Tech

Next-generation energy

Japan to try again on extracting gas from 'fire ice'

TOKYO -- The Japanese government will start testing technology to extract natural gas from a next-generation natural resource called methane hydrate as early as the autumn of 2016, seeking to establish a method for stable production. The monthlon...

  • Miracle material

    Carbon nanotube tech? There are apps for that

    TOKYO -- Research on carbon nanotubes is accelerating. The development of tubular carbon molecules for materials and the push for practical applications began more than 20 years ago, mainly in Japan, but no notable businesses have emerged in the coun...

  • Kaohsiung transport

    Taiwan gets new green, clutter-free rail system

    KAOHSIUNG, Taiwan -- Taiwan's second-largest city of Kaohsiung is building a new light rail transit system. It will circle the urban core at street level and in a world's first, without hanging power lines. In addition to the lack of power-line clutt...

  • Internet of Things

    NTT to offer home aid service featuring talking robot

    TOKYO -- Nippon Telegraph and Telephone will team with unit NTT Data to launch a new service employing a desktop robot that can talk and communicate with smart devices around the house, the Japanese companies said Tuesday. They plan to target eld...

  • Extra efficient

    New internal combustion engines go the distance

    TOKYO -- Mention the word "eco-car," and most people will think of a slick electric model -- maybe a Tesla -- or a gasoline-electric hybrid like Toyota Motor's Prius, which practically defined the segment a decade or so ago. But while these cars ...

  • Video

    The pen that draws electricity

    The AgIC Circuit Marker pen uses conductive ink that allows working electrical circuits to be drawn on pieces of paper. We test its versatility and look at the ways this can be used for education.

  • Top efficiency

    Panasonic readies cutting-edge solar panels for homes

    OSAKA -- Panasonic has developed a solar panel with an industry-leading energy-conversion efficiency of 22.5% and plans to have a commercial version ready for homes in 2016. The Japanese company already boasts a leading 30% share of the domestic ...

  • Microsatellites

    Japan eyes new defense tool

    TOKYO -- The Japanese government is paying keen attention to plans for upcoming launches of ultrasmall satellites by private companies ranging from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to venture businesses. "We will look into the idea of creating an info...

  • Camera tech

    Blurry photos may soon be yesterday's problem

    TOKYO -- Thanks to the advent of the digital camera, people can snap away without worrying about film and developing costs. This is a good thing, because photographers still take plenty of disappointing shots. But autofocus technology and techniques ...

  • Inside Chinese tech

    Teardown of a DJI Phantom 2 drone

    As an electronics products and parts engineer with an interest in product design, I recently did a teardown of a DJI Phantom 2 drone with Nikkei Electronics magazine. The drone is made by the Chinese company DJI, with a price of about $800 sold onlin...

  • Panasonic's dream

    The future home is where the hydrogen power generator is

    OSAKA -- Panasonic is developing a household fuel cell system using hydrogen that can power homes and vehicles. It is doing so in part to help the government create a "hydrogen society." The company aims to have a hydrogen generation system marke...

  • Medical technology

    Seed's smart contact lens monitors glaucoma

    TOKYO -- Seed, one of Japan's largest contact lens manufacturers, will market the nation's first smart contact lens this fall, giving ophthalmologists treating glaucoma a way to track patients' intraocular pressure over the course of an entire day. ...

  • Japan's nuclear dilemma

    Is there life after 40 for aging reactors?

    TOKYO -- Across Japan, nuclear power plants that went online around the mid-1970s are approaching their government-mandated 40-year service period. While power companies have decided to decommission some of their aging facilities, the Osaka-based...

  • Smart solution

    Hitachi's grain-size sensor brings Internet of Things closer to home

    TOKYO -- Hitachi has developed a minuscule sensor that can instantly detect changes in metal and other components of equipment, suggesting a possible coming of age for the Internet of Things, where data is gathered and used for everything from cars t...

  • Data protection

    'My Number' IT sellers eye small, midsize companies

    TOKYO -- Information technology companies are eager to provide new products to help small and midsize businesses prepare for the planned introduction of the "My Number" national identification system in January. Individuals will be notified of th...

  • Firing up servers

    How Quanta shifted gears when computer sales slowed

    TAIPEI/SILICON VALLEY -- For years, the big U.S. IT companies -- Hewlett-Packard, Dell and IBM among them -- have dominated the global computer server market. But even in this sector, Taiwan's contract manufacturers are increasingly challenging t...

  • India technology

    Healthcare apps on the rise but ethics an issue

    NEW DELHI -- Two years ago, most patients visiting Dr. Manav Kalra's dental clinic in India's capital New Delhi would have heard about him by word of mouth. Now they are booking appointments after seeing his profile on Practo, a listing website for h...

  • High-resolution imagery

    Mapping the future with 3-D technology

    TOKYO -- An old Japanese folk tale tells the story of a dog who sniffs at a spot on the ground and urges his master to dig. The old man does so, unearthing a treasure hoard and living happily ever after. Now, high-resolution 3-D maps rendered wit...

  • Hi-tech suits for heavy lifting

    Panasonic bringing wearable robots to construction sites

    OSAKA -- Panasonic in September will start selling a wearable robot designed to help warehouse and construction workers lift heavy objects -- suggesting that its entry in the field may mark the dawn of a new robotics age. The carbon-fiber exoskel...

  • Mission failure

    SpaceX rocket supplying space station explodes after launch

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) -- An unmanned SpaceX rocket exploded about two minutes after liftoff from Florida on Sunday, destroying a cargo ship bound for the International Space Station in the latest in a string of mishaps in supplying the orbit...