12.02.2019

Expanding toy platform

Sony is focusing on developing educational toys as well as gadgets. The educational toy platform toio has just been released in March this year, but already has several expansion packs and offers children various ways to play.


Originally this was a toy product born from Sony's in-house entrepreneurship support project, and the prototype was released on crowdfunding. Then they renewed its hardware and developed a general consumer version. It consists of a small block robot called a toio cube, a console that contains software, and two ring-shaped controllers. It may look like a game console, or you may also think of this as a radio controlled robot. But that's just one of the elements. First of all, children can learn programming to move robots using physical cards called instruction cards. To make a toio cube remember a program, simply place it on the instruction card. It's easy, but children can do complex programming with a combination of cards. A picture book is included in the programming kit using toio cube, and children can learn the basics of programming while reading this, combine instruction cards, and move the toio cube according to the situation of the picture book. If children get used to programming with physical cards, they can learn visual programming languages and more advanced programming from their PCs and run toio cube. If they get tired of playing toio cube only move, the various expansion kits allow children to control complex games themselves. The list price is 18,678 yen (tax included), and it is already sold at major mail-order sites and consumer electronics mass retailers, but depending on the shops you may be able to buy it cheaper.

12.01.2019

Let's enjoy DIY and programming together!

2020 Japanese elementary school is busy. Because programming classes are also required. Takara Tomy released a robot toy embot, that adding elements of programming learning to DIY art.



This is a programming education robot born from NTT DOCOMO's new business creation program. It's a seemingly simple cardboard robot, but it has core parts, buzzers, LED lights, and servo motors, and children can assemble robots that work by combining them. In addition, they can learn programming with an application that link with this, and move the robot accordingly. This programming language is a visual programming language that children can easily understand. It doesn't matter if your children don't have their own PC. The application can be used only on a smartphone or tablet. And, because it is a cardboard that is an exterior of the robot, children can enjoy custom by painting or adding decorations to it. The target age is over 8 years old, and the power source of the robot is 4 AAA alkaline batteries. The price is 6600 yen (tax included) and the application is free to download.

11.30.2019

Learn English with dance and AR

In 2020, English classes will be required in the upper grades of Japanese elementary schools. So Sega Toys has developed a learning toy Wonderful Channel that allows children to learn English while dancing in front of a monitor.



The main body of this is a dog-shaped camera, when you connect it to a home TV monitor, displays the children on the screen. It also has a motion sensor and an AR function, which adds various images to the children's motion. The video content is learn English words while dancing, and children can learn English happily with the dance. Furthermore, they can transform into animals or fairy tale characters by AR. It will be an experience as they were in the fairy tale world. Any number of people that can fit on the monitor screen can be recognized by the motion sensor, so parents and children can play together. It has more than 60 types of content, and you can choose the right content from 5 steps tailored to your children's age and learning stage. The target age is over 3 years old. The size is 95mm x 95mm x 100mm and has accessories such as a remote control, stand and HDMI cable. Batteries are required for the main unit and remote control(Body: 3 AA batteries, Remote control: 2 AAA batteries). The price is 14,300 yen (including tax), and you can purchase it at major mail order sites and consumer electronics mass retailers.

11.08.2019

Compact but powerful

In October, typhoons and heavy rains attacked various parts of Japan, and the affected local governments are still focusing on reconstruction. This gadget can be useful in such emergencies and disasters.


PowerArQ is a small-sized portable power supply smaller than the cooler box, but it is very powerful. With a lithium-Ion battery capacity of 174,000mAh / 626Wh, you can even use electric under- blankets overnight. This battery has a large capacity, but it takes 8-10 hours to charge. It supports USB, cigar sockets and common outlets, so you can connect it to various gadgets. If you connect this to a optional solar panel, you can store electricity for free. In addition, This support pass-through charging and can be powered while charging. For example, when you use this while camping outdoors, you can connect the solar panel to this and use some gadgets while charging. Of course, this will be of great help when a disaster causes a major power outage. The size is 300 x 242 x 193mm and weigh is 6kg. The voltage is 3.6V and can be charged more than 300 times. The price is expensive at 66,000 yen(including tax), but it is enough specs to prepare for emergencies and this has already sold 20,000 units.


