Japan


Pepper Now Available at Funerals as a More Affordable Alternative to Human Priests

IEEE Spectrum Robotics Channel

In Japan, a plastic moulding company called Nissei Eco (which also does funeral arrangements, I guess) is planning to introduce SoftBank's Pepper robot as a cheaper substitute for human priests reading sutras at Buddhist funerals. The average cost of a funeral in Japan is somewhere between two and three million yen, as of the most recent study of the industry, which is nearly a decade old. Nissei Eco is offering the small, white, and aggressively shiny humanoid robot, suitably attired in the robe of a Buddhist monk, as an optional add-on in their a la carte menu of funeral services. And with a per-funeral cost of just 50,000 yen (about $450), the robot costs "significantly less than the cash offerings typically made to Buddhist priests," according to the Japan Times.


What I've learned from studying Robotics in Japan for two weeks

@machinelearnbot

I've had the opportunity to work with the Space Robotics Lab with a team of 6 students (3 from Sapienza University of Rome like me, 2 from Hong Kong University and one from Georgia University), to build a mobile robot that had remote control with a video stream of what the robot sees, but also had autonomous obstacle avoidance and navigation, and other features that were up to us. Implementing autonomous navigation, obstacle avoidance and landmark detection and following was quite harder. Based on those sensors information, I implemented a obstacle avoidance algorithm, that performed evasion maneuvers in the presence of obstacles, but until then the robot wandered randomly anyway. But, since my major is focused on both Robotics and Artificial Intelligence, I decided to expand the software architecture by integrating more advanced deep learning vision models and natural language processing to give the robot commands in english language and make it understand further its environment.


Time prime in worker-scarce Japan for investing in service robots

The Japan Times

Faced with the worst labor shortage in decades, Japanese service companies are finally turning to labor-saving technology, an investment that could lift the sector's woeful level of productivity and allow them to raise wages. It plans to spend about ¥300 million ($2.7 million) to install new technology at its 15 nursing homes in and around Tokyo to make life easier for staff and residents. Capital spending is the most important factor in Japan's productivity growth, Goldman Sachs economists wrote in a recent report. Izumi Devalier, head of Japan economics at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in Tokyo, said the labor shortage could turn out to be an opportunity, forcing Japanese service-sector companies to finally start investing, and perhaps fueling an economic revival.


Microsoft co-founder's remote vehicles find a legendary WWII ship

Engadget

A team piloting Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's research vessel, the R/V Petrel, has found the wreck of the Indianapolis at the bottom of the Philippine Sea. Once it found something, the team used another remotely operated vehicle (the BXL 79) to swoop in and capture the AUV's findings on video. It ends a mystery for the survivors and their families. This isn't Allen's first big expedition (it previously found the wreck of Japan's Musashi and the bell of the HMS Hood), but it suggests that solving additional mysteries is really just a matter of time and effort.


Why Japan will profit the most from artificial intelligence

#artificialintelligence

A resident of the Silver Wing Social Care elderly care home in Tokyo's Chuo Ward chats happily to a staff member in the facility's communal area, while in a nearby room another senior is being helped by a rehabilitation specialist to walk again after a fall last month. The company's flagship care facility began using robots to help care for residents four years ago after being selected by the city government as a test project. Despite the tight labour market and many companies logging record profits, wage inflation remains stubbornly sluggish. But neither the government's employment reforms nor automation are the solution to Japan's labour problems, according to Toyonori Sugita, owner of Daimaru Seisakusho, a metalworking factory just outside Tokyo.


