Japanese Company Develops Device That Rates the Deliciousness of Soba Noodles

A Nagano-based company recently announced that it had created the world’s first noodle taste analyzer, a machine that can scientifically estimate the tastiness of soba noodles within seconds.

Japan’s Nagano Prefecture is well-known for its soba noodles, a popular variety made with buckwheat flour. To honor the prefecture’s soba noodle production, local tool-maker Yatsurugigiken Inc. teamed up with Shinshu University’s Faculty of Agriculture to create the world’s first noodle deliciousness analyzer. The high-tech device applies ultraviolet LED-induced fluorescence to around 2 grams of buckwheat flour and measures the levels of phospholipids, proteins, and other taste-related substances. Within seconds, flavor ratings in four different categories (taste, aroma, greenness, freshness) are displayed on an LED display.

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Stone Watch – The World’s Dumbest Smartwatch

Smartwatch manufacturers are constantly trying to one-up each other with feature-rich devices, but one Japanese company prides itself on making the world’s dumbest smartwatch.

The Stone Watch is not a smartwatch, it’s just designed to look like one. Created by Japanese capsule toy maker Tama-Kyu, the low-tech accessory doesn’t even tell time, let alone feature advanced tech like heart rate measurement, or smartphone connectivity. It doesn’t even have a display, it’s just a glossy, black piece of plastic with a silicone band that does nothing but look nice on your wrist.

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AcryPhone – A Phone-Shaped Slab of Acrylic to Help You Beat Smartphone Addiction

The AcryPhone is a rudimentary device designed to mimic the look and feel of a smartphone in order to help users conquer their handheld addiction.

As much as we try to deny it, most of us are addicted to smartphones. We try to limit the time we spend looking at them, but we constantly find ourselves instinctively reaching for them in search of that little dose of dopamine our brains crave. That’s just one of the many signs of an addiction that’s much more serious and difficult to overcome than we like to admit. Luckily, we will soon have an alternative that looks and feels just like a smartphone but has none of the features that got us hooked to it in the first place.

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HuggieBot 3.0 – Robot Uses Science to Deliver the Perfect Hug

HuggieBot 3.0 is the third iteration of a robot designed by a team at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems to deliver the perfect hug.

Hugging probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about things that robots could help humankind with, but a team of scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems disagrees. Alexis E. Block and her colleagues have been involved in the HuggieBot project for years, trying to create a robot that could deliver human-like hugs and thus replace actual people in various scenarios like providing comfort to the lonely, or replacing someone who just can’t deliver a hug in person for some reason. Their third iteration, the HuggieBot 3.0, is apparently quite the hugger…

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Students Invent “Invisibility Cloak” That Makes People Invisible to AI Security Cameras

A team of graduate students at China’s Wuhan University recently unveiled an innovative “invisibility cloak” that circumvents AI-powered security cameras.

China is one of the world’s most heavenly surveilled countries, with AI-powered cameras being used for everything from monitoring employees’ toilet habits to students’ attention in classrooms. But as advanced as these surveillance systems may be, they are not perfect. A group of Chinese graduate students recently showcased an intriguing invention that they claim is essentially an invisibility cloak against surveillance cameras powered by artificial intelligence.

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Young Girl Who Lost an Eye in Car Accident Becomes Bionic Eye Master

A young Chinese woman who lost an eye in a serious car accident dedicated her life to creating prosthetic eyes that glow different colors.

In 2013, Xia Tong lost one of her eyes in a car accident. She was only 18 at the time, and she had it replaced with a prosthetic eye. Instead of losing confidence in herself and shying away from people because of her appearance, the young woman decided to turn her situation to make herself stand out. After studying to become a prosthetic eye technician (ocularist), Xia Tong started making all sorts of unique prosthetics for herself, which she showed off on social media, slowly building up a loyal following.

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Man Pays With His Forearm Thanks to Scannable Payment App Barcode Tattoo

A Taiwanese man has been getting a lot of attention on social media after getting a payment app barcode permanently tattooed on his forearm.

The unnamed man recently took to the Taiwanese social media platform Dcard to share a functional barcode tattoo. Apparently, they had been contemplating getting a tattoo for a while, but they wanted something special instead of the artsy things people get inked. One day, while thinking about how cumbersome it was to constantly have to pull out his smartphone to pay for stuff, it hit him: why not get a functional tattoo to solve that problem? So he had a tattoo artist ink his payment app barcode on his forearm so he wouldn’t have to use his phone anymore.

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This Company Creates the World’s Smallest TV Sets

TinyCircuits, a hardware company specializing in creating tiny electronic devices, recently unveiled the world’s smallest television sets.