In addition, this has six kinds of color variations and won the Good Design Award 2019 for pop design.

11.01.2019

Does not turn off even if a power failure occurs


USB-LED01 is an LED sensor light for wall outlet that has a motion sensor. However, the feature is that it will not turn off even if a power failure occurs. You can easily set it by simply plugging it into an outlet, which will always charge by outlet and will not run out of batteries. In addition, automatically turns on and off by motion sensor, so you do not need to operate the switch. The light can be removed from the charging holder and you can use it as a flashlight in case of emergency such as disasters.



When a power failure occurs with this plugged in, the light will automatically turn on, so you can immediately see the surroundings even during a sudden power failure. When used as a flashlight or emergency light, the high-intensity light of up to 140 lumens will allow you to deal with power outages quickly. This lithium-ion battery has a capacity of 500mAh and power consumption of about 1.0W. The charging time is about 32-50 hours, and it can be used continuously for about 3 hours. The size is 65 x 16 x 148mm and weigh is 99g. The price is 4,620 yen (including tax) .

10.29.2019

Oral care in emergency

When evacuating to a shelter due to disasters, oral care tends to be neglected because water is precious, but tooth decay can cause serious life-threatening diseases. SOLADEY is a toothbrush that can brush your teeth using light in an evacuation life.


It has a photocatalytic(TiO2 titanium oxide) semiconductor, and it reacts with light and water to generate negative electrons(e-), which can remove plaque. That means you can brush your teeth well without using toothpaste and save water. It also has a solar panel that, when exposed to light, automatically generates the electrons needed to remove plaque. Of course it is waterproof. This is a replaceable brush, you can just replace the brush part and share it with your family, which also reduces the amount of garbage.


Recently, Sei Shop, which sells this product, has released a "survival set" that includes replacement brushes for family members and a pouch. It includes one toothbrush grip part and four replacement brushes and the price is 3850 yen (including tax) . It is a good idea to put it in a disaster prevention bag in case of emergency.

10.10.2019

Measure your child's growth

Children grow up very quickly and it is hard to buy items that fit. Especially when buying shoes, it is important to make sure that your children's feet and shoes are the right size. So, Software developer Techfirm collaborated with children's shoe brand IFME to develop a mobile application for iOS Pittari-IFME that can measure the size of children's feet using AR.


This application uses the iPhone's AR function ARKit, and when you shoot your children's foot with a smartphone camera, it measures the foot size from that image. To increase the accuracy of the measurement, you need to use A4 paper as a comparison object, which allows the application to measure distance in 3D space. This is also designed for cases where children cannot stand still, and the position can be finely adjusted after shooting so that the shooting time is as short as possible. Measurement records are displayed graphically within the application, and you can record the growth of the children's feet. It also sends push messages once every three months to remind you to measure.
Downloading the application is free, and the release of the Android version is undecided.

9.12.2019

[TGS2019 report] Tokyo Game Show 2019 has begun

Today, on September 12, 2019, the biggest game festival in Japan Tokyo Game Show 2019 has began at Makuhari Messe in Chiba Pref. The period is September 12 ~ 15.

The theme of this year's Tokyo Game Show is “More Connected, More Fun.” According to the announcement of the sponsored CESA and Nikkei BP, 655 companies and organizations from 40 countries are exhibiting this year. Among them, there are 350 Japanese companies exhibiting, which is the highest ever. The number of exhibition booths reached a record high of 2417. The games on display are 1522 titles.

This year's Tokyo Game Show is focused on streaming, and will provide reports videos in English and Chinese, and videos with English subtitles on various platforms. If you want to watch them, first check the official website of the English version of the Tokyo Game Show.

https://expo.nikkeibp.co.jp/tgs/2019/en/event/movie







9.10.2019

Apps that prevent mistakes in buying clothes

When buying new clothes on online shops, it's awkward to get the wrong size, and trying in real stores is troublesome. As new features of their mobile application, UNIQLO has released MySize CAMERA, that allows users to measure their body with the cameras of their smartphones. But if we know the right size clothes before buying them, it's useful. Fashion retail UNIQLO has released MySize CAMERA, a new feature of their mobile application that allows users to measure their bodies with the cameras of their smartphones.


