Japan Blog Study Tour

Fifth day

IMG_2020 Today we visited Nara again. Last time the weather was crap (rain) and other things were a bit off. This time however, the weather was brilliant: sunny, 12 degrees and we even got a station guard to walk us half-way to NEC. NEC has an awesome building but we weren’t allowed to make pictures. So I didn’t. Only when nobody looked.

IMG_2052 Anyway, we had some cool tech demos about robots which interact with humans (think Aibo, think small toy-like gremlin, think way expensive), a door with lcd’s in them (I want one of those) and telecommunication walls with HD video links between different buildings. The lunch was decent, although pretty cold but that is probably because the kitchen chef never made a western meal like that. After the visit, we were greeted by a fleet of taxis out side NEC. Apparently someone noticed we were running late and they had called every cab in Nara to the NEC building. IMG_2050After the drivers had their fun with the fact that we probably are twice their length they brought us to NTT Communications Lab.

NTT CL is housed in another huge building and here we were told that pictures are allowed. In the areas we could go in without an access card anyway. The NTT demo’s were even better then the ones at NEC (which was already a cool visit). They are working on the S-Room : a vision in which every item in the physical world gets a small sensor tag to monitor it. This allows for detection or falling or whatever. I saw the Google of my house in the future: "Where are my freaking keys?!" "In the living room on the table." Marvelous 🙂

Next we saw the T-Room, a room made up of eight 65 inch LCD TV’s with HD recorders above them. At another facility, 300km away, a duplicate of that circular chamber exists and a woman was demonstrating the room to us. IMG_2073The camera’s record for each panel they are pointed at what is happening and send that to the corresponding panel on the other side. The result is that you see the people in the other room on the TV’s and vice versa. Even though the people are not really here you get the urge to step aside when she is "standing" next to you. It’s really strange to notice how such a simple system (which uses 8 SD video streams using 40Mbps) really works. The problem of filtering the image on the TV’s for displaying on the remote TV (to prevent a visual echo) is really easy: use a polarization filter (as LCD’s generate polarized light by default).IMG_2089

The next demo was about mushrooms: small toys with computer interfaces. They act like information providers when help is needed. Right now its pretty much all a prototype so not so exciting. Also because the voice-recognition only works for Japanese people, even when the input is in English. That’s because they have no native speakers and the Japanese rape the English language when they speak.

IMG_2083 Third demo was about a directional microphone system which used 3 microphones to detect the direction of the sound (the speaker at a table) and filter out other speakers and other noise. The main use is for speech recognition software that works even when multiple people talk at once, up to twelve people. The Dutch wouldn’t be able to do that with twelve microphones, let alone 3…IMG_2065

Finally we left NTT and got on a pretty busy bus to the station. We managed to add 24 people to the full bus and the poor thing was crawling up the sloping roads towards the station. When we got back, we freshened up and found ourselves a decent restaurant.

I’ll blog about day 4 when we leave the temple 🙂

Related Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *