From The Japan Times:
Panasonic Corp. said Thursday it will start offering in December a megaphone capable of automatically translating Japanese into English, Chinese and Korean in its latest bid to help companies cope with an increase in foreign visitors to Japan.
Panasonic hopes the new translation service can be used in places such as stations, airports and tourist destinations where accurate and speedy announcements are needed. It is targeting corporate customers with a goal of obtaining contracts for 10,000 units in fiscal 2018.
The megaphone has around 300 preset sentences in Japanese that are commonly used to raise caution and give information, including “The train has been delayed” or “Watch your step.”
When a user speaks into the megaphone, it recognizes and translates what is being said instantly, which will then be played out in English, Chinese and Korean through its speaker. …
Ditch those goofy glasses and still watch movies in 3D
From MIT News:
3-D movies immerse us in new worlds and allow us to see places and things in ways that we otherwise couldn’t. But behind every 3-D experience is something that is uniformly despised: those goofy glasses.
Fortunately, there may be hope. … a team from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) and Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science have demonstrated a display that lets audiences watch 3-D films in a movie theater without extra eyewear.
Dubbed “Cinema 3D,” the prototype uses a special array of lenses and mirrors to enable viewers to watch a 3-D movie from any seat in a theater. …
These brothers made a solar coffee bean roaster…that was mistaken for a death ray
From Ars Technica:
Even if you park a few blocks away from the Solar Roast Coffee building, you can smell the acidic odor of roasting coffee beans wafting down Pueblo’s Main Street.
I was out in the area for an unrelated story and had heard that Solar Roast was a cool place to sit and work. But when I found out that the coffee shop was also the retail face of the only major commercial solar-powered coffee roasting company in the US, I e-mailed owner Mike Harktop to see if I could get a tour. He congenially agreed.
The company was started by Mike and his brother David in 2004, with the two fashioning a makeshift solar-powered coffee roaster out of 100 mirrors, a broccoli strainer, and a satellite dish. That’s right—instead of relying on traditional photovoltaic cell panels converting photons into electricity and running a coffee roasting machine that way, the brothers started out building a solar thermal system, directing light and heat directly onto one pound of raw coffee at a time. …
The most ambitious solar thermal setup was the Helios IV, which was built in Oregon and later reconstructed in Colorado—this version was 35 feet in diameter, moved automatically to follow the sun’s path in the sky, and roasted 30 pounds of coffee at a time. “Pueblo shut us down at one point because they thought we were building a death ray,” Mike told me. All the while, the company was racking up customers from small coffee houses to specialty groceries. …
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