Tag Archives: Technology

Cheap iPad imitation to go for $35 in India

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From the country of “cheap innovations” (see $2000 open-heart surgery and the $2500 compact Nano car), India has unveiled the prototype of an unbelievably affordable version of the iPad, which the Indian government plans to start producing next year. They are pricing it at $35 but hope to lower the price to $20 for students, and maybe even as low as $10. You can power the cheapo touchscreen tablet with solar energy, surf the web, use word processing and even chat via webcam.

Put me on the waiting list now please!

(Thanks, DTP!)

Link

Portable watermelon cooler/heater keeps summer fruit delicious

Ever thought to yourself, “Boy, if only I could cart around a watermelon while keeping it refrigerated at the same time”?  Well, have I got the perfect contraption for you.  I present to you another consummation of Japanese genius: the portable watermelon cooler.

watermelon_cooler2

The Marugoto Tamachan is a cart that has a built in cooler and heater.  (Because there’s nothing more delicious than hot watermelon.  Well, except maybe Japanese salty watermelon Kit Kats.)  The gadget costs $230.

I’m not sure how I have coped without one of these.

Link

(Thanks Kyle!)

Burger King Japan adds luxurious sound booths

Lay your back against the cushiony seat, slide your iPod into the dock and listen to your eclectic playlist as you bite into a Whopper. The typical chatter of a fast food restaurant is now drowned out by songs of your choice. Sound too good to be true? Well, the latest Burger King store in Japan has installed these “Sound Spots” for two which apparently provide relatively good sound quality without disturbing the surrounding tables. Looks like the BKs in Japan outclass the ones here!

burger king Japan

burger king japan

(Thanks, Vatche!)

Link

Google is back in China!

In my humble opinion, it probably wasn’t the best strategic  move to jump ship from the biggest online market in the world.  Looks like Google has come to its senses and resolved things with China.  Effective today, Google has renewed its license with the Chinese government.

Under its new license, Google can offer limited services in China, which means that the search engine will show all results, but users often won’t be able to open the links.  Also, the website will give users the option of going to the uncensored Hong Kong-based google.com.hk.  If the license hadn’t been renewed, Google would have been forced to say goodbye to its China website google.cn

I guess something is better than nothing, right?

Google back in China

Link

Desperate Japanese man on toilet tweets for help, gets toilet paper

You can imagine how his heart sank when @naika_tei, sitting on the toilet, reached for the toilet paper only to realize… there was none.  Oh, crap. One tweet and 20 minutes later, toilet paper found its way to the Japanese man’s toilet stall at the Yodobashi Camera store in Akihabara. Smart move, @naika_tei.  Still, everyone knows that you gotta check the TP supply before planting yourself on the pot!

naika-tei-twitter-yodobashi-camera

Link

China: biggest polluter or clean energy leader?

I came across a cool photo slide show today in the NY Times featuring Applied Materials’ massive solar energy research lab in Xian, China.  It’s fascinating to see how China’s full-throttle economy has simultaneously created staggering pollution problems as well as tremendous clean energy innovations.  True, most news covers China’s horribly polluted cities–and that by no means should be ignored–but it’s really cool to see how the country is acting as a leader in the clean energy revolution as well.

“While the United States talks about creating clean-energy jobs, China is taking action,” writes the NY Times. “The Xian city government sold a 75-year land lease to Applied Materials at a discount, and is covering some of the lab’s initial operating costs.”

What’s most interesting to me is that companies like Applied Materials are actually sending their R&D operations to China.  Traditionally, foreign companies have only looked to China for cheap manufacturing.  Now, China is competing not just in manufacturing brawn, but in brains.

solar power china

Link

Forget Vicks. Clear your sinuses with your cellphone ringtone!

hay fever sinus ringtoneI don’t even know how the Japanese think of these things, but it looks like there’s now an innovative way to clear stuffy noses.  For those of you dreading spring fever, check out the “Hana Sukkiri Melody” (literally, “cleared up nose” Melody) ringtone. The resonating sounds are apparently capable of shaking out the pollen in your nostrils!  Just hold the phone beneath your nose when someone calls, and say goodbye to hay fever.

Download the sinus-liberating ringtone here!

Link

(Thanks, Dunks!)

Save the planet with toilet flusher gadget

You can now carry the sound of a toilet flushing wherever you go with the new Eco-Otome key chain.  Looks like there’s quite a demand in Japan for this kind of product.  While people in the US intermittently flush the toilet while peeing or pooing (in order to cover up embarrassing sounds), most public toilets in Japan usually have a button that plays flushing sounds.  In a way, those who carry this US$3.80 sound system are saving the earth, by saving water.  Al Gore would heartily approve of this!

Get it here!

Emily

Samurai-inspired iPhone cases sold at $1k each

Japan’s samurai-smitten women would dig this.  Inspired by the concept of what iPhones would look like if five famous samurai warriors owned them, SoftBank has just launched these beautiful lacquered cases.  But at US$1,000 a pop, you’ve got to have the big bucks to land yourself one.  They are pretty sexy, though. . .

softall

Suzie

Link via cnet

Japanese robotic bear tucks you into bed

Need help getting out of bed in the morning?  For many people, like elderly or bedridden folks, the Japanese RIBA robot is an ingenious solution.  The soft teddy bear robot, inspired by its predecessor, serves as a robotic nurse and can lift patients up to 135 lbs out of a bed or wheelchair. RIBA, which stands for “Robot for Interactive Body Assistance,” weighs a hefty 400 lbs to keep from tipping. The bot even recognizes faces and voices, and responds to verbal commands.  Pretty awesome.

Check out the cool video demonstration:

Suzie (via engadget)

P.S. Thanks Hubie for the link!