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InnoUvators | The Next Wave of Strange Science & Unusual Technology

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InnoUvators Around the Web

2021/12/22 Hiroshi Egusa was selected for the World’s Top 2% Scientists by Stanford University! (Japanese)
2021/10/22 Marina Fujiwara was selected for Forbes JAPAN's 30 Under 30!
2021/10/19 Yosuke Furusawa received the Startups & University Category Semi Grand Prix Award!

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Meet our InnoUvators

Find out More About Our Esteemed InnoUvators

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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"Syrinx", a Device to Recover a Lost Voice

2020 Disruptive Challenger, Masaki Takeuchi

In order to help those who have lost their voices due to laryngeal and pharyngeal cancer, we have developed and subsequently improved in the INNO-vation Program a hands-free wearable device called Syrinx that lets its user become able to speak again using only lip movement. There were three main points within the Disruptive Challenge. The first was having users actually try out the device and listen to their feedback. We asked a child who had lost his voice due to Chronic Lung Disease to try out the Syrinx to reply at his graduation ceremony. In order to let him use it comfortably, we selected the material for the buckle and strap that fits around the neck, and we modified the circuitry to be more user-friendly. He was very happy about it and is still using it to this day. The second point was the positioning of the oscillator and the effect it had on responses. The best area of the neck to place the device to produce a loud voice differs by person. We tried using existing body analysis applications and pressure gauges to see if there was some sort of law governing these principles, but we were unable to uncover anything. The third point was to reduce the amount of leftover vibration sound caused by the oscillators. Tests were performed by covering the device with rubber and gel, though they didn't go as well as hoped. A lot of mistakes were made, but we're making the most of it now in the current R&D phase!

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The Voice Shower

2020 Disruptive Challenger, Tiger Lee

■The Voice Shower Created an installation that allows users to bathe in "voices". A speaker is built into a showerhead, where the user can shower in "voices" like they would a real shower. He examines how people feel and what effects they get from 'bathing in' or 'seeing' voices instead of 'hearing them', as one would typically do. Through this work, he proposes new ways of using the "voice" and its possibilities.     ■ Experimental Proof University brain wave experiments and expert opinion suggested that voice showers that have the voices of people we hold close relationships with can have healing effects and may even be useful for previously unsolvable medical treatments.

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Development of an "Fluidized Bed Interface" Using the Fluidized Bed Phenomenon to Liquefy Granular Material

2017 Disruptive Challenger, Yasushi Matoba

By introducing a pressurized fluid to a container filled with a particulate substance, the substance can be liquefied. This phenomenon is called a “fluidized bed" and has been used in many industrial fields for things such as incinerators, but has not been used in interface applications that humans directly get involved with. For example, by using sand as the powder/granular material and air as the fluid, and then projecting an image on the surface of the sand, you can create something that can walk on or swim through the sand at the flip of a switch. We study how to use various combinations of particulate and liquid substances to develop new, never-before-experienced interfaces that allow free control of solid and liquid phases.

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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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Understanding Cinderella Technology's Visual Communication Among Women Using Selfie Image Analysis

2015 Disruptive Challenger, Yuka Kubo

In the real world, individuals are often protected by organizations, while in the virtual world, individuals are exposed and dangerous. However, there are many young women in Japan who have enjoyed a virtual world with few physical and social constraints and have created real dreams with success. In the old days, "Hiragana" was used in Japan and "Emoji" and "Selfie" have seen rise in the Internet age. Japanese young women have a track record of creating simple and universal communication regardless of the difficulties they faced. The task is to observe, model, and analyze the communication of young Japanese women who have succeeded in successfully crossing the virtual world and the real world from two approaches: fieldwork and data analysis on the Internet. We will extract the rules of their communication quantitatively and design a new communication technology that reconstructs them.

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UNEUNEWARAWARA Animatronics

2016 Disruptive Challenger, Akira Nakayasu

By combining the animatronics technology used in movies and the like with the kinetic surface system, the creation of expressions such as CG images is realized. The feature of this technology is to pursue an expression in which a large number of constituent elements work together organically and beautifully. By linking this with a three-dimensional structure, a three-dimensional media having a dynamic expression is created. We believe that this technology will apply to robots, interfaces, and entertainment. --Development and application of soft actuators focusing on the expressive power of biological movements. Soft actuators are highly non-linear systems and are known for being difficult to control. On the other hand, if we focus only on the 'expressiveness' movement, it becomes organic and biological, making it is possible to realize a smooth movement seen difficult with a motor drive. We are working on the development of various systems to take advantage of these biological movements. Currently, we are developing a kinetic surface system and joint system, aiming to apply it to artworks and a ball-jointed doll drive. We are also developing a learning toolkit that allows you to easily use soft actuators in your own work. The movement of the soft actuator piques curiosity. We are aiming to develop a toolkit that can be easily used by children and to quickly create a wide variety of different things from their ideas.

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Interviews

2022/08/15 19:30

Tiger Lee

The Voice Shower – Bathe in a New Sensation (Part 2)

A look into how the Voice Shower affects the brain.

Tiger Lee had completed a prototype of his Voice Shower before applying to the INNO-vation Program. During his challenge period, he worked on improving the hardware and verifying the results of his experiments.

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The Voice Shower – Bathe in a New Sensation (Part 2)

2022/08/08 19:30

Tiger Lee

The Voice Shower – Bathe in a New Sensation (Part 1)

The “After School One-sided Love Delusional Inventor”

Tiger Lee is a “After School One-sided Love Delusional Inventor”. His Voice Shower is a product of such fantastical imagination, allowing one to try bathing in the voice of their favorite person.

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The Voice Shower – Bathe in a New Sensation (Part 1)

2022/08/01 19:30

Sonoe Hanazono

Living Room Bloom: The Solar Powered Flower Lights Up Living Spaces (Part 3)

A deep exploration into the creator of the Solar Powered Flower, 'Hikaruka'

Sonoe Hanazono’s Solar Powered Flower Hikaruka, selected for the 2020 INNO-vation Program, served as a prelude to many more works. We asked Hanazono directly about her future plans and her work at 11 deg. design.

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Living Room Bloom: The Solar Powered Flower Lights Up Living Spaces (Part 3)
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What is InnoUvators?

異能vation
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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