InnoUvators | The Next Wave of Strange Science & Unusual Technology

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Bringing the "Broom Guitar" to the World for Anyone to Play Like A Rock Star

2023 Disruptive Challenger, Tetsuto Takahashi

The theme of this work surrounds deciphering how to further connect people around the world to each other through the Broom Guitar, a musical cleaning instrument that combines sound and light to let anyone express themselves through performance arts.  At first glance, the device may seem like a simple broom, but the interior is equipped with numerous sensors that let the user create sounds just like a guitar. The device uses microcontrollers that employ algorithms based on music theory, allowing anyone to intuitively play, regardless of their previous experience with instruments. I was struggling with many hardships in life and found myself wishing to live as I did in middle school, pretending to play the guitar on a broom while chasing the dream of one day becoming a rock star. This led to the creation of the Broom Guitar. The Broom Guitar is designed to open people’s hearts, and I am convinced that it can be used to let people from all walks of life communicate through music, which is why I worked on developing a standalone model that anyone can play wherever they are. This will open the world up to a new type of musical non-verbal communication that transcends experience, nationality, and language.  

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Development of a Technology to Visualize All Kinds of Conversations by Focusing on Quantitative Information

2020 Disruptive Challenger, Takeshi Mizumoto

As global issues become increasingly complex, the importance of being able to solve such issues through discussions with people with different ways of thinking is increasing. In addition, in our everyday lives, we have conversations every day in schools, companies, homes, and so on. To realize rich communication through mutual understanding, the challenger has developed a technology for visualizing nonverbal aural communication based on auditory scene analysis and has provided it to schools and corporate training programs. During the course of this challenge, I focused on a more casual "drinking party" as a new application of this technology. We then created "Gamiel," a system that visualizes drinking parties and activates communication.  

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Implementation of an Illusion Ball

2016 Disruptive Challenger, Shuhei Tsuchida

Recently, live performances utilizing robots such as drones and small humanoids have been increasing. However, although they can move in sync with a person, there is almost no real contact, and the robot itself is only a monotonous movement ( in movements and gestures), and it is inferior to the "skill" possessed by a person. In this project, we will develop a spherical LED display with a diameter of 1m or more, which can be lifted and has the "skill" of expressing unrealistic movements by illusion. Using a large number of moving spherical LED displays, prototypes will be conducted with the aim of realizing an effect that allows you to enjoy the unreal world with the naked eye.

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Bone regeneration therapy while avoiding iPS cell tumorigenesis

2019 Disruptive Challenger, Hiroshi Egusa

As Japan's population continues to age, the demand for regenerative medicine to restore lost or damaged bones continues to climb. Effective bone regeneration technology is also expected to be sought after for medical care on pets, such as cats and dogs, and racehorses with broken bones. I have been involved with development of regenerative medical technology used to treat the jaw bone reduction that occurs after losing teeth. I have established a technology to obtain artificial bone materials by freeze-drying artificial bones (bone organoids) made from iPS cells. This product not only exhibits higher bone regeneration and absorbency not found in existing bone materials, but due to the fact that it uses dead iPS cells, it's also expected to have realistic clinical applications due to its safety and low cost. Within this project, for the purpose of developing the technology for clinical uses and animal medical care, I will be working to strengthen the effectiveness of this product and verify and inspect its results.

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Improving Accessibility of AI Technology Development for a Diversity-Inclusive Sustainable AI Society

2020 Disruptive Challenger, Takashi Hasuo

  With AI technology becoming more prominent in recent years, large companies such as those involved in IT have been proactively working with AI technology designed to support those with disabilities. Due to Japan’s shortage of human resources brought about by the country’s low birth rate and aging population, AI technology that helps those with disabilities to play a larger role in society is becoming increasingly vital. Although the use of AI technology is increasing, those with visual impairments are almost entirely unable to partake in the development process. Even if new programs are developed from a software 2.0 point of view, the analytical methods to interpret data remain largely the same, leaving those with visual impairments out in the dark, a situation often referred to as informationally impaired. That being said, as mentioned in the Japanese government’s AI strategy, AI technology is meant to “promote a sustainable society that embraces diversity”, and that very diversity is something that should be carefully considered during the development process. In recent years, there’s a tendency when using data-driven recursive technology such as Deep Learning that the created AI tech will exhibit a strong bias. Therefore, a diverse group of people should be involved in the development process. In order to realize such a society that promotes sustainability and embraces diversity, this challenge was focused on improving the accessibility of AI development for the visually impaired, as well as establishing a data science environment and creating the associated primer content (written below). Data Science Environment Improvement for the Visually Impaired Project Data Science Primer For Those Using Screen Readers

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Yorishiro: Creating a New Form of Expression by Breathing Life into Clothing

2020 Disruptive Challenger, Shodai Kayama

A coat hanger-like device that breathes movement into clothing is currently being developed and implemented for use in society. This technology, with its formality, endearing charm, and quick movements can be used to bring out the hidden life that clothes already hold inside to create a new type of social robot or retail store display. Whether it’s commercial or private use, this product allows users to utilize their own creativity and uncover unique worldviews in their own everyday lives all while widening the bond between people and clothing.

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Stickers coated with 100% natural formulations that extend fruits shelf life by 3-4 times longer

2020 Disruptive Challenger, Zhafri Zainudin

An award-winning food and crop protection company developing and commercializing transformative technologies to combat global food waste, both naturally and safely. This technology has been shown to keep fruit fresh up to 14 days longer, helping shape a safer, more sustainable future in the food supply chain. StixFresh stickers utilize a safe, all-natural, patent-pending formulation. The compounds making up this formulation work together in the vapor phase to create a protective layer around the fruit, slowing down over-ripening and spoilage during storage. Conveniently, StixFresh stickers can be applied anywhere along the supply chain. Since the formulation is on the non-adhesive side, distributors and producers are able to feature their branding or barcodes on the stickers.

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The Solar Powered Flower, "Hikaruka"

2020 Disruptive Challenger, Sonoe Hanazono

Similar to how plants undergo synthesis, the solar-powered plant generates electricity in its leaves, stores it in the roots and it glows at night when it blooms.  Attached to the leaves are solar panels which efficiently generate power through light. This works even indoors and can use both natural light through a window or even artificial light.  An illuminance sensor is attached to a leaf, when the room darkens at night, the flower blooms and lights up. When morning comes and the sun shines in, the flower closes and the lights go out. In other words, it functions as a nightlight.  At the same time, as a plant-shaped robot, it is being developed so that people can enjoy a new form of communication that has never existed before. For example, like taking care of a real plant, humans can give the device a "shower of light" to give extra electricity. Even if there is little sunlight on rainy days, the flower can still be made to bloom.  In the future, the goal is to make the device more compact and foldable to deliver a bouquet of light to those areas without electricity. 

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What is InnoUvators?

InnoUvators are individuals in society that have a mindset of continually undertaking challenges without fear of failure.

They are the creators of "something new from nothing," forming and implementing original ideas without being bound by preconceptions. In Japan, there are efforts to find and support such InnoUvators. This site introduces those visionaries, and the technologies born of their challenges.
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