Google engineer sparks backlash after suggesting women unsuited to tech sector jobs

The Independent

In a screed that rocketed around Silicon Valley this weekend, a software engineer at Google blasted the company's efforts to increase the number of minorities and women in its ranks and leadership positions. The giant human-like robot bears a striking resemblance to the military robots starring in the movie'Avatar' and is claimed as a world first by its creators from a South Korean robotic company Waseda University's saxophonist robot WAS-5, developed by professor Atsuo Takanishi and Kaptain Rock playing one string light saber guitar perform jam session A man looks at an exhibit entitled'Mimus' a giant industrial robot which has been reprogrammed to interact with humans during a photocall at the new Design Museum in South Kensington, London Electrification Guru Dr. Wolfgang Ziebart talks about the electric Jaguar I-PACE concept SUV before it was unveiled before the Los Angeles Auto Show in Los Angeles, California, U.S The Jaguar I-PACE Concept car is the start of a new era for Jaguar. Japan's On-Art Corp's CEO Kazuya Kanemaru poses with his company's eight metre tall dinosaur-shaped mechanical suit robot'TRX03' and other robots during a demonstration in Tokyo, Japan Japan's On-Art Corp's eight metre tall dinosaur-shaped mechanical suit robot'TRX03' performs during its unveiling in Tokyo, Japan Singulato Motors co-founder and CEO Shen Haiyin poses in his company's concept car Tigercar P0 at a workshop in Beijing, China A picture shows Singulato Motors' concept car Tigercar P0 at a workshop in Beijing, China Connected company president Shigeki Tomoyama addresses a press briefing as he elaborates on Toyota's "connected strategy" in Tokyo. A Toyota Motors employee demonstrates a smartphone app with the company's pocket plug-in hybrid (PHV) service on the cockpit of the latest Prius hybrid vehicle during Toyota's "connected strategy" press briefing in Tokyo An employee shows a Samsung Electronics' Gear S3 Classic during Korea Electronics Show 2016 in Seoul, South Korea Visitors experience Samsung Electronics' Gear VR during the Korea Electronics Grand Fair at an exhibition hall in Seoul, South Korea Amy Rimmer, Research Engineer at Jaguar Land Rover, demonstrates the car manufacturer's Advanced Highway Assist in a Range Rover, which drives the vehicle, overtakes and can detect vehicles in the blind spot, during the first demonstrations of the UK Autodrive Project at HORIBA MIRA Proving Ground in Nuneaton, Warwickshire Chris Burbridge, Autonomous Driving Software Engineer for Tata Motors European Technical Centre, demonstrates the car manufacturer's GLOSA V2X functionality, which is connected to the traffic lights and shares information with the driver, during the first demonstrations of the UK Autodrive Project at HORIBA MIRA Proving Ground in Nuneaton, Warwickshire


Parsing gender stereotypes in Japan's media landscape

The Japan Times

As mentioned in a June 14 article in the Huffington Post, Mayumi Mori, the Asahi Shimbun Singapore correspondent, noted that Inada was obviously making a joke "to relieve tension," and that there were a few chuckles in the hall. The author of the Huffington article, editor-in-chief Ryan Takeshita, wrote that Inada has always played "cute" to be accepted by the men who control Japan's political world, but even if her remark about the female ministers' looks was made in jest, it reinforced the idea held by many people that appearance is paramount, especially for women. Japan doesn't have a monopoly on sexist behavior and attitudes, but according to a recent series of forums in the Asahi Shimbun the Japanese media still subscribes to gender stereotypes in advertising and reporting. At least the Unicharm spot stimulated a debate about how the media portrays gender roles.


Retro-Bit launches RES Plus console to let people play NES games on their TV

The Independent

The giant human-like robot bears a striking resemblance to the military robots starring in the movie'Avatar' and is claimed as a world first by its creators from a South Korean robotic company Waseda University's saxophonist robot WAS-5, developed by professor Atsuo Takanishi and Kaptain Rock playing one string light saber guitar perform jam session A man looks at an exhibit entitled'Mimus' a giant industrial robot which has been reprogrammed to interact with humans during a photocall at the new Design Museum in South Kensington, London Electrification Guru Dr. Wolfgang Ziebart talks about the electric Jaguar I-PACE concept SUV before it was unveiled before the Los Angeles Auto Show in Los Angeles, California, U.S The Jaguar I-PACE Concept car is the start of a new era for Jaguar. Japan's On-Art Corp's CEO Kazuya Kanemaru poses with his company's eight metre tall dinosaur-shaped mechanical suit robot'TRX03' and other robots during a demonstration in Tokyo, Japan Japan's On-Art ...