When you enter your height, weight, gender, and age in the application and upload pictures of yourself taken from two directions, front and left side, the application will automatically create 10 points on your body estimate the size and display them. You can register these estimated sizes in the UNIQLO online store, so you can use them when purchasing clothes online.


If you are troublesome to take pictures, MySize ASSIST, which suggests the best clothing size from data is useful. If you enter your height, weight, gender and age in the application, and then select from your choices such as your stomach or hip shape, your preferred wearing feeling, purchase data for other users of similar body shapes recommends clothes size based on. Of course, this feature is also available in the online store. After you search for clothes using this function, the recommended size is continuously displayed when you browse other clothes. However, items for kids, inner wear, items for babies, maternity wear, room wear, and other goods are not eligible.
These features are currently only available in the iOS version.

9.02.2019

Okayama prefectural gov uses cute VTubers to send prefectural information

Now, virtual Youtuber(VTuber) is very popular in Japan. It's not just geeks, otakus, developers, performers, artists, and actors who are crazy about them.
Today, the prefectural office in Okayama Prefecture, one of the prefectures in Japan, released a publicity video using VTuber.


Their names are Momoko(girl) and Kibito(boy), the Okayama Prefecture certified VTubers. Each voices are played by popular voice actors Yu Serizawa(芹澤優) and Kento Ito(伊東健人). They are students who go to a fictional high school, and tell in the first video how pre-preparation is important in disaster management. It is especially important to check the hazard risk and the route to the evacuation site on the hazard map. Recently, disasters such as typhoons and heavy rains continued in western Japan, including Okayama Prefecture. This is very timely information.





The Okayama Prefectural Gov Public Relations Division has also opened official website of Momoko and Kibito. From now on, they will release various publicity videos by VTubers here.

8.27.2019

Label printer optimized for smartphones

TEPRA is King Jim's popular label printer. On August 20, they released a new small model TEPRA Lite LR30 that can be operated from a smartphone application.


This is a model specialized for smartphones of TEPRA. You can easily create various labels by connecting your smartphone and this with Bluetooth, and using its free mobile application TEPRA Lite. In the application, you can change the size of characters and images, consider their placement, design labels freely, and use emoji, frames and template designs. In addition, you can even create your own caricatures and add photos stored on your smartphones.
This is a palm size of 76mm x 71mm x 46mm, weigh is about 132g, and work by four AAA alkaline batteries. The printing method is thermal, and the maximum printable width is about 9.0mm. Color variations are blue and white and the price is 7,344 yen (tax included).

8.26.2019

Just use a Wi-Fi access point

There are several small projectors already, especially those that can be used in combination with smartphones. Howevwr, what if you want to use the projector and smartphone separately? Therefore, Canon Marketing Japan will release a mini projector C-13W in early October as a new lineup of compact and lightweight mini projector series that can be used without PCs or smartphones.



This is available anywhere Wi-Fi is available, and you can browse web pages and project them onto the screen without having to connect them to your PCs or smartphones. Of course, like other projectors, it also supports HDMI connections, and you can project data stored in 4GB of internal memory or data in USB memory and MicroSD. The size of this is 120mm x 120mm x 33mm and the weigh is 410g. Its battery can be driven for up to 2 hours without connecting to a power adapter, and also functions as a mobile battery when the smart devices are not fully charged. It has a maximum brightness of 130lm and has an LED light source for about 20,000 hours. They envision not only traditional business scenes, but also usage scenes such as construction sites and outdoors.
This is an open-price, but it is pre-sold at a Canon online store for 53,784 yen (including tax).

8.25.2019

Bizarre hotel with hologram characters will open in Tokyo in September

They operate bizarre hotels where the robots serve customers, but next is holograms.


Travel agency H.I.S. Hotel Holdings will open Henna Hotel Tokyo(変なホテル東京: Bizarre hotel Yokyo) in September which uses holograms for front and lobby space production.
This hotel will focus on original entertainment productions that fuse visual technology such as holograms with Japanese art. First of all, hologram dinosaurs, ninjas and butlers are in charge of guest reception. They speak not only Japanese but also English, Chinese, and Korean so foreign travelers can stay here.


