Japanese Technology from the Future Friday!
This week we've learned that Japan's formed a body to (very softly) police/advise on cryptocurrencies like BitCoin, Japan's 3D printing industry showing more and more life signs, and a relatively unknown powered exoskeleton maker is seeing some pretty cool progress!
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Welcome to Japanese Technology from the Future Friday!
It’s already Friday west of the international dateline – here in Japan, it’s totally the future. The weekly JTFF is our somewhat Technosnarky coverage of 2-5 particularly important, specifically Japan-related tech stories. Get yourself hip to the micro & macro that went down while North America was sleeping – check in with Akihabara News every Friday morning and BOOM! Ahead of the game, you win.
:: JTFF – July 11, 2014 ::
• Japanese Consortium Forms Digital Asset Advisory Body (read: Soft BitCoin Cops)
We haven’t and don’t care to dive into the whole Bitcoin issue too deeply, but we do recognize that, over the past year to 18 months, a certain Japanese firm that initially received piles of adulation eventually experienced massive, humiliating collapse. Among the whole Mt. Gox debacle, one of the most glaring displays of ineptitude - a wholly understandable ineptitude - was that of the Japanese financial regulatory system. Again, to be fair, the same tragedy of errors would have most likely unfolded anywhere, Japan was just the (un)lucky first. In response, and with requisite acronymophilia, a J-government-sponsored group has formed JADA, the Japan Authority on Digital Assets. On one hand, Japan is the poster boy for failure to deal effectively with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency stuff; on the other, they’re way ahead of the curve, and taking practical steps toward some kind of structure, an interface, perhaps, between these New Jack monetary instruments and the old way of doing things, well, that just might give Japan a nice leg up in the New Money frontier.
[JAPAN FORMS JADA - FOREX MINUTE]
Japanese Economic Tech News
• Japanese Firm Building 4-Meter/13-Foot 3D Printer
Not a whole lot to say about this other than “Good, now get busy and do more!” Though a pioneer in 3D printing (decades ago when it was simply called ‘additive manufacturing’), by 2012, while the U.S. had built up a market dominance of 75%, Japan held just 0.3% of the 3D printer making market. That is not a typo. But there's considerable movement and governmental encouragement these days - a very good thing. This big printer in particular will be used for demonstration at a museum display, and while that might seem kinda shrugworthy, at this point simply educating the Japanese public about 3D printing is progress. So yeah, like we said, GET BUSY WITH MORE.
[GENKEI’S BIG HUGE 3D PRINTER - 3DPRINT.COM]
• Activelink, a Panasonic Subsidiary, is Making Nice Exoskeletal Progress
Way, way under the radar, beneath the likes of Cyberdyne, Team Skeletonics, and new to exoskeletal stuff but old to industrial robotics Yaskawa Electric, a small engineering firm has been quietly making big progress in the field. Activelink was hoovered up by Panasonic a few years back, and they’ve continued pushing their research - which is all it is at the moment - to bigger, better, and stronger heights. The research is aimed primarily and powered human augmentation. In particular, Activelink hopes to develop wearable, assistive robotics for Japan’s very rapidly aging agricultural laborers. Good photos and video on this one here.
[PANASONIC DIVISION MAKING BIG EXOSKELETAL PROGRESS - CHANNEL NEWS]
Human Exoskeleton News & Tech
That was the JTFF, and live from the future – that is all. Oh, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY, AMERICA!!
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Tokyo at Night via PhotoEverywhere.