Tech

Low barriers to entry

Drones are taking off in Japan

TOKYO -- Small drones are enjoying a surge in popularity in Japan thanks to the availability of models that are relatively inexpensive and easy to fly. The devices, which can be found even at electronics retailers, increasingly are being used not...

  • High-speed trains

    Japanese rail company eyes exports to cover maglev costs

    TOKYO -- When Central Japan Railway's magnetically levitated train set a world speed record on Tuesday by zipping along an experimental track at 603kph, the project's chief promoter was in Dallas, Texas. Yoshiyuki Kasai, chairman emeritus of the ...

  • Saving energy

    Nichia laser tech could make TVs 25% more efficient

    TOKYO -- Japanese electronics maker Nichia has developed laser technology that could make LCD televisions 25% more energy efficient than LED-based TVs, sources told The Nikkei on Tuesday. The major maker of light-emitting diodes has created a way...

  • 'Fourth battlefield'

    Japan looking to boost lagging space-related industry

    TOKYO -- The Japanese government is taking steps to encourage businesses to enter the space-related industry, such as satellite launching and operation, through its newly-established basic space policy plan and a set of new bills designed to ease reg...

  • Bragging rights

    Japanese railway clocks new maglev speed record

    NAGOYA -- JR Tokai, the main railway operator in central Japan, set a new speed record Thursday when the magnetic-levitation train it is testing in Yamanashi Prefecture clocked in at 590kph, breaking its old record of 581kph set 12 years ago. Thi...

  • Wearable robots for seniors

    Daiwa House suits up for a gray future

    OSAKA -- The rapid aging of Japanese society is spurring innovative attempts to make life easier for the silver set -- and those who care for them. The technologies that result from these efforts may prove marketable in other graying nations, too. ...

  • Companies, law enforcement team up

    Japan plays key role in Interpol's new cybercrime center

    SINGAPORE -- International law enforcement agency Interpol opened a center in Singapore on Monday aimed at nabbing Internet hackers who are committing increasingly serious and sophisticated crimes. The new facility, the Interpol Global Complex fo...

  • Zero emissions Mirai

    Toyota opening showroom for fuel cell car

    NAGOYA -- Toyota Motor is giving people in the heart of Tokyo a chance to test-drive the future. The Japanese automaker said Monday it will open a showroom April 17 for the Mirai fuel cell vehicle. Every Friday, people will have an opportunity to...

  • Energy self-sufficiency

    How bacteria and spider genes could help wean us off oil

    TOKYO -- Japan's dearth of natural resources may well end up being a boon for the world. The country accounts for some 4% of global resourse consumption. It produces only around 6% of the energy it uses. This is motivating Japanese scientists to ...

  • Dawn of wearables era?

    Apple Watch draws flood of preorders

    SILICON VALLEY -- Apple began taking preorders for the Apple Watch around the world Friday, with customers told they would have to wait at least two months for some models. The American company apparently aims to sell more than 20 million units a...

  • Fukushima nuclear disaster

    Robot to take first look inside crippled reactor

    TOKYO -- Tokyo Electric Power will send a robot inside a stricken reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant Friday, attempting to take a direct look at the bottom of the containment vessel, where melted fuel rods settled. The nuclear f...

  • New R&D center

    Toshiba aims to harness the power of hydrogen

    TOKYO -- Toshiba has opened an R&D hub dedicated to clean hydrogen energy, ushering in a new era of global competition in the quest for electricity with zero emissions of greenhouse gases. The new research and development center, at the company's...

  • Sasebo hotel to get head start

    Robots preparing to welcome tourists to Tokyo Olympics

    TOKYO/SILICON VALLEY -- Although the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is still five years away, service robots are already preparing to welcome guests from around the world. They will be crucial partners to their human counterparts and are expected to play a ...

  • Tokyo Olympic robots

    Expectations high for 2020 summer games festivities

    TOKYO -- Olympic games often become global stages for host countries to promote technology and culture. In the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, a man flew into the stadium using a jet pack during the opening ceremony. Since then, such opening fes...

  • From printing press to cell regeneration

    How a Japanese printer is giving new life to its technology

    TOKYO -- As technological innovations continue gathering pace, dramatic transformations in society and industry will likely go on unabated for decades to come. ''The World in 2050,'' a report by U.K. publication The Economist predicts a new evol...

  • Keep those vehicles moving

    Japanese system would put traffic in charge of green lights

    TOKYO -- The Japanese government is designing an automatic traffic signal control system that allows the flow of traffic to determine when traffic lights change. The hope is that congestion can be eased and accidents prevented. If the system is c...

  • Hydrogen fuel

    The lightest element faces heavy challenges

    TOKYO -- Hydrogen is considered a green, next-generation energy source. But achieving the stable hydrogen procurement required to bring the resource to the masses has proved challenging. Unlike fossil fuels, hydrogen does not emit carbon dioxide:...

  • 'Fourth industrial revolution'

    German-Chinese alliance may hurt Japan

    Germany's push toward what it dubs the fourth industrial revolution is bringing the manufacturing powerhouse closer to China. This could create a formidable challenge for Japanese manufacturers. Digital economy was this year's theme at CeBIT, the...

  • Space janitor

    Startup targets junk in orbit

    TOKYO -- A Japanese-led, Singapore-based venture wants to make Earth's orbit a cleaner, safer place. The space around our planet is littered with out-of-commission satellites, rocket remnants and other debris. Astroscale, established in 2013, aim...

  • Speech translation app

    Sumitomo Rubber improves its Chinese communication

    TOKYO -- Sumitomo Rubber Industries in January introduced a Japanese-Chinese speech translation app for smartphones. The major tire maker is encouraging closer communication between its Japanese and local workers in production bases in China and othe...