When guests chooses a dinosaur, ninja, or butler, various projection mappings lead the guest to the front of the elevator. For example, if you select a hologram ninja at check-in, shurikens(手裏剣: One of the old cutlery weapons to throw) will appear at your feet, and huge footprints will appear when you select a dinosaur.
Hologram and projection mapping works change according to the season. When it opens in September, you will be able to enjoy works with autumn leaves as a motif.



Name: Henn na Hotel Tokyo Asakusa Tawaramachi(変なホテル東京 浅草田原町)
Address: Kotobuki 3-chome 19-8, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Access: 9 minutes on foot from Asakusa Station, 2 minutes on foot from Taharacho Station
Check in: 15:00
Check out: 11:00
Number of rooms: 217rooms
Website: https://www.hennnahotel.com/asakusa-tawaramachi/

8.24.2019

avorite films will be converted into room lights

PYRAMID FILM QUADRA is a company that produces advertising contents usually, but their prototype development team developed a slightly unusual room lamp.


This is a lighting device “Film Lamp” that feels films. It takes colors, lights, and sounds from video signals of film, music video, or games and converts them into room lights and BGM.


To use it, you need real DVDs, and they explain that by setting the DVDs in the player, the videos of the DVDs are converted into room lights.


In developing this, they collaborated with art director Neji Sato, brainstorming based on his ideas, and actually turning it into a physical prototype. Unfortunately, this is a prototype and is not planned for commercial sale. However, they call on you to feel free to contact them if you are interested.

8.23.2019

Bandai Namco opens VR arcade in Beijing, China

Bandai Namco Amusement, an amusement branch of major Japanese game company Bandai Namco, has signed a VR content franchise agreement with Chinese entertainment company XINGBAO INTERNATIONAL CULTURE MEDIA, and They will open VR arcade VR ZONE BEIJING in Chaoyang Park in Beijing this fall.


XINGBAO INTERNATIONAL CULTURE MEDIA is a company that focuses on cultivating a good IP entertainment industry environment by linking IP inside and outside China and entertainment content. They are already producing and promoting Chinese movies and TV shows, movie theater management, and esports business.
On the other hand, Bandai Namco Amusement has already deployed 21 huge VR arcades facilities in Japan and 6 in overseas, and will soon open it in Macau, too. Beijing is the 8th overseas VR arcade overseas, with 13 types of VR attractions. Among them are Gundam, Evangelion, Godzilla, Dragon Ball and Mario Kart.

[Facility name] VR ZONE BEIJING
[Residential] NO 1, SOUTH ROAD, CHAOYANG PARK, CHAOYANG DISTRICT, BEIJING, CHINA
[Facilities area] Approximately 1,700㎡
[Opening date] Fall 2019

8.21.2019

Keep track of your heart rate with your watch

At present, many people measure various data while running. People who are particularly concerned about own health care not only about their running route but also their heart rate. Casio has released WSD-F21HR, the smart watch for outdoor use as a new item of their outdoor brand PRO TREK Smart.



This is a new model that adds a heart rate measurement function based on the WSD-F20 they released in 2017. It has a watch-face that is linked to the heart rate measurement function. When the built-in accelerometer detects the user's movement (walking, running, biking), the heart rate measurement starts automatically. You can check your heart rate zone history for the past 24 hours, daily maximum / minimum heart rate, and daily energy consumption on a regular watch-face. The watch-face on the heart rate measurement screen allows you to check your current heart rate zone, current heart rate, daily maximum / minimum heart rate, and daily energy consumption. When you cross a pre-set heart rate zone, it will be notified with a display and vibration to prevent you becoming over-paced. It can also measure the maximum oxygen intake (per kg body weight) that can be taken into the body per minute, so you can use it as a measure of endurance such as running. In addition, using a mobile application linked to this, you can record and manage daily exercises.
It runs on a rechargeable lithium-ion battery and runs for about 20 hours with a charging time of about 2.5 hours(When heart rate is measured by running / trail running using GPS). The size is about 61.7 x 57.7 x 16.8mm and weighs about 81g. Accessories are an AC adapter and a dedicated charging cable. The price is 61,600 yen (including 10% tax)

8.20.2019

VR horror attraction combining room escape, shooting and zombies

The other day, I wrote about a VR horror show in Sendai, Miyagi Pref.

