For Japan and elsewhere in the world, it will be innovation that unquestionably will resolve the issues we face in the future. Japan is committed to being the very first country to prove that it is possible to grow through innovation even when its population declines.
Japan is rapidly moving toward “Society 5.0”, adding a fifth chapter to the four major stages of human development: hunter-gatherer, agrarian, industrial and information. In this new ultra-smart society, all things will be connected through IoT technology and all technologies will be integrated, dramatically improving the quality of life.
To realize this new era, the Government of Japan is doing everything it can to encourage various players, including start-ups and “hidden gems” among small- and medium-sized enterprises, to come up with brand-new and innovative ideas, to provide the world with solutions.
When a person intends to move a part of her or his body, the brain sends nerve signals to the muscles. People with physical disabilities, whose nervous systems are damaged cannot send these signals reliably to the muscles, resulting in difficulties moving as they would like. Such disabilities have been considered difficult to treat until now. However, a newly developed “cybernic treatment”, revolutionary robot treatment system that will regenerate and improve the patient’s own brain-neuro-physical functions, has begun providing dramatic changes in patients’ abilities to move autonomously. Watch this video to learn how this system works.
RFID TECHNOLOGY FOR METAL PRODUCTS
Advances in technology have contributed greatly to improving productivity. One such technology, radio-frequency identification (RFID), has been widely used to track and monitor a variety of commercial items, significantly improving operational efficiency in many industries. However, RFID could not be used with metals until recently, resulting in time-consuming work manually tracking items at sites that handle metals. This video introduces the intriguing story of the development of a new RFID technology that can work with metals, with the potential to dramatically improve productivity in a wide range of logistics and manufacturing process.
Each week, 34 million people ride the Yamanote Line, which encircles Tokyo. As the trains run at 2-3 minutes intervals from early in morning till late at night, it is difficult to operate and manage the maintenance activity efficiently without interrupting train service. However, the introduction of smart maintenance using IoT technology allows the collection and analysis of enormous amounts of data from trains and rails in real time, making it possible to detect minor changes and to predict failures well in advance. As the issue of aging transport infrastructure attracts a new level of attention around the world, smart maintenance will offer a novel solution to keep infrastructure in safe condition.
AI TO ADVANCE REGENERATIVE MEDICINE
Regenerative medicine using induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells has been attracting attention worldwide as a way to treat illnesses once thought difficult to treat. However, there are only limited numbers of researchers with the world-leading knowledge and skill needed to produce iPS-derived cells with a high enough quality to be used in the human body. Efforts are now being launched to use artificial intelligence (AI) to accumulate experiences of researchers who handle iPS cells and standardize them. This approach has the potential to ensure quality of mass-produced transplantable cells and to facilitate their distribution to more people, leading to the delivery of custom-made regenerative treatment for each patient in need at much lower cost.
FINGERPRINT AUTHENTICATION WITHOUT IMAGE DATA
When we use a credit card, it requires a PIN Code or a signature to complete the transaction, so it is a little inconvenient. Also, the possibility of unauthorized card use means it cannot be considered completely secure. For these reasons, biometric authentication is attracting attention as an alternative way to identify individuals and process payments. The newly developed fingerprint authentication technology, by which the feature points of each fingerprint are digitized and indexed by a proprietary algorithm and artificial intelligence (AI), eliminates the security risks associated with conventional technologies and realizes 300 times faster searches. This video introduces how this more secure and quicker identification method could change our everyday life.
FUELING JET AIRCRAFT WITH MICROALGAE
Euglena, a type of algae, is a rare microorganism that combines the characteristics of plants and animals. Consequently, it grows by photosynthesis yet produces fat in its body that is suited to the production of jet fuel. In Japan, where researchers were the first in the world to succeed in large-scale cultivation of euglena, research is underway to use oil extracted from the microorganism as a biofuel, with the goal of using it to power aircraft in the future. As the need for energy that does not adversely impact the environment grows, expectations are high for the multifaceted potential of biofuel made from euglena that has been made possible by researchers in Japan, a nation that lacks energy resources.