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CEATEC: Gadgets Go Wild in Japan

An eye-popping collection of some of the coolest gizmos from Japan's biggest electronics and gadgets show.

Muratagirl Riding On Stage at Ceatec 2009

Muratagirl, the unicycling robot, is back at Japan’s Ceatec with improvements and some new tricks. The updated robot is used to promote science and technology to Japanese children. Muratagirl can go around a curve with a diameter of 75 centimeters and ride over a balance beam just two centimeters wide. The 2009 model can also cycle at 15 centimeters per second; triple the speed of the 2008 model.

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Fujitsu Application Aims to Improve Your Golf Game

Are you having problems with your golf swing and can't figure out what the problem is? Fujitsu has a mobile-phone application now in development that can help. ETGA Golf Lesson, which was jointly developed by Fujitsu and another Japanese company, Sensing Control Lab, draws on data from an accelerometer and a compass in the mobile phone to measure and analyze a user's golf swing. The application then tells you whether your swing was good, or whether it needs improvement, assigning a score from 1 to 100 to each swing. It also keeps a running tally of your previous scores, giving you an overall score. The application will appear in mobile phones near the end of this year.

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Yamaha’s 1mm Thick Speaker

Yamaha has developed a prototype speaker that's made of cloth and just 1 millimeter thick. The prototype speaker, which is on display at the Ceatec exhibition in Chiba, Japan, this week, is made of nonwoven cloth and a metallized film, said Kunimasa Muroi, general manager of Yamaha's Center for Materials and Components Technologies (pictured). The speaker produces sound waves that are flat instead of curved.

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Watching Toshiba's Cell TV on Show at Ceatec 2009

This man is watching Toshiba's Cell TV on show at Ceatec 2009. Hoping to set itself apart from other television makers, Toshiba will soon put on sale in Japan the first television based on the powerful Cell multimedia processor, the same chip that's used in the PlayStation 3. The Cell Regza TV boasts several advanced features including the ability to simultaneously record eight high-definition channels. The TV represents more than the culmination of four years of research and development. No other company has yet talked about putting such powerful processing inside a TV and Toshiba is betting that the functions enabled by the inclusion of the Cell give it an edge in an increasingly competitive marketplace. The advanced TV should see an international launch in 2010.

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Nissan's iPhone App Encourages Better Driving

Nissan and the Japanese city of Yokohama plan to offer an iPhone application that's intended to encourage local residents to drive more efficiently, hoping to help them save gas and go easy on the environment. The iPhone eco-driving application links to the car over a Wi-Fi connection and monitors the acceleration, cruising speed and deceleration of the vehicle. The data is then uploaded to a central server, where it's compared to optimal driving profiles to rate the user's driving in these three areas on a scale from one to five. The application also gives the user an overall score that rates how environmentally friendly their driving is.

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Mitsubishi's Diamond Vision OLED Screen at Ceatec

Mitsubishi Electric hopes to soon see buildings, trains, and buses in Japan plastered with its flexible OLED displays. The modular display made of small OLED screens can be used to cover just about anything. Each Diamond Vision OLED screen contains separate red, blue and green OLED that function as pixels in the display. Up close, the display is a matrix of flashing red, blue and green lights, but step back approximately 2 meters and the individual pixels merge into a larger, high-resolution image.

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Kohjinsha's Dual Screen PC Packs Two 10-inch LCD Screens

Japanese laptop maker Kohjinsha is getting ready to ship a laptop that packs dual 10.1-inch LCD screens, its set to go on sale in Japan later this year for about $800. The Dual Display PC, which was on display at the Ceatec exhibition in Chiba, Japan, is based on a 1.6GHz Athlon Neo MV-40 processor from Advanced Micro Devices. The company said plans to sell the laptop outside Japan have yet to be finalized.

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Wooden Cell Phones

NTT DoCoMo showed off a mockup of a cell phone with a wooden case at Ceatec. The Japanese operator showed off two prototype Touch Wood handsets, including one working model, that have cypress cases at the Ceatec exhibition in Chiba, Japan. The wood used to make the Touch Wood prototypes comes from trees that are felled in forest-thinning operations, rather than being cut for commercial use. The felled trees are then chopped into blocks, which are then cut into the desired shape. The case is then compressed in a mold, using a technology developed by Olympus. The end result is a glossy case that is waterproof and resistant to wood-eating insects and mold, DoCoMo said.

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Finger Piano Share iPhone Application

A visitor to the Ceatec exhibition in Japan tries out the Finger Piano Share iPhone application. The application lets up to 10 people play the piano and can be used to play songs or play geotagged files.

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