In 2015, two American engineers, Gui Cavalcanti and Matt Oehrlein, set out to build a giant human-piloted combat robot called Mk. II MegaBot that could drive on tank tracks and fire 3-pound projectiles. The robot was pretty cool, they thought, but who would they fight? So they decided to challenged the only other giant piloted robot in the world to a duel. That robot was a 4-metric-ton mech known as Kurata and built by Suidobashi Heavy Industry in Japan. The Japanese accepted the challenge.
The National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) in Tokyo has ordered a supercomputer system from Fujitsu as it looks to build a cloud-based "open innovation platform" for artificial intelligence applications called AI Bridging Cloud Infrastructure (ABCI). Fujitsu's supercomputer system will offer a theoretical peak performance in half-precision floating point operations of 550 petaflops, and 37 petaflops of double-precision floating point operation performance, the publicly-listed Japanese IT giant has said. Front-end subsystem will comprise 160 basic front-end nodes featuring Intel Skylake Xeon processors and Nvidia Quadro P4000 graphics cards, as well as four high-capacity front-end nodes featuring 12 terabytes of memory each, in addition to other servers. Its file system is also FEFS on six Fujitsu Server Primergy RX2540 M2 PC servers; eight Fujitsu Storage Eternus DX200 S3 storage systems; and one Fujitsu Storage Eternus DX100 S3 storage system to provide the IO processing demanded by deep learning analysis.
The country has launched its fourth Michibiki satellite, which expands a "quasi-zenith" system designed to provide greater access to GPS in urban'canyons' where buildings tend to block signals from lower-orbit satellites. While Japan's armed forces are largely focused on defense, this fourth quasi-zenith satellite could help those calling on the nation to buy cruise missiles as a deterrent to North Korea. There have been objections over the militarization of space (Japan banned military uses for 39 years, until 2008), but North Korea's growing belligerence might see the satellite find use for combat. The ultimate goal is to operate a cluster of seven Michibiki satellites by 2023, which should be enough to offer true independence.
At this month's Tokyo Motor Show, Mitsubishi will make the world debut of its e-Evolution Concept, an all-electric concept with Artificial Intelligence that will suggest the near-future direction of Mitsubishi Motors. Coordinating driver intent with vehicle performance, Mitsubishi says the system will provide support to drivers by augmenting their abilities. Mitsubishi promises some of these features will be demonstrated during the vehicle's display at the Tokyo Motor Show. Press days for the 45th Tokyo Motor Show will be held on October 25th and 26th, opening to the general public on Oct. 28.
The battle for smart-speaker supremacy in Japan has begun, with major firms announcing the launches Thursday of new products armed with high-tech voice-controlled features. Tech firms have been gearing up to develop AI smart-speaker platforms, which are expected to create a new secondary market similar to how smartphones created a huge market for apps. Although Line dominates the messaging app market in Japan, it is expected to face tough competition in the smart-speaker sector. On Thursday, Google also announced the launch of a similar product in Japan.
I took a look at the Home Mini at Google's satellite London event, and if other speakers left you cold, this unassuming AI speaker might win you over. Google's miniature version hones down last year's Home into a smaller design, but with all of the smarts. If the Dot is the Home MIni's biggest rival, then Google has Amazon beat on sound quality. Yes, that's not why you'd buy one, maybe, but you'd also be getting a connected smart speaker that can play Spotify, Google Music and plenty more services -- not to mention all the connected tricks it can do with Smart TVs and your smart home.
Amazon has been on quite an expansion push with its smart home speaker line recently, but now it's clear that they're increasing more than just the number of Echo devices on the market. The company announced today that Echo and Alexa are now available in India by invitation only, and they'll expand to Japan later this year. According to Tom Taylor, the SVP of Amazon Alexa, the company will also open the Alexa Skills Kit and Alexa Voice Service in order to allow developers to create customized software for Indian and Japanese customers. This expansion marks the first foray into Asia for the Echo, a necessary step for Amazon to compete in the smart home speaker market.
It will also begin selling three Alexa-enabled devices in India: the Amazon Echo, Echo Plus and Echo Dot. English in India isn't quite like English in the United States or the United Kingdom, and Amazon clearly knows that. And if you ascribe to the notion that England and the United States are two nations divided by a common language, in a pinch you could include Alexa's United Kingdom version, which proudly uses the Queen's English. The Amazon announcement comes as Google is expected to introduce new versions of its Google Home digital assistant product -- and that Home will be available in Japan later this week.
This year, CEATEC has attracted 667 companies and organizations, up 2.9 percent from the 648 exhibitors last year. But if you look inside, some dramatic changes are happening," said Kiyoshi Shikano, executive vice president of Japan Electronics Show Association, CEATEC's organizer. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. is showing off financial technology services, including a foreign exchange prediction system co-developed with Tokyo-based artificial intelligence startup AlpacaJapan Co. MUFG, as the banking group is known, sees collaboration with startups as a way to accelerate its "open innovation," which combines the company's vision and assets with external technical expertise, said Hirofumi Aihara, general manager of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group's Digital Transformation Division. Meanwhile, major electronics maker Panasonic Corp. exhibited a computer that can calculate the nutritional content of food in about 10 seconds.