J@pan Inc Magazine Presents:
The Hottest Gadgets and Gizmos from Japan

Issue No. 76

Friday,September 27, 2002
(Long URLs may break across two lines, so copy to your

Name: Victor HP-ALW800H
Category: AV
Price: 8,000 yen with cordless base, 4,600 yen without
Release date in Japan: October 10, 2002

The Gist: Claiming a "world's first" -- as is de rigeur with this
kind of thing -- Victor has released details on its new, cordless
headphone system. The first in the world bit stems from the fact
that the headphones in question are of the "armless" type, not only
clipping over your ears to give you instant street cred but also
allowing you to have a little cat nap at your desk or wherever
without ruining your hairdo. The tiny, compact base unit, which also
doubles as a handy headphone holder when they're not clamped around
your head, can be hooked up to most AV sound sources (CD, MiniDisc
player and so on) and will transmit the music wherever you go. Provided
it's within the 7m transmission area, of course. Thanks to the
rechargeable battery inside the transmitter unit, you can keep the thing
plugged in and not have to ever bother with replacing batteries --
although it will run on four regular cells if you want to take the thing
down the beach to impress all the laydeez. One of the nicer features of
the headphones, though, is an "auto mute" function, which will
automatically cut the sound to the phones should you wander out of the
transmission zone -- no more brain-numbing static attack!

More info:

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Name: Creative Nomad Jukebox Zen
Category: Portable audio
Price: Open (but approx. 40,000 yen)
Release date in Japan: end Sept 2002

The Gist: Creative rides to the rescue of all you budding jive-lovin'
Buddhist monks out there, with its Creative Nomad Jukebox Zen. The
Jukebox Zen secretes a 10GB hard disk about its saffron-robed person,
allowing up to 12 hours of MP3 music before it raises its hands in
(entirely peaceful) protest. Kind of a successor to the Nomad Jukebox
3, the Zen has added cueing and search functions and is actually a
competitor to Apple's super-cute iPod or even Toshiba's Gigabeat
player. Zen has both USB and firewire ports, where the other two have
one or the other, the battery lasts longer and, at 75.9x24.5x112.6mm,
it's about the same size as those two.

With firewire and USB 1.1 connections for input and capable of handling
WMA, MP3 and VAV format files, the rechargeable battery will keep the
machine turning out tunes for 12 hours. The player is EAX compatible and
has a 4-band equalizer as well as several sound stage effect functions.
And it looks very sweet.

The "Zen" is compatible with all flavors of Window PC goodness. No word on
the Mac side of things, but then it is USB, so it should appear as an extra
drive if you just plug it in, cause Macs are clever like that. Maybe.

More info:

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Name: AIST/Kawada Industries HRP-2P
Category: Robots
Price: n/a
Release date in Japan: 2004

The Gist: Oh goody, another human-type robot to live in harmony with
people and assume our burdensome workloads, or scare our children
and give us all the willies -- depending on how you view robots in
the home. Sony's take is to have human style home robots but keep
them tiny and as inoffensive-looking as possible. Companies like NEC
favor a more spacey style where the robots are comically styled and
don't look remotely like humans. This time the hardware comes from
Kawada Industries and the software from AIST (National Institute for
Advanced Industrial Science and Technology), resulting in the HRP-2P
or "human co-operation and assistance type robot R&D project." The
HRP-2P follows the Asimo mold (from Honda) insofar as it is capable
of extremely fluid (and balanced) movement and is designed to
ultimately help and live with humans. Put through its paces recently
at a demonstration, HRP-2P proved itself capable of near-Yogic
dexterity, moving from a standing to a prone position as if to execute
a bunch of press ups, then almost in reverse, moving from lying on its
back through a sit-up to a fully standing position. So, if nothing else,
you can buy one (within the year, they say) to sub for you to go down to
the gym and work out while you go to the bar.

Also, the HRP-2P is life-size (depending on your cultural background) at
154cm, which is the first time a robot of this size has been shown
capable of such realistic and fluid human-like movement through such a
range. "Another world's first?!" I hear you cry. Yes! Another world's
first! We spoil you.

More info:

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Name: Kenwood Rampage MDX-K1/3
Category: AV
Price: Open (but around 30,000 yen)
Release date in Japan: October 2002

The Gist: Kenwood's new Rampage systems are portable stereos with
built-in...wait for it...weekly timers! Oh yes, many's the time
I've been sitting on the porch listening to sweet tunes and
watching the girls go by and thought to myself, "You know what?
I could really do with a weekly timer on this gosh-darn stereo
sound system!" The K3-S (silver) and K3-B (blue) both have tuners,
MD, CD and cassette players (the K-1 versions don't have tape
players) with the amps providing 4W into 2 channels. The Rampage
units are aggressively styled and permit the recording of a CD to
a MiniDisc at warp speed (OK, 4 times normal speed) as well as
being able to cope with CD-R/RW recorded discs and MDLP functions.
But the 'big thing' with these players are those timers: One-touch,
daily and weekly timer functions come free of charge. Goodness only
knows what they're for.

More info:

Name: Novac NV-UV800
Category: PC peripherals
Price: 12,800 yen
Release date in Japan: October 4, 2002

The Gist: Novac, who trades with the byline "exciting sound and visual
on PC" has come up with a brand new upscan convertor with a remote
control. Fantastic! You might wonder what on earth you'd use one of
these for. Me too. Just joking -- the NV-U800 is basically designed
specifically for use with video game consoles, able to "upgrade" the
video signal from your game machine so that it will display at a higher,
640x480-dot, VGA resolution on your PC monitor and look very purty
indeed. A remote control is included in the pack so owners can switch
between input sources, alter color and contrast, et cetera, without
going anywhere near their computer. The NV-U800 is compatible with both

More info:

Subscribers: 2,530 as of September 27, 2002

Written by: Max Everingham (
Edited by: J@pan Inc editors (

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