Category Archives: SCI-TECH

Pepper serves free drinks at SoftBank store robot cafes

pepper robot japan tokyo softbank cafe coffee

Visitors to SoftBank stores in Tokyo and many other areas around Japan would have likely encountered the small white robot Pepper.

The humanoid robot, co-developed by Aldebaran Robotics with the telecommunications giant, can also be spotted at various other stores and hotels in Japan, eager to communicate with people.

This quirky gimmick alone is amusing enough for most kids and tourists, though Pepper has so far failed to function in a fully practical way in the retail environment. (Our interactions, at any rate, have rarely gone smoothly.) It seems that the robots are not quite taking off just yet.

pepper robot japan tokyo softbank cafe coffee

But now comes news that SoftBank has set up pilot “robot cafes” in three stores in Tokyo. The spaces are available at the Ginza, Roppongi and Omotesando stores from July 19th until August 2nd. Pepper will serve free cups of coffee to customers in anticipation of a fully fledged robot cafe some day (and one that will certainly be different to the raunchier and unashamedly kitsch Robot Restaurant in Shinjuku).

Since Pepper can remember faces and drink preferences, it makes an attentive and hard-working server. While customers are waiting to purchase their new smartphone contract, Pepper can approach and ask them if they would like a cup of coffee.

Customers can then select the amount and type of coffee they would like using the touch screen embedded into Pepper’s body. Pepper will brew your cup of joe on a nearby coffee machine.

If you are brave enough, you can register yourself on the screen as a “friend” so Pepper will memorize your face and coffee choice.

The robot recognizes different human faces thanks to a system developed by Microsoft that is capable of detecting 27 spots on a …continue reading


Meet the adorable robot camera Japan’s space agency sent to the ISS

Science can be cute as hell when it wants to be – take the JEM Internal Ball Camera (“Int-Ball” for short). The device, created by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), was delivered to the International Space Station on June 4, 2017, and now JAXA is releasing its first video and images. The purpose of Int-Ball is to give scientists on the ground the ability to… Read More

…continue reading


Killer or Creepy? 5 Japanese Bugs To Avoid This Summer

Source: Gaijin Pot

I remember as a child growing up and seeing something that absolutely terrified me.

No, it wasn’t a horror movie, nor was it the mid-’80s threat of nuclear war. It was a BBC documentary about insects that went into graphic detail about just how many creepy crawlies are living in your house, your bed — and even your body.

Unfortunately, Japan has its own unique assortment of usual suspect insects lurking — and possibly breeding — in your house. Last month’s news of venomous South American fire ants found in Japan is just the latest round of expat bugs to infiltrate the island nation. Although there have been no reports so far of anyone being stung, just this week, biologists warned of the dangers of an infestation, according to a July 9 article in Japan Today.

You’re not yet likely to run into the ants, but there are bugs to be wary of in Japan. It can be hard to tell which insects are safe to pick up and remove and which ones are dangerous to handle. So today, we present some of the worst summer bugs to keep an eye out for and more importantly — how to avoid them.

1) Suzumebachi: the ‘killer hornet’

Photo by I,KENPEI

Yikes, that’s a big one.

Japan’s infamous suzumebachi, or “killer hornet,” is one of the more dangerous creatures on this list, as it does kill a dozen or so people every year. However, the actual risk posed by this particular bug needs to be seen in its true context.

The suzumebachi is bigger and has a far more venomous sting than conventional hornets. However, a single attack is unlikely to be fatal to an adult unless you have a wasp/bee sting allergy or you are stung several times in quick succession. …continue reading