iPhone 8: Everything Apple has accidentally revealed about its upcoming handset

The Independent

The giant human-like robot bears a striking resemblance to the military robots starring in the movie'Avatar' and is claimed as a world first by its creators from a South Korean robotic company Waseda University's saxophonist robot WAS-5, developed by professor Atsuo Takanishi and Kaptain Rock playing one string light saber guitar perform jam session A man looks at an exhibit entitled'Mimus' a giant industrial robot which has been reprogrammed to interact with humans during a photocall at the new Design Museum in South Kensington, London Electrification Guru Dr. Wolfgang Ziebart talks about the electric Jaguar I-PACE concept SUV before it was unveiled before the Los Angeles Auto Show in Los Angeles, California, U.S The Jaguar I-PACE Concept car is the start of a new era for Jaguar. Japan's On-Art Corp's CEO Kazuya Kanemaru poses with his company's eight metre tall dinosaur-shaped mechanical suit robot'TRX03' and other robots during a demonstration in Tokyo, Japan Japan's On-Art ...


iPhone 'Find My Friends' app saves man after he gets stuck on a mountain

The Independent

The giant human-like robot bears a striking resemblance to the military robots starring in the movie'Avatar' and is claimed as a world first by its creators from a South Korean robotic company Waseda University's saxophonist robot WAS-5, developed by professor Atsuo Takanishi and Kaptain Rock playing one string light saber guitar perform jam session A man looks at an exhibit entitled'Mimus' a giant industrial robot which has been reprogrammed to interact with humans during a photocall at the new Design Museum in South Kensington, London Electrification Guru Dr. Wolfgang Ziebart talks about the electric Jaguar I-PACE concept SUV before it was unveiled before the Los Angeles Auto Show in Los Angeles, California, U.S The Jaguar I-PACE Concept car is the start of a new era for Jaguar. Japan's On-Art Corp's CEO Kazuya Kanemaru poses with his company's eight metre tall dinosaur-shaped mechanical suit robot'TRX03' and other robots during a demonstration in Tokyo, Japan Japan's On-Art Corp's eight metre tall dinosaur-shaped mechanical suit robot'TRX03' performs during its unveiling in Tokyo, Japan Singulato Motors co-founder and CEO Shen Haiyin poses in his company's concept car Tigercar P0 at a workshop in Beijing, China A picture shows Singulato Motors' concept car Tigercar P0 at a workshop in Beijing, China Connected company president Shigeki Tomoyama addresses a press briefing as he elaborates on Toyota's "connected strategy" in Tokyo. A Toyota Motors employee demonstrates a smartphone app with the company's pocket plug-in hybrid (PHV) service on the cockpit of the latest Prius hybrid vehicle during Toyota's "connected strategy" press briefing in Tokyo An employee shows a Samsung Electronics' Gear S3 Classic during Korea Electronics Show 2016 in Seoul, South Korea Visitors experience Samsung Electronics' Gear VR during the Korea Electronics Grand Fair at an exhibition hall in Seoul, South Korea Amy Rimmer, Research Engineer at Jaguar Land Rover, demonstrates the car manufacturer's Advanced Highway Assist in a Range Rover, which drives the vehicle, overtakes and can detect vehicles in the blind spot, during the first demonstrations of the UK Autodrive Project at HORIBA MIRA Proving Ground in Nuneaton, Warwickshire Chris Burbridge, Autonomous Driving Software Engineer for Tata Motors European Technical Centre, demonstrates the car manufacturer's GLOSA V2X functionality, which is connected to the traffic lights and shares information with the driver, during the first demonstrations of the UK Autodrive Project at HORIBA MIRA Proving Ground in Nuneaton, Warwickshire In its facilities, JAXA develop satellites and analyse their observation data, train astronauts for utilization in the Japanese Experiment Module'Kibo' of the International Space Station (ISS) and develop launch vehicles The robot developed by Seed Solutions sings and dances to the music during the Japan Robot Week 2016 at Tokyo Big Sight. He never did find Priest's Hole.