See Also:
VR horror show that you can enjoy lying down

However, another type of VR horror attraction is being held at department store Forus in Sendai. It combines VR horror attraction with room escape and shooting game. The play fee is 500 yen once.

The title is "Mystery solving horror school "Escape from 360 degrees / 1 minute". The motif is a Japanese school classroom. You are trapped in an unattended classroom and you aim to escape. But there are so many zombies outside the classroom that you have to shoot at their heads. In other words, it combines two types of games. Can you escape the classroom within the time limit? How many zombies can you shoot within the time limit?


The VR HMD used was Oculus GO. Many VR beginners play these VR attractions. So the all-in-one and lightweight Oculus GO is perfect for them.

When you wear Oculus GO, you will first see an eerie classroom. The door is locked, so you explore different places to find hints and find the key. When you get out of the classroom, the zombies approach from three directions. If you shoot their torso, arms and legs, they won't stop. You must shoot their heads exactly.

This does not scare people by visual. Give people a sense of tension. At the venue, the highest score of zombie shooting was posted. That was 73. My score at this time was 69!

This is held until September 1. Even elementary school students can play. Information is here (Japanese).

8.19.2019

Potato chips with Japanese virtual Youtuber collection cards will be released in October

Now, virtual Youtubers(VTubers) are very popular in Japan, which is equivalent to real celebrities and artists. Real or virtual? 3D or 2D? That is not important issues. Are they cute? cool? good at singing? talks interesting? These are the important issues. Reflecting its popularity, in the middle of October, potato chips with popular VTuber collection cards "VTuber Chips" will be released. The price is 242 yen and it will be sold at convenience store FamilyMart, general store Village Vanguard, anime merchandise store Animate, and eCommerce site eStream Store.


The ranks of the cards are N cards, R(rare) cards, and SR(super rare) cards, and there are 16 each. There are 48 kinds of cards, and one card is randomly attached to each bag.

A list of VTubers participating in this.




8.18.2019

A mysterious exhibition to appreciate the clear sound of the full-digital speaker OVO

From August 11 - 18, a mysterious exhibition was held at the Sendai-Forus, department store in Sendai. It is an exhibition to appreciate the "sound".


This event was held by JDSound, who develops audio equipment such as full-digital speaker OVO. They were established after the Great East Japan Earthquake, with the intention of helping boost the economy of Tohoku by making electronic products in the area. OVO is their main product, and it play clear sound via USB instead of Bluetooth. Advantages include better sound quality, no delayed output, no setting up procedure and no need for battery charging. You simply plug it into whatever device you want to amp up the audio on. Its full-digital logic system can handle audio signals and output digital ones using less power than an analog system. It left and right sound channels for a stereo effect and boosts sudden or loud sounds by drawing extra energy to the speaker when needed.

At this exhibition, we were able to enjoy various ASMR(Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) sounds played by OVO.

This is how the venue is. It was an exhibition to appreciate the sound, so of course there were no paintings or photos, just black canvases on an inorganic concrete wall.

The title of this work is "not in time and the madness". As I listened to the canvas to appreciate the sound, I heard a quick touch typing sound in it, so I understood the meaning of the title. What impressed me was that, despite the noisy venue, I was able to hear a clear and realistic sound by bringing my ears closer to the canvas. Why was there an event to enjoy sound at a department store with a lot of noise? This was their challenge.

When I looked at the back of the canvas, OVO was directly taped there! A very simple setting :)
However, it is a good technique to get people who are not familiar with sound and gadgets to understand the performance of OVO. Moreover, it is easy to remain in people's memories because it involves an active action of listening to the sound by bringing the ear close to the canvas.

Sounds that seemed to have a relaxing effect such as bonfire sounds, water sounds, people whispering, and sound of cutting vegetables were on display.
It attracted many people's attention and about 3000 people visited here. This is a staggering figure at a local event.


Currently, they are actively working to release OVO in collaboration with local professional baseball teams and virtual Youtuber, and to release a version of OVO that can customize the exterior. Initially, they raised development funds through crowd funding, but raised more than 90 million yen in only in Japan. Now, OVO is also sold on Amazon.