When it comes to modern TVs, the general consensus is that bigger is better, but one company is trying to prove that it can be successful by going against the trend. TinyCircuits, an open-source hardware company that makes all sorts of tiny electronic devices, has created the world’s smallest television sets – the TinyTV 2 and TinyTV Mini. While these retro-looking devices may be the size of postage stamps, they actually work about as well as regular-size TVs, featuring channel and volume-adjusting knobs, remote control, 8Gb of storage, and PC connectivity for uploading videos.

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Robotics Startup Unveils the World’s Fastest Walking Shoes

A Pittsburgh-based robotics and engineering startup recently unveiled Moonwalkers, a pair of battery-powered shoes that it claims can boost walk speeds by up to 250%.

At first glance, Moonwalkers look like a pair of futuristic rollerskates, but there is actually a lot more to them than that. You’re actually meant to walk with them the way you would regular shoes or sneakers, letting the motorized wheels put a spring in your step. Powered by a state-of-the-art brushless DC motor, this ingenious contraption is actually a platform that can be attached to a wide variety of footwear to significantly increase your walking speed up to a reported 7mph/11kph. For comparison, humans’ average walking speed ranges from 2.5 to 4 mph. The sensation of walking with the world’s fastest shoes has been compared to that of walking on a ‘moving walkway’ in an airport.

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This Japanese Company Is Working on a Human Washing Machine

Science, a Japanese technology company specializing in bathroom and kitchen innovation, recently unveiled plans to produce a washing machine for humans.

Believe it or not, the concept of a human washing machine isn’t new. At the 1970 Osaka Expo, Japanese electronics giant Sanyo Electric showcased its ‘Ultrasonic Bath’, a human washing machine that cleaned, massaged, and dried the occupant in a fully-automated 15-minute cycle”. The concept never really took off as a commercial product, but now another Japanese technology company wants to take a shot at it, promising to deliver a modern take on the human washing machine by 2025.

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Walking Robot Dogs Is Apparently Becoming a Trend in China

Photos and videos of people walking futuristic robot dogs instead of actual canines have been going viral in China lately, signaling a trend among the younger generations.

Robotic dogs inspired by the impressive creations of Boston Dynamics have been available on Chinese shopping platforms for a while now, but they’ve only recently started actually becoming popular. Although they are sometimes being described as soulless machines that can never compare to real dogs who love their owners unconditionally, there is no denying the advantages of robot pets, and judging by the increasing number of people spotted walking their robot dogs in China lately, they may one day rival the animals they emulate.

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Spoons and Bowls That Use Electricity to Make Food Taste Saltier Go on Sale Next Year

Japanese researchers have created smart kitchenware that relies on electricity to make food saltier and tastier without adding any extra salt.

Salt makes food taste so much better, but it’s also a very dangerous ingredient that, consumed in excess, can cause serious health problems like high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. But what if we could make food taste salty without using any salt? That’s what scientists at Meiji University and developers Kirin Holdings have been working on for several years now. Back in April, we featured their first breakthrough creation – a pair of smart chopsticks – but now they have a couple of commercial products ready to hit the shelves.

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Japanese Convenience Stores Introduce AI-Powered Shelf-Stocking Robots

Family Mart, Japan’s second-largest convenience store chain, recently started using AI-powered robots to restock shelves, as a way to deal with the country’s fast-shrinking workforce.

The decline in labor population is one of the biggest threats to businesses operating in Japan, and some have already started looking for ways to replace human workers. Case in point, major convenience store chain Family Mart, a company has recently teamed up with Tokyo-based robotics company Telexistence to introduce AI-powered robots in hundreds of its stores across the country. The new “employees” will be in charge of replenishing drinks in refrigerators and are expected to make human workers’ jobs easier and, in some cases, replace them completely.

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Japanese Robotics Company Creates Humanoid Heavy Machinery

A Japanese robotics company has been getting a lot of attention for its unique heavy machinery – a humanoid industrial robot that can be remote controlled by a human.

With so much focus on artificial intelligence and concepts like ‘the singularity’, we sometimes forget that robots have been around for a long time and that they can be pretty valuable tools even without advanced machine learning or even the possibility to move around on their own. Think about the industrial robots in modern automated car factories, or those mine-clearing robots that help human lives, just to name a couple of examples. Now, one Japanese company is trying to bring attention back to these humble creations with an ingenious humanoid heavy-duty robot capable of performing all kinds of useful chores while also appealing to fans of mecha manga and anime.

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Engineer Creates Functional Half-Wheel Bicycle

You may think that wheels are essential when it comes to bicycles, but one resourceful engineer’s recent invention demonstrates that two half wheels are just as good as one full wheel.

Sergii Gordieiev, engineer and YouTuber extraordinaire, is known for his ingenious inventions – including a chainless bike and a drill-powered ice bike – but his latest creation undoubtedly takes the cake as the most unusual. This bizarre contraption basically has two half rear wheels instead of a complete one, and they work in tandem to do the job of a regular one. As weird as it sounds, this crazy bike shows that two half wheels, when used correctly, are just as good as one full wheel.

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