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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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UDAR: The Next-Generation Electronic Musical Instrument

2015 Disruptive Challenger, Michinobu Uda

    Udar is an electronic musical instrument that has a simple interface and combines step-less pitch like a violin and chord performance like a piano. You can play any temperament from Western music to folk music. A practical-grade Udar has already been completed, but the production cost is high and this is a major hindrance to the development. In this project, in order to reduce costs and improve performance, we will develop the electronic musical instrument Udar whose format has been greatly changed. If Udar spreads, it can be expected to contribute to the fusion of Western music and other music and to the creation of completely new music.

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A Highly Reliable Embedded OS / Biogroup Control

2015 Disruptive Challenger, Yosuke Furusawa

    As the performance of semiconductors (MPUs) has improved, embedded OSs have gradually become more bloated. At the same time, ultra-small MPUs, just a few millimeters in size, have been developed and ubiquitous computing has become a reality. However, despite MPUs small enough to be embedded in living bodies appearing, there has been no embedded OS with an ultra-small, lightweight implementation - a technological white space has arisen. Therefore, with INNO-vation, we aimed to develop a reliable embedded OS that can be implemented into robots & organisms alike. Unlike conventional OSs, we intend to apply the OS to an ultra-lightweight implementation and ultra-small MPU. We aim to enter a field where no similar OS has existed before. Although we were not able to obtain a third-party certification as proof of high reliability, we aimed to apply our findings to organisms. As such, we developed a system to guide living organisms like robots and named it Biological Swarm Control (R). Currently, we are aiming to commercialize this technology into aquaculture to target underwater organisms (such as fish). For example, by automatically guiding the fish the system can automate the catching process. In the future, we hope to expand this tech outside of just aquatic animals and have a method of controlling any living creature like a robot, not only underwater but also on land and in the air.

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Autonomous Flight Control of a Vertical Take-off and Landing Flapping Flying Robot

2018 Disruptive Challenger, Takanobu Watanabe

    The ultimate goal is to have a large number of ultra-small sensor nodes with flying capabilities similar to dragonflies and perform global-scale multipoint environment scanning. The appearance of fully-fledged artificial muscle seems to be a long way off, so we first must use currently available technology: ultra-small motors. The aim is to make several tens of centimeter-sized flapping airplanes driven by gear and crank mechanisms (comparable to flying organisms). The milestone is to achieve motor function and develop autonomous flight technology. Finally, a vertical take-off and landing fluttering machine that can change the aerial altitude from hovering flight to level flight has been created. Therefore, in the INNO-vation program, we will target the autonomous flight of the flapper using machine learning.

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A Superhuman Suit to "Feel" Your Surroundings

2015 Disruptive Challenger, Mitsuhiro Matsumoto

    A space in which a person can instantaneously recognize various objects in all directions around a person and the distance to the objects through the tactile sensation of the human skin in all directions simultaneously in order to avoid danger through objects that reach the person. To create a superhumanized suit that can feel other objects.

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Identification of Newborn Chicken's Sex By AI

2018 Disruptive Challenger, Yusuke Nakano

    Though the automation of egg production has been progressing, skilled workers who separate male and female baby chicks are still essential. As the populations in Southeastern Asian countries such as India and Indonesia grow, so does the demand for low-cost, high-nutrition eggs accessible to a range of religious beliefs. Training specialists in this field has started to become a challenge. Expanding the production of eggs, which are a vital source of protein, will help realize the solution of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) #2: Zero Hunger.

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A Computerized Earring

2014 Disruptive Challenger, Kazuhiro Taniguchi

    Using ears that are said to be functional until the end, even if they are older or have a problem with their body, they say, "It's fun to use", researching and developing an earring-type computer that satisfies the following conditions: "Relax, take care of your health, and move your heart." At INNO-vation, we are studying a function that is not yet developed that can be mounted on the earpiece-type computer and that can be used to sense and control the human five senses.

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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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Interviews

2021/02/17 19:30

Yosuke Furusawa

The “Aquaman” of Japan

Breaking down the barrier separating reality and fantasy by manipulating the movement of fish

Furusawa isn’t a fisherman or a farmer, but you’d be forgiven for thinking otherwise as he emerges from one of his giant water tanks clad in chest-high rubber waders. He’s an engineer, and he has created something that evokes comparisons to that American comic-book superhero of old, Aquaman. Furusawa has invented a way to talk to fish. It doesn’t use words, of course, but rather carefully crafted underwater electrical fields to direct and corral schools of fish like a sheepdog herds its flock. This might not sound like much of a superpower, but the device’s potential impact on the world is in fact supersized.

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The “Aquaman” of Japan

2020/06/05 18:00

Takahito Aoto

“Soft thinking” – a camera to capture softness

Dr. Takahito Aoto (University of Tsukuba) is working to develop a device that can measure the exact softness of materials without actually touching them

Is it gelatinous or doughy or simply limp...? The only way to determine the softness (and elasticity) of an object is by touching it and feeling for yourself. However, Dr. Aoto is currently engaged in research on a special kind of camera—a camera that “captures softness.” Since it accomplishes this simply by filming objects, the camera is, of course, non-contact, non-destructive, and non-invasive. It can determine how springy an object is based solely on the visual data that it collects.

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“Soft thinking” – a camera to capture softness

2020/05/22 18:00

Yusuke Nakano

Chicks, Sex and Tech

Using AI to solve the growing issue in the chick sexing industry

Yusuke Nakano is a specialist in making the invisible visible. Be he’s no mad scientist or magician – he’s a video-streaming expert with a trick up his sleeve.

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Chicks, Sex and Tech
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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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