Conventional lightning rods attract lightning, but Lightning Suppression Systems’ PDCE lightning rods are actually able to prevent lightning strikes.
“Ordinary lightning rods collect the ground charge and cause it to discharge between the ground and the thundercloud. Our products prevent the ground charge from coming up to meet the lightning as it comes down from the cloud, and so prevent lightning from striking in the area around the device.”
Major examples of their application include the Great Buddha Statue at Ushiku and the Chikyu, a drillship used for deep earth exploration. The Chikyu is fitted with a superstructure that rises to a height of 120m above sea level and has the potential to attract lightning. Because the drillship is engaged in boring the seabed, it is unable to move away from a thunderstorm. For this reason, a PDCE lightning rod is attached to the top of her superstructure to prevent lightning strikes.
“This depends on the height at which the device is mounted, but if the device is mounted at a height of 1, lightning will not strike inside a cone with a radius of 5. If the device is attached to the top of a concrete telephone pole, at a height of 20m, lightning will not strike within a radius of 100m.”
The products are already commercially available, and are priced between $25,000 and $37,500. Lightning Suppression Systems is planning the commercial development of products for home use, and for mounting on disaster prevention wireless system masts and outdoor surveillance cameras, to be priced at around $6,000.
NTT Docomo has developed an experimental display with touch panels on both the front and back, hoping to use it for games or other applications in the future.
An NTT Docomo representative said, “We have offered a new idea for the operation of touch panels, which have widely spread because of smartphones.”
Fujitsu Laboratories has developed a system for measuring skin color accurately, using a smartphone’s camera and a Color Frame. This technology makes it easier to measure skin condition, including spots, dullness, and pore size.
“Skin looks different under different lighting conditions, such as incandescent or fluorescent illumination. But Color Frame can compensate for color differences caused by different environments.”
“The pictures are taken with the outer camera, so you take them while looking in a mirror. You take four shots: around the cheekbone, beside the nose, beside the cheek, and around the mouth. When you have the four shots, you press the Analyze button. The results are given as scores, and you can also see the analyzed images. Firstly, spots are detected from the cheekbone shot, and shown as a binary image. Similarly, the shots beside the nose and cheek are used to detect pores.”
All the analysis records are stored in the history, so you can compare results with previous measurements enabling you to check how your skin care regimen is progressing.
“For example, when cosmetics makers give out free samples, they could provide the Color Frame and app as well, so customers can check whether using a sample really makes a difference. That could help with sales promotion, and also be a way to communicate with customers.”
Fujitsu plans to start the service this year. The application is currently designed for Japanese women, but it could be extended to other users, by collecting skin data from men and women with various racial characteristics.
Vites is TaskRabbit made a little more simple. It matches people with talent and/or time, to those who need to get things done. Vites was released in both Japanese and Korean a little over week ago. Wishscope is another Japanese website similar to TaskRabbit, but I do like the simplicity of Vites.
Users can create a Vites account using their Facebook credentials. Once you’re done, you can start listing any service that you can provide, such as giving a morning wake-up call, taking a picture of something, trying out an app, giving fashion advice, or anything else you can think of within reason. Every task on Vites is sold for 5 dollars, with no exception. If you come across something interesting, you can press the outsource button. Vites charges a one dollar service fee for every transaction. The worker signals the completion of a task by pressing a button, and the fee will be subsequently transferred to their PayPal account.
Some of the popular services on the site so far include drawing a Twitter icon, replacing a Twitter icon with an ad for 24 hrs, giving UI/UX advice, finding the perfect book, and more.
There is also a crazy one, as one guy wants 5 dollars to wake himself up early for one week. He is not providing anything in return, his just forcing himself to get up early in exchange for 5 dollars. Anything goes, I guess. It says on the project page that he has already received 9 orders. Maybe it’s his boss?!
User can browse using the category section in the right sidebar. Categories so far include illustration, photography, design, movies, music, and beauty.
Indeed the concept of Vites is nothing new, but they have done a good job of simplifying the structure. Vites is planned to be released in English, Thai, Indonesian, so users who speak those languages can look forward to that. They’re currently working on an iPhone app and Android app as well.
MoboTap, the makers of the popular Dolphin Browser for iOS and Android, has announced a partnership with Japanese carrier KDDI in which Dolphin will be pre-loaded on future Android phones. KDDI just unrolled a new lineup of handsets yesterday, and according to the folks over TechCrunch, some of those phones will come with Dolphin pre-loaded.
The browser first debuted as a featured app in KDDI’s app store last month, and since then MoboTap says it has seen more than 20,000 downloads. This new agreement should give Dolphin a strong foothold in Japan, as KDDI is the nations second largest carrier with about 35 million subscribers.
KDDI’s senior vice president Makoto Takahashi commented on bringing Dolphin aboard the carrier’s phones:
Dolphin’s success piqued our attention and they were a clear choice as our pre-loaded browser. […] We are excited about this partnership which will bring Dolphin’s impressive portfolio of unique browsing experiences to our subscribers. We are looking forward to a deeper relationship for the next era.
According to figures cited in its announcement, MoboTap’s Dolphin Browser has over 16 million total downloads globally. As I understand it, Mobotap is an international team with bases in the US and China. It was established in March 2010, and the company’s founder and CEO is Yongzhi Yang. I’ve been in contact with them this morning, and hope to bring you some updated figures on how Dolphin is doing in Asia soon.
Chinese-based startup Mafengwo is a website that provides content on all things travel-related. Aside from the website, one of the products that it has developed is Traveling Translator. The app serves to help users to get around despite language barriers. It contains all the frequently asked questions likely to come from a confused traveler, ranging from greetings, transport, ordering food etc. Simply tap on the questions you want to ask and show it to a native person.
Note that Traveling Translator doesn’t do simultaneous translation. All the content is already loaded within the app. In other words, you do not need internet connection to be able to use the app. I thought this is really helpful since most travelers will not have data access on the road anyway. There is also simple “simultaneous translation.” If you type in hello the app will return a “nihao” result. But it’s very limited, of course, compared to Google Translate.
A PR rep told me that the app gets its answers from its group of third-party translators who have pre-loaded their translated content into its database. This is why users can access the app and its content without having an internet connection. The team at Mafengwo took a year to collect all this translated content to be able to provide a useful experience for users even when offline. Because the content is translated by humans, it is far more accurate than machine translation. Traveling Translator is available in over 30 languages and has so far attracted five million downloads. The iOS version costs $1.99 while the Android version is free. Click here to get yours.