Jan 1, 1998

Electrical Fantasista: Hip technology you can feel

Cutting-edge technology meets art at Electrical Fantasista, an exhibit and series of events held at BankART Studio NYK in Yokohama (Feb 24 – Mar 14). The exhibit is divided into four zones that explore the future of modern lifestyle.

ZONE 1: Positive Living
Artists and scientists from Japan have created robots and machines that rely on IT to bring comfort to people. The works in this zone fuse art with the latest in technology to evoke true delight, providing a glimpse into the future of relaxation.

ZONE 1 works
- Tabby: Communicative healing IT interior that reacts to voice and touch
- PARO: Interactive seal robot with therapeutic powers recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records
- Co-animation table: Table that anyone can enjoy to create animation
- Mutant Critter: “Skins” that transform things into furry creatures
- Mr. Jones Watches: Series of retro-futuristic watches with a variety of unique functions
- Katazukue: Tidy table that forces slobs to clean up

PARO, the healing seal robot

ZONE 2: Game Is Life
The “games” in Zone 2 are the stuff that fuels the development of games. But beware, these works of art from Germany and Japan venture dangerously into realms ordinary games only dream to go, which explains why gamers and developers from across the globe are dying to try them out.

ZONE 2 works
- PainStation: Arcade game that exposes the loser to electric heat/shock and lashings
(Note: Due to the possibility of physical harm, play is limited to those who agree to bear full responsibility for any injury incurred.)
- Through the looking glass: Air hockey game that pits you against your mirror image
- MisLeading MisReading: Artificial intelligence message game that uses advanced speech recognition and machine translation technology to translate your spoken words


ZONE 3: Electrical Lounge


Zone 3 explores new types of experience in optics. Relying on the latest in optic technology, such as LED and sensors, the works in this zone go beyond the flashing of lights to magically stimulate all the senses. Here, visitors experience new forms of comfort and stimulation.

ZONE 3 works
- Kaze-no-michi: Light sculpture that transforms the beauty of wind into light that illuminates the floor
- MorphoTower: Living sculpture of magnetic fluid that continuously morphs into magical shapes
- Fuwa Pica: Sofas that change color when you sit — soft on the eyes, soft to the touch

ZONE 4: Flash Fantasista
Zone 4 features a selection of interactive art chosen the curators. See http://www.shift.jp.org for details.

(Map to BankART Studio NYK)

Electrical Fantasista

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KOTOHANA communicates emotions from afar

NEC, NEC Design and SGI Japan have teamed up to develop KOTOHANA, flower-shaped terminals that use LED light to remotely communicate human emotions.

Each KOTOHANA set consists two flower-shaped terminals equipped with LEDs that change color according to the emotions of the person who owns the counterpart. Each flower contains a microphone that captures voice data for processing, the results of which are sent via wireless LAN to the other terminal, where it is expressed as LED light.


KOTOHANA’s Sensibility Technology (ST) emotion recognition engine, which was developed by SGI Japan with the cooperation of AGI, detects joy, sorrow, calmness and excitement in speech patterns. Happiness is expressed as yellow, sadness as blue, calmness as green, and excitement as red. Changing emotions are expressed through subtle color gradations and variations in light brightness.

The product is still in the prototype stage, with the ST engine running on a separate computer connected to KOTOHANA. NEC plans to showcase KOTOHANA at CeBIT, the international trade show for information and telecommunications technology to be held from March 9 to 15 in Hannover, Germany.

KOTOHANA communicates emotions from afar

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Housefly gets a new look

Scientists using special laser technology have crafted a pair of mini-spectacles (2 mm) and placed them on the head of a housefly.

Fly dons pair of mini-spectacles

This photograph is part of a science photo exhibit being held in Munich, Germany from March 20 to 25.

