Japan tech fair offers glimpse of future lifestyles

Oct 05, 2010 by Miwa Suzuki
A model displays a large scale organic light emitting diode (OLED) display for digital signage at home made by Japanese electronics maker Mitsubishi Electric during a preview at Ceatec, Asia's largest electronics trade show in Chiba, in suburban Tokyo. Some 600 companies and groups, of which 200 are from overseas, are exhibiting the latest electronics products and technology at the fair.

Hundreds of technology firms came together in Japan Tuesday to showcase the latest in high-end gadgetry, including wafer-thin speakers and a ring that can monitor your heart rate.

The five-day Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies (Ceatec) technology fair in Chiba near Tokyo features more than 600 companies from 15 countries and regions showing new .

Musical instrument maker Yamaha had on show its prototype TLF speaker that can be displayed as a thin, light and flexible poster with a cloth cover.

The 1.5-millimetre-thick speaker sends directional "flat-wave" sounds that do not deviate once emitted, meaning that sounds can only be heard when the listener is standing in front of it.

Yamaha aims to sell the technology early next year, company spokesman Yusaku Shibuya said, adding: "This can function as a convenient advertising poster, which can be rolled up and carried around."

He said it would first be aimed at corporate users before being released to ordinary consumers with potential benefits for those living in smaller houses who do not want to disturb roommates with music.

Ltd. offered its "omniview" system for automobiles, which uses small cameras and imaging software to give drivers a 360 degree, 3D view of the car's surroundings. Some vehicles adopted the system earlier this year.

Japanese electronics parts maker Murata Electronics displays the company's unicycle robot called the "Murata Seiko-chan" during a demonstration at Ceatec, Asia's largest electronics trade show in Chiba, suburban Tokyo on October 5, 2010. The robot, 50 cms tall and weighing six kilos, was displayed riding on a unicycle along a narrow winding bridge, keeping its balance.

Electronics parts maker Murata Co. was displaying a ring that measures heart speed and blood-oxygen levels and can transmit data to a cellphone or other device to trigger an alarm if the pulse rate is too high.

NTT DoCoMo's new "augmented reality" applications use virtual images to enhance everyday experiences, Japan's leading mobile phone carrier said.

"Cellphones are a bridge between virtual reality and the world around you," said Manabu Ota, a DoCoMo official for consumer mobile device development.

Among applications the firm is developing is a function giving shoppers an enhanced view of a chosen object to see if it fits in the home before buying.

DoCoMo also showed a prototype "AR Walker" system -- made with optical equipment maker Olympus -- which requires users to wear special glasses that give a view overlaid with information on directions and local recommendations.

Explore further: Japan firm showcases 'touchable' 3D technology

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