Tag Archives: Japan

E-paper prototypes show up in force

color epaper, bendy as well In what must be the most exciting conference ever (just ahead of Dewey Decimal 2008), a little feature known as epaper showed up at Display 2008 in Tokyo.  It seems several companies, including Bridgestone with a full-size broadsheet e-newspaper(what do tires have to do with epaper?) and a collaboration between  Seiko, E Ink and Epson (which also wins for strangest interactive website) to make epaper watches, showed off their wares at the Japanese trade show.  Other offerings included epaper that can be written on with a stylus(video at the link).

Along with the obvious books and notepads we’re all thinking of, other attendants were thinking of myriad other places epaper could be useful.  Those range from IC or RFID cards with PIN displays for added security, pill bottles, grocery price tags (come to think of it, I’ve seen something awfully like it in the supermarkets here), flash drives and headphones.  Interestingly enough, there’s a story about a Fujitsu ebook that’s in color as well, although price seems to be a factor in why it’s not out yet.  According to the guys at DWT, August is when many of these products will be available to vendors, so start looking for epaper everythings to start popping up soon after.  I know I can’t wait.

Bonus display blogging:  3D displays without the paper glasses.

(via DigitalWorldTokyo, a site I apparently need to visit more often) (image also via DigitalWorldTokyo)

Robots as entry-level employees?

Image00796 In Japan, the population is falling, causing a reduced workforce that can’t keep up with pension and healthcare payments.  In most other countries, you’d think a healthy dose of immigration and the social payments that go with it would keep things rolling.  But not Japan.  They’d rather invest billions in robots to do everything from hand out tissues to sell mobile phones to hock vinegar, or just do plain old stupid tricks.

It’s something worth keeping an eye on, although for the price some of these things are going for, you’d think just hiring one of the many ‘freeters‘ that are always calling me up to go drinking on a Tuesday night when I have to write a Futurismic post (sorry, Taka!).

(image from Asahi, alas, I didn’t win one)

Bubble wrap to your heart’s content (or until the batteries run out)

Translation - now let's pop bubble wrap! Here’s something to start off your weekend. Probably the most universally pleasing thing in the world is (no, not THAT – Puritans hated that) bubble wrap. But you can’t always carry around a big wad of bubble wrap to de-stress. So the Japanese, who make everything better, came up with the Mugen Puchi Puchi bubble wrap gizmo.

You can get 10 hours of battery life from it, and the highlights are a mute button for public places (I’ll strangle you if you use it next to me on the train) and a special bonus sound every one hundred pops. For US$7, I might have to spring for one of these if I run into it in Tokyo this weekend.

[story via Mainichi Daily News] [image via the official website]

Online but off the grid – Japan’s internet café homeless

Websurfers in an internet cafeIn an example of interstitial existence that sounds like it leaped straight from the pages of a William Gibson novel, the Japanese government has announced that there are over 5,000 “internet café refugees” eking out a living at the bottom of the social strata, taking what temporary work they can and dossing down in 24-hour internet cafés in the absence of a home of their own. Even in the shadow of our ubiquitous technologies, the same social issues that have existed for centuries are following us into the future … [Image by Kai Hendry]