Tag: ‘Illumination’

Optron: Brilliant instrument of noise

02 Oct 2008

Improv musician Atsuhiro Ito wields a flickering noise contraption called the "Optron" (or "Optrum"), a miked-up fluorescent light tube he plugs into an array of effects pedals and plays sort of like an electric guitar. The Optron is featured in some Sony Walkman commercials.


+ Optron - Walkman CM 1


+ Optron - Walkman CM 2 (with Yoichiro Shin on drums)

[More on YouTube: Atsuhiro Ito, Optrum, Optron]

Kage Roi idea acceleration system

26 Jun 2008

Kage Roi -- IT company Kayac has teamed up with researchers from Keio University to develop a high-tech brainstorming room that listens to its inhabitants and feeds them a barrage of related data and images in order to boost creativity and fuel the imagination.

The system -- called "Kage Roi" -- relies on a speech-recognition capable computer that monitors the brainstorming session via microphone, identifies keywords, and automatically crawls the web in search of related information and images. A ceiling-mounted projector then casts the retrieved data and imagery onto dark, human-shaped shadows on the table during the course of the meeting. The brainstormers can free-associate on the projected data, use it as a tool for discussion, or rely on it for helpful cues if ideas are running short.

Kage Roi also features an ambient, multi-colored LED lighting system designed to stimulate creativity by altering the mood of the room. The "half-day course" setting, for example, simulates the rising and setting of the sun over the course of a 2-hour brainstorming session, helping to create a gradual mood shift as the meeting progresses.

Kayac developed Kage Roi in cooperation with the Keio University Inakage Lab (imgl), whose research focuses on next-generation digital communication and entertainment. The system was installed in a meeting room at Kayac headquarters last month, and the company plans to begin field-testing it soon.

Kayac hopes to develop a practical version of the system in the near future, and they are considering marketing it to companies in the content creation industry.

[Source: Fuji Sankei, Kayac]

Dekochari art bikes (video)

10 Dec 2007

Deco-chari art bikes from Japan --

For decades, dekochari have been the ride of choice for hardcore Japanese dekotora fans that are too young to drive. Modeled after Japan's celebrated art trucks, dekochari (deko means "decoration" and chari is slang for "bicycle") typically feature large front bumpers, ornate luggage racks, rear-mounted boxes that resemble truck trailers, colorful paint jobs, lots of chrome, and sophisticated electric light displays. This video pieces together random night scenes from Dekochari Yarou, a documentary that profiles a few dekochari enthusiasts and their custom rides. The soundtrack is "Ichiban-boshi Blues" (sung by Bunta Sugawara and Kinya Aikawa), the theme