Category Archives: SCI-TECH

Nintendo’s Ring Fit Adventure is a silly, gentle way to shape up

Nintendo has a long history when it comes to exercise-driven games. I’m dating myself, but I can say I remember playing Track & Field on NES with the Power Pad. How far we’ve come! Ring Fit Adventure is a full-body workout for grown-ups, but fun, gentle, and ridiculous enough to forget it’s exercise.

The game and accessories were announced in September, coming as a complete surprise even considering Nintendo’s constant but hit-and-miss attempts at keeping its players healthy. What really threw people off was that this game actually looked like… a game. And so it is!

Ring Fit Adventure has you, the unnamed and (naturally) mute protagonist, journeying through a series of worlds and levels chasing after Dragaux, a swole dragon who’s infecting the land with… something. Maybe he’s not wiping down the equipment afterwards. Come on, man.

Playing with these virtual versions of the controllers gives you a real feel for how solid the motion detection is.

Anyway, you do this by using the Joy-Cons in a new and strange form: the Ring-Con and leg strap. The latter is pretty self-explanatory, but the ring must be explained. It’s a thick plastic resistance ring that you squeeze from the edges or pull apart. It detects how hard you’re squeezing it through the other Joy-Con, which slots into the top. (The strap and ring grips are washable, by the way.)

The two controllers combined can detect all kinds of movements, from squats and leg lifts to rotations, presses, balancing, and yoga poses. You’ll need them all if you’re going to progress in the game.

Each level is a path that you travel down by actually jogging in real life (or high stepping if you’re in goo), while using the Ring-Con to interact with the environment. Aim and squeeze to send …continue reading


Apple announces AirPods Pro with noise cancellation

Apple AirPods Pro Expanded 102819

Apple just announced a new device today, the AirPods Pro. The company issued a press release to announce the new device. As the name suggests, the AirPods Pro are wireless earbuds with additional features compared to the AirPods.

In particular, the AirPods Pro features active noise cancellation — this feature is particularly popular in headphones designed for airplanes, such as the Bose 700 and Sony WH-1000XM3.

Apple has integrated two microphones in each earbud to listen to background noise and actively cancel sound around you. One of the microphones is inward-facing and listens to the sound inside your ears. The company has also integrated adaptive EQ to tune the low- and mid-fequencies in real time depending on the shape of your ears.

You can switch between active noice cancellation and something called Transparency mode in order to block background noise or let background noise go through your earbuds. You can control that from your device or squeeze the bottom of the earbuds between your fingertips.

The design of the AirPods Pro is slightly different from the AirPods. They look like in-ear earbuds with flexible silicone ear tips. You’ll be able to swap those ear tips as there are three different sizes in the box. The AirPods Pro are also sweat and water resistant.

Behind the scene, the AirPods Pro work with an Apple-designed chip called the H1. This chip handles everything from real-time noise cancelation, audio processing, and the ability to respond to “Hey Siri” requests.

Apple says that you can expect the same battery life that you’d get with regular AirPods — four and half hours of listening time with active noise cancellation and up to 24 hours of listening time with the charging case.

The charging case also looks slightly different — it is now rectangular-shaped. It features …continue reading


Sea change: Japanese leads on marine plastic litter

A boy rows his boat in the polluted waters of the Brahmaputra river on the occasion of World Water Day in Guwahati (Photo: Reuters).

Authors: Michikazu Kojima and Fusanori Iwasaki, ERIA

Marine plastic litter has been recognised as one of the world’s greatest environmental challenges in recent years and several international forums have started to take action on the issue. In June 2019, G20 member countries agreed on the Osaka Blue Ocean Vision at the Osaka summit. Japan led the way in concluding the Vision, by which G20 countries aim to reduce additional marine plastic pollution to zero by 2050.

But last year Japan, together with the United States, did not agree to adopt the Ocean Plastics Charter at the G7 summit in Charlevoix, Canada. Why did Japan lead the Osaka Blue Ocean Vision, while refusing to sign the Ocean Plastics Charter in 2018?

The Ocean Plastics Charter declared that G7 leaders would commit to action towards a resource-efficient, lifecycle management approach to plastics in their economies. This would be done through sustainable design, production and after-use markets; better waste collection and management; promoting sustainable lifestyles and education; more research, innovation and new technologies; and coastal and shoreline action.

Although it did not sign the charter, Japan has been making efforts to reduce plastic waste since the 1990s. In 1991 it enacted the Law for the Promotion of Effective Utilization of Resources, requiring businesses to make better use of recycled materials and to design easily recyclable products. Between 1995 and 2002 Japan also developed five new recycling laws focussed on packaging, home appliances, food waste, construction waste and automobiles. Collaboration between local government and the private sector has also reduced the use of single-use plastics — especially plastic bags.

Japan has also led the way in promoting better waste management in Asia and the Pacific. After implementing domestic regulations, the Japanese government proposed the 3R Initiative — reduce, reuse and recycle — at …continue reading


Tweet of the Week #51: Apple Watch Users Told To Go For a Run During Typhoon Hagibis

Source: Gaijin Pot

We were warned: Typhoon Habigis was one monster of a typhoon; a hellish tropical storm of the likes Japan hadn’t seen for decades. Currently, the death toll stands at 74, with thousands of residents still without power or water.*

Days before its landfall, the Japanese authorities had urged the country to prepare for the worst.

From early Saturday morning, the Japanese Meteorology Agency (JMA) was in a frenzy issuing flooding and landslide alerts one after another, as deadly torrential rains poured over Japan’s central prefectures.

Calls for evacuation and for people to take appropriate measures to protect their lives were blasted across all of the areas in immediate danger of a disaster. And for the first time since its creation, a Level 5 “Heavy Rain Alert”—the highest in the JMA’s 5-stage scale—was issued for Tokyo.

Apple didn’t get the memo

Unless in an evacuation area, people were encouraged to stay indoors to avoid any life-threatening danger coming from the storm winds and rain.

Unfortunately, it seems like a certain tech giant’s AI didn’t get the memo as Apple Watch users reported receiving notifications suggesting they go for a run right in the middle of the typhoon.


— やちよ (@yatiyo_1) October 12, 2019

AppleWatchからとんでもない通知(つうち)が来(き)た = I received an unthinkable notification from my Apple Watch.

On the watch screen we can see a short motivational reminder that being more active is down to you and you alone.


= “The only person deciding ‘I can’t run today’ is you. You don’t need to listen to that voice. Let’s run today!”

Twitter users had a great time replying to this one.

どんな天気でも大丈夫。#AppleWatch と一緒ならね(震え声)#apple #CM

— 昇運さん@長身痩躯で手が大きい (@Get_RisingLuck) October 12, 2019

どんな天気(てんき)でも大丈夫(だいじょうぶ)。#AppleWatch と一緒(いっしょ)ならね(震(ふる)え声(ごえ))

= Whatever the weather. #With AppleWatch *trembling voice*

<p …continue reading