Housefly gets a new look

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Robo Garage unveils FT mini-fembot

FT, the feminine robot
On April 7, Robo Garage, a venture company of Kyoto University, unveiled a slender and agile biped female robot.
Named FT (short for “Female Type”), the robot has a plastic and carbon fiber body, weighs 800 grams (1.8 lbs.), and stands 35 centimeters (13 inches) tall. Her 23 joints enable her to perform a range of fashion model type moves, like arching her back and swinging her hips as she walks, as well as runway-style turns. FT’s components were designed and arranged to create a feminine body line.
Robo Garage, who spent about one year working to realize its dream of creating a feminine robot, has not yet determined whether FT will be made commercially available.
“In developing FT, we also sought the advice of pro models,” says Tomotaka Takahashi, head of Robo Garage. “I hope that by evoking a sense of familiarity and comfort, FT can expand the potential of robots.”

Nishinippon Shimbun

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Artificial muscles for superhuman soldiers

Artificial muscles for superhuman soldiers
Jo Revill
Sunday, March 19, 2006

Scientists have developed artificial, super-strength muscles powered by alcohol and hydrogen, which could eventually be used to make much better prosthetic limbs. The artificial muscles are 100 times more powerful than the body's own, and researchers believe they could be modified one day to use in 'exoskeletons', to give superhuman strength to certain professions such as firefighters, soldiers and astronauts.

Two types of muscle are being investigated by US researchers at the Nanotech Institute at the University of Texas in Dallas, working with colleagues from South Korea. Writing in the journal Science, they explain that both kinds release the chemical energy of fuels, such as hydrogen and alcohol, while consuming oxygen. The muscles are replicating the first stage in breathing, by taking in oxygen. The existing versions of these artificial muscles are driven by batteries.

However, neither of the types developed by researchers looks even slightly like a normal muscle - they are made up of wires, cantilevers and glass bottles.

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Don't Drink And Drive

He's on a mission

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Light Sleeper

 Light SleeperLight Sleeper is an illuminating, personalised alarm integrated into bedding that gently wakes in the most natural way. Ever since the beginning of time light has controlled our body clock telling us when to sleep and when to wake. As lifestyles are rapidly changing with increased travel and demands on our time, people's natural body clocks are out of sync. This pillow and duvet simulates a natural dawn that eases you into your day. LightSleeper Bedding uses electroluminescent technology allowing traditional textile surfaces to become a reactive light source.

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Toilets rise to the occasion

 Toilets rise to the occasionFuturistic toilets which rise out of the ground could be used to tackle the problem of men urinating in the street.
Aberdeen City Council officials said there were not enough toilets available at night when revellers pack the city centre bars and restaurants.
It is considering installing two 6ft Urilift retractable cubicles which look like manhole covers until hydraulic cylinders bring them from the pavement.
They would be operated by Aberdeen City Council staff using remote controls.
Up to three men at a time can use the urinal facility.
Although it is not suitable for women, the designer has said he is creating a Uri-toilet which can be used by both sexes.
A more traditional free-standing toilet is also being suggested to the council, at a total cost of up to £125,000.
Council officials Dave Gordon and Gordon McIntosh have brought the proposal to the environment and infrastructure committee.
In their report they said: "There is a wide range of provision by the private sector in Aberdeen.
"The city has a thriving entertainment industry and the pubs, clubs and restaurants all have toilet provision for customers.
"The difficulty is that, unlike the continental situation, access to these facilities is generally confined to customers and patrons. There is no accepted 'off-street' access."
Council members have been enthusiastic about the proposals, with Councillor Steve Delaney saying the Urilift would be particularly welcome around the city's Justice Mill Lane and Langstane Place, where residents and businesses complain that their premises are often used as toilets when people spill out of late-night bars.

Alarm clock that hides

Alarm clock that hides
Clocky is a clock for people who have trouble getting out of bed. When the snooze bar is pressed, Clocky rolls off the table and finds a hiding spot, a new one every day.

An alarm clock that hides, so you have to get out of bed to turn it off.

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Rex The Talking Medication Bottle

 Rex The Talking Medication BottleWith the development of Rex-The Talking Bottle, MedivoxRx ® has met its original goal: To manufacture a disposable talking bottle that provides audible label information and thus makes information about their medications more accessible to people who are elderly, visually and cognitively impaired, illiterate, or speak a different language. After testing several prototypes, Rex-The Talking Bottle was the overwhelming choice.

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