We have seen the future of technology, and it’s filled with full color E-paper devices, multi-sensory gadgets, reusable adhesives, light-controlling sheets, omnidirectional cameras, flexible film speakers, and more. Continue reading to see them all.

10. Power Loader

This power amplification robot, called Power Loader, is currently under development by Activelink, a Panasonic subsidiary venture. The aim is to achieve a robot that can freely utilize power beyond human strength, in emergencies or on construction sites. Power Loader’s role is to link people with construction machinery.

9. Artificial Photosynthesis System

A group at Panasonic has developed the Artificial Photosynthesis System, which produces organic materials with a world-leading efficiency in terms of solar energy conversion. The recently achieved efficiency, 0.2%, is on a par with that for real plants used in biomass energy. Artificial photosynthesis is a technology that uses sunlight to produce oxygen and organic substances from water and carbon dioxide, like plants do. As an ideal technology that could solve both global warming and energy issues, artificial photosynthesis is currently being researched worldwide.

8. Five 3D Cameras

“In collaboration with UNESCO, we photographed seven world heritage sites around the world. The purpose of these images is to allow people to have an experience like they’d have if they went to these sites in person. 3D cameras used to be very large and difficult to handle. In the last two years they have gotten much smaller, and devices like these 3DA1 (the AG-3DA1 3D camcorder) are now available. We shoot footage using five of these cameras together. The system also includes small, high performance VCRs tethered to the cameras.”

7. Full Color E-Paper

This prototype is a 3.5-inch, QVGA display, with a pixel density of 113.6 ppi. Its reflectivity is 70%. Compared with current color-filter displays, this e-paper is 2.5 times brighter. It has a color reproduction range of 35%, higher than that of a newspaper, which is 31% in Japan.

6. Multi-Sensory

Professor Takashi Kawai’s lab at Waseda University’s School of Fundamental Science and Engineering is conducting research on a cross-modal perception technology employing multi-sensory integration in which participants perceive tactile sensation from visual stimulation. In a visual-evoked “minute tactile sensation” presentation system prototype, a very simple mechanism is used to enable the phenomenon of tactile sensation perception, despite the lack of any physical contact, simply by viewing a video image.

5. Light-Controlling Sheets

AIST has developed a light-controlling sheet that can switch between mirror and transparent states. Using this sheet on window glass saves energy by effectively shutting out sunlight, greatly reducing the load on air-conditioning. “Until now, switching has been done with glass. But with this sheet technology, you can switch a window between transparent and mirror states simply by affixing the sheet to the window.”

4. Reusable Adhesive

This material, developed by AIST, is an organic substance where the adhesion strength can be varied repeatedly. This is achieved simply by shining light on the material, without heating or cooling it. When the material has solidified, it’s yellow, but if it’s illuminated with UV light, it gradually liquefies and becomes orange. If you shine green light on the material, it hardens again, and reverts to yellow. This is the first example of a solid-liquid transition caused by light alone, deliberately and reversibly, in a single substance.

3. Omnidirectional Camera

This omnidirectional camera, currently under development by Ricoh, takes a full 360° panoramic image in one shot. “It has two fish-eye lenses, each of which covers 180 degrees. The camera combines the two pictures, and sends them via Wi-Fi to a tablet or smartphone for viewing. The idea is, the pictures you take arrive automatically.”

2. Flexible Film Speaker

Fujifilm has developed an electroacoustic film, which could be used in next-generation flexible devices. With this new film, sound distortion can be prevented even when the film is deformed, by making its elasticity depend on frequency. As a result, the film is both flexible and produces high quality sound. “This film is normally soft, but it becomes hard in the audio frequency range. That’s because it’s designed so that, when the ceramic vibrates in the audio range, from 20 Hz to 20 kHz, the vibrational energy is transmitted to the entire film.”

1. Dual-Screen Android Smartphone

Docomo has unveiled a dual-screen smartphone, the Medias W. It features two 4.3″ displays, a 1.5GHz dual-core CPU, an 8.1MP camera and runs Android 4.1. It will be released in April 2013. “This is the MEDIAS W. Ordinarily, you use it folded up, like a regular smartphone. When you want to look at a picture or map, it can open up to become a 5.6 inch screen. So you can read maps or browse the Web easily, and it makes text entry easy, too.”


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