Tech

Researchers observe "a microbial fuel cell" in a test run on equipment installed at Sekisui Chemical. (Courtesy of NEDO)

Wastewater treatment breakthrough

Power-producing microbes may be 3 years away

TOKYO -- Japan is moving closer to commercializing a wastewater treatment technology that uses a special species of microorganism to generate electricity. The Geobacter species, which can produce power by itself, is touted as "a microbial fuel ce...

  • It's a cat

    Deep learning sparks third artificial intelligence boom

    TOKYO -- Deep learning, a revolutionary machine-learning technique, is breathing new life into artificial intelligence research. Professor Emeritus Koichi Furukawa of Keio University in Tokyo pioneered artificial intelligence in Japan. He served ...

  • Smart farming

    Japan's Kanematsu invests in venture that yokes cattle, IT

    TOKYO -- Kanematsu, a midsize Japanese trading house that is no stranger to the farm, is branching out into IT tools for raising cattle. The company has taken a small stake in Farmnote, an information technology venture based on the northern isla...

  • New thing in the city

    Smart bikes in China let riders look up weather, track distance

    DALIAN, China -- Chinese online video provider Leshi Internet Information & Technology has introduced bicycles equipped with Internet connectivity and a monitor. Buyers snapped up 100 bikes in a single second on the release day last week, says the co...

  • Space station deliveries

    Japan's next cargo craft could allow return of material

    TOKYO -- Japan is developing a successor to the Kounotori automated cargo spacecraft, an unmanned resupply vehicle used to carry food and other supplies to the International Space Station. This new spacecraft, with its maiden launch set for fisca...

  • Material of the future

    Japanese paper makers to mass produce cellulose nanofiber

    TOKYO -- Leading Japanese paper manufacturers will mass-produce cellulose nanofiber. The plant-derived material, which is light and durable, can reduce the weight of autoparts. Analysts expect that the market for the fiber will grow to 1 trillion yen...

  • Regenerative medicine

    Looser laws make Japan a magnet for stem cell businesses

    TOKYO -- Deregulation has thrust Japan to the forefront of a global battle for supremacy in regenerative medicine. The government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made the nascent field a key part of its strategy for revitalizing the economy. A new l...

  • Cybercrime woes

    Singapore bolsters SingPass defenses after security breaches

    SINGAPORE -- The Singaporean government has renewed the management system for its SingPass accounts, which are used for accessing online administrative services, in an effort to enhance security in the face of an increase in the number of serious bre...

  • Autonomous vehicles

    Singapore paving the way for cheaper driverless cars

    SINGAPORE -- Self-driving cars are much in the news lately, with companies such as U.S. tech titan Google putting autonomous vehicles through their paces. Another center of the nascent self-driving car industry is Singapore, where the focus is on...

  • Security and science

    Tokyo aims for closer space technology ties with ASEAN

    TOKYO -- The Japanese government is looking to extend its security collaboration with Southeast Asian countries into the field of space research and exploration. As the first step, Tokyo plans to ask Washington to allocate one slot on the Interna...

  • Deep learning

    A smarter way to fight online threats

    SILICON VALLEY -- Information technology companies are turning to artificial intelligence to stay a step ahead of cyberattacks. U.S. IT ventures such as Masergy Communications and Cylance are employing a technique known as deep learning. This typ...

  • Food safety

    Toyo Seikan segues from cans to DNA chips

    TOKYO -- Toyo Seikan Group Holdings, a Japanese company best known for making cans and other containers, hopes to make a name for itself in DNA chips, a field that at first glance bears little relation to its bread-and-butter operations. DNA chip...

  • Japan rocket lifts supplies to space station after failures

    TANEGASHIMA (Kyodo) -- Japan successfully launched a rocket carrying supplies to the International Space Station from the Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture on Wednesday, the nation's space agency said, after similar missions by other c...

  • Biofuel

    Japanese companies eye algae for green energy

    TOKYO -- Decades of research into green energy by Japanese companies is beginning to bear fruit. Autoparts manufacturer Denso plans to undertake testing this autumn of a biofuel made from algae extracts. The organism is an ideal resource for clea...

  • Space junk

    Startup satellite to map orbiting trash

    SINGAPORE -- Astroscale, a Singaporean space-oriented startup set up by a Japanese national, is gearing up to launch the world's first satellite dedicated to gathering data on space debris trapped in the Earth's gravitational pull. It may be in orbit...

  • Alternative energy

    Geothermal power builds up head of steam

    TOKYO -- Anyone who has enjoyed Japan's countless hot springs knows the country has geothermal resources -- steam that can be used to drive a turbine and generate electricity. Japan has the world's third-largest reserves of such power, the lat...

  • Staffing issues

    Gamers dismayed as Konami cuts off developers

    TOKYO -- Konami, a leading Japanese video game producer, is undergoing a strange transformation. The company was recently reorganized, leading to an exodus of talent. All the while, top management has stayed silent about what was going on. From t...

  • Japanese entrepreneur

    Startup aims to teach Google a thing or two about deep learning

    TOKYO -- Apple, Amazon and Google are the undeniable trendsetters in the tech world, churning out new ideas and new gadgets at a dizzying rate. But a growing number of companies, particularly in technology-rich Japan, are no longer content to follow ...

  • Internet connected pets

    Online devices help Japan's animals stay in shape

    TOKYO -- Dogs and other pets are now also benefiting from devices and appliances communicating via the Internet. According to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, about 6.75 million dogs are registered in Japan. More Japanese people conside...

  • Balancing promotion, regulation

    Japan rushes to create new rules on drone use

    TOKYO -- As drones gain in popularity, recent developments demonstrating their pros and cons have forced Japan's bureaucracy to hurriedly draw up new rules on the use of small unmanned aerial vehicles, but how strictly to regulate this technology rem...