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World's smallest Rubik's Cube to be sold in Japan

The Japan Times

Japanese toy-maker MegaHouse Corp. said Wednesday it will launch the world's smallest working Rubik's Cube, weighing about 2 grams and measuring 0.99 centimeter on each side. On the same day, the Bandai Namco Holdings Inc. subsidiary started accepting orders for the product online. It is priced at ¥198,000 in Japan, including delivery costs. Delivery will start in late December. The Rubik's Cube, invented by Erno Rubik from Hungary in 1974, hit store shelves across the world in 1980. In Japan, MegaHouse has shipped out over 14 million cubes.

South Korea's Moon advocates regional virus initiative involving Japan, others

The Japan Times

Seoul – South Korean President Moon Jae-in called on Wednesday for a regional infectious disease control and public health initiative involving Japan, China, Mongolia, and North Korea to tackle health crises and lay the foundation for peace with Pyongyang. Moon unveiled the so-called Northeast Asia Cooperation Initiative for Infectious Disease Control and Public Health during a video address to the U.N. General Assembly. "In the face of the COVID-19 crisis that poses a greater threat to humanity than a war, we came to be acutely reminded that the safety of neighboring countries is directly linked to that of our own," Moon said, according to an English translation of his prepared remarks distributed by his office. Such an initiative would lead North Korea to "engage with the international community," according to Moon. "It is not only Korea's response to COVID-19 but also the invaluable lessons Korea will be gaining from institutionalizing peace that Korea wishes to share with the rest of the world," he said.

New 55,000-pound Gundam robot can move its limbs like a boss


This full-scale Gundam robot stands outside Gundam Factory Yokohama in Japan. Fans of the anime robot Gundam can now visit the life-sized giant at the Gundam Factory in Yokohama, outside of Tokyo. According to new footage taken on Sept. 21, the enormous anime robot Gundam can move its arms, legs and torso with ease. Life-sized Gundam in Yokohama is now in testing Construction of the massive robot finished on July 29.

Japan's robots fill the void as social distancing becomes the norm

The Japan Times

The coronavirus pandemic has forced society to reshape how people interact, and robots are fast filling the void, even to the point of helping alleviate feelings of loneliness in a world where social distancing has become the new norm. While automatons were primarily utilized to perform menial tasks such as cleaning in the past, their ability to remove the need for close contact has now elevated their status and importance. In February, robot and technology solutions company Seikatsu Kakumei Inc. began selling what it dubbed a "digital teleportation robot" package to help businesses carry out customer-facing activities during the pandemic. By helping shops, showrooms, conventions and trade exhibitions handle visitors, robots "can bring people closer to the normal state of communication," said CEO Yuko Miyazawa. "Being holed up in a room is unnatural for human beings," he added.

As COVID-19 persists, Japan looks to send in the robots

The Japan Times

As the subway roared into Tokyo's Tsukishima Station a gust of wind tossed up a stray face mask, sending it sailing above the platform. Hisashi Taniguchi watched the piece of fabric fluttering about. He immediately pictured in his mind a microscopic view in which the wind dispersed -- in the air he was breathing -- countless viral particles that had been trapped between the mask's filters. There needs to be an efficient system to disinfect these public spaces, he thought. This was back in March, when the spread of COVID-19 was just starting to pick up speed in the capital.

Robot stocking shelves in Japanese convenience store lets workers maintain social distancing

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Japanese convenience stores are testing out robots to stock store shelves in hopes of combating the country's labor shortage and allowing human workers to socially distance during a pandemic. FamilyMart, Japan's second largest convenience store chain, has partnered with robotics company Telexistence on an android stock boy named Model-T, after Henry Ford's famous car. Rather than use AI, Model-T is connected to a human operator who manipulates the robot's movements remotely using virtual reality (VR). The seven-foot tall robot has a wide range of motion, necessary for lifting and moving products, with a lag time of only 50 milliseconds between operator and automaton. This week Model-T was rolled out at Lawson, another convenience store that is a subsidiary of Mitsubishi.

Japan's police introduce facial recognition system in criminal probes

The Japan Times

Japanese police have been using a system that can match photos of people who have been previously arrested with images gathered by surveillance cameras and social media, police officials said Saturday, a move that could raise concerns about privacy violations. The facial analysis system has been operated by police across the nation since March to identify criminal suspects more quickly and accurately, the officials said. But critics warn that the system could turn the country into a surveillance society unless it is operated under strict rules. "We are using the system only for criminal investigations and within the scope of law. We discard facial images that are found to be unrelated to cases," a senior National Police Agency official said.

Science and Technology 科学技術 Vol.7(#ArtificialIntelligence 人工知能 含む)/ #Coronavirus #コロナウイルス Vol.9 – ワールドソルーションズLLC


All the below links and tweets are in English. A test run of a robot using artificial intelligence has begun in Hamamatsu City, central Japan. The robot is designed to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus by identifying people not wearing masks. Norway's Minister for Research and Higher Education Iselin Nybø is visiting Japan, including AISTs Artificial Intelligence R&D Center. NEC Corporation signed an LoI to support R&D activities in the areas of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics at the proposed India Japan Centre for Artificial intelligence and Robotics (IJCAIR) at Indian Institute of Technology Bombay.

Japan wants to establish global standards for human-assisting robots


Japan has opened a consultation with the International Standards Organisation (ISO) in a bid to establish standards for human-assisting robots. Part of the reason for Japan's huge investments into robotics is the country's ageing population. Robots designed to help the elderly are becoming increasingly commonplace. Japan has already created a national standard for robot-to-human interactions across a large number of settings including medical, commercial, and transport. In a press release announcing Japan's own JIS Y1001 standard last year, the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology wrote: "Current labor shortages brought about by an advancing aging society with fewer children have been causing significant challenges for all industries in Japan. As one of the solutions to overcoming this situation, industries place expectations on the introduction of robot services into society. A variety of service robots, e.g., guide robots, delivery robots, nursing-care robots and assisting robots, are expected to play significant roles in specific places where ordinary people and such robots are able to coexist, such as airports, commercial facilities and nursing-care facilities. In such situations, the safety of robots should be secured to prevent any harm to people."

Artificial Intelligence used to create new aluminum alloys – IAM Network


Scientists in Japan have developed a machine learning approach that predicts the elements and manufacturing processes needed to obtain an aluminum alloy with specific, desired mechanical properties. The approach, published in the journal Science and Technology of Advanced Materials, could facilitate the discovery of new materials.Aluminum alloys contain elements such as magnesium, manganese, silicon, zinc, and copper. The combination of these elements and the manufacturing process determines how resilient the alloys are to various stresses. For example, 5000 series aluminum alloys contain magnesium and several other elements and are used as a welding material in buildings, cars, and pressurized vessels. The 7000 series aluminum alloys, which contain zinc and usually magnesium and copper, are most commonly used in bicycle frames.Experimenting with various combinations of elements and manufacturing processes to fabricate aluminum alloys is time-consuming and expensive.