Next-Generation Robot Fair in Osaka who get a bit peckish can head over to the stand where the Motoman SDA10 robot has demonstrated its culinary abilities.

This two-armed robot can do a range of things, and cooking okonomiyaki is just one thing on its impressive resumé. It’s even more impressive because it can take orders from customers using speech recognition technology and then create the dish using standard kitchen utensils. It even flips the pancake-like dish…

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Andy MerrettLike Japanese food? Get the Motoman industrial robot to cook it for you

Japan set to cross another invention off Arthur C. Clarke's list – sets aside £5bn for "space elevator"

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A mere 30 years after Arthur C. Clarke first mooted the idea of running super-thin, lightweight cables into space and tethering them to a satellite in his book The Fountains of Paradise, Japanese scientists reckon they’re ready to bring all the parts together and make it happen.

For a relatively low in space travel terms bill of £5bn, the boffins think they’re close to solving the carbon nanotube technology issue that could make the existence of 22,000 mile-long cables possible. That amount of rope or even Ethernet cable…

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Gary CutlackJapan set to cross another invention off Arthur C. Clarke's list – sets aside £5bn for "space elevator"

Touchy-feely Robot-Skin for Robots (and maybe us)

Everyone loves a robot. Especially a sensitive robot. Just look at WALL-E or Johnny-5. When it comes to a robot who has the capacity to feel, we all go a bit gooey inside. The cold, unfeeling, emotionless robot is a metaphor for that fear we have of losing what it is to be human.

Okay, so i'm playing loose with the double-meanings behind the word 'feel' and 'sensitive', because we're not talking emotional robots, or robots with 'feelings' but rather robots which can feel. Like in objects, and surroundings. LIke we can, physically.

Yes, some rather smug looking Japanese researchers/scientists/tech-bods have stumbled upon the perfect answer to the problem of making Robots completely sensitive to their environment. Be it cold, hot, hard, or soft. The skin they've developed looks like tin foil, gold tin foil like the stuff they wrap around marathon runners at the end of the race. Space Blankets i think they're called. Anyway, it looks like that, but it's not. It's a fine rubbery material that has hundreds and thousands of tiny carbon particles inside which allow conductivity of electricity. The skin can be stretched to 2.3 times it's normal size, allowing it to bend around a robot's metal frame and move with joints like a glove.

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Ryan WeirTouchy-feely Robot-Skin for Robots (and maybe us)