J@pan Inc Magazine Presents:
G A D G E T W A T C H
The Hottest Gadgets and Gizmos from Japan
Issue No. 173
Thursday December 16, 2004
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Name: Tmsuk T7-4 Roborior
Price: "Around 280,000 yen"
Release date in Japan: Spring 2005
The Gist: Tmsuk and Tmsuk Sanyo this week unveiled a
prototype of the "T7-4 Roborior" robot, intended
for surveillance inside of the home. "Roborior" was
reportedly formed from "Robot" and "Interior" -- just
the sort of a portmanteau word the Japanese love.
The most striking feature of the Roborior is its
design -- a translucent plastic shell reminiscent of
a jellyfish covers a number of colored LEDs, giving
the robot an almost "Close Encounters of the Third
Kind"-type appearance. Created by Mr. Paul White of
England's "Me Company" design group fame, the Roborior
rolls about the user's home on three wheels, monitoring
things while you're out with use of a motion detector,
as well as a number of other sensors, and even a camera.
But wait, this is Japan--there has to be more to it,
right? Don't worry, there is; a huge improvement over
previous Tmsuk surveillance robots is the inclusion of a
remote control feature, where you can essentially drive
the robot around as though it was an R/C car. No need to
lug around some controller either -- using the internal
camera, the Roborior relays video signals to your FOMA
cell phone, where you can choose to drive it in certain
directions, and even sounds an alarm just in case you spot
someone trying to swipe something from your home while
you're out. Don't expect to be racing the Roborior against
your Aibo anytime soon, though; it has a maximum speed
of about 0.68km per hour.
More info: http://www.sanyo.co.jp/koho/hypertext4/0412news-j/1208-1.html
Name: amadana VP-110
Category: Portable DVD player
Price: 134,400 yen
Release date in Japan: Late January 2005
The Gist: What happens when you cross bamboo with a
portable DVD player? The VP-110 is what happens.
Perhaps the most expensive portable DVD player I've
ever seen, Real Fleet Corporation has added a finished
bamboo layer to the roof of the VP-110's casing, giving
it "a natural style inexpressible by coloring." I'd
certainly hope so given its price point.
But the VP-110 is well stocked in other departments as
well -- it features an enormous 10.2" screen with an
800 x 480 dot resolution, SD card slot for playback of
MPEG-4 files, and your standard assortment of AV inputs
and outputs. One feature in particular that caught my eye
are the touch panel controls, set off to the right side of
the DVD drive itself, which are lit with a smooth blue
backlight. An internal battery can drive the VP-110 for
about 3 hours, and when combined with external batteries,
you'll get a maximum of 5 hours out of it. That would be
enough to watch the extended edition of "Lord of the Rings:
Return of the King" once through, wouldn't it?
This may be the most expensive portable DVD player I've
seen, but it's also probably the most stylized. After all,
'tis the season.
More info: http://www.amadana.com/product/vp110/vp110.html
Name: Evergreen HSD706
Category: Portable DVD player
Price: 19,800 yen
Release date in Japan: Available now
The Gist: It wouldn't be fair for us to only cover one side
the spectrum, so here's one of the cheapest portable DVD
players I've ever seen. The design isn't nearly as smashing,
and the 5" screen is, needless to say, a tad small.
However, Evergreen's HSD706, on sale at their "Shanghai Donya"
on-line store, isn't without its share of interesting features.
Like most "made in China" portable DVD players these days, it
supports the playback of MPEG-4, MPEG-1, DivX, and XviD, apart
from the standard DVD-Video. Considering the price, and
assuming this player works as advertised, this would make quite
a gift for just about any international traveler on your holiday
shopping list. You may want to pick up an extra battery, too;
the included battery can drive the unit about 2.5 hours. When
will they start making these things with batteries that last a
whole flight to Japan?
More info: http://www.rakuten.co.jp/donya/527108/527119/527127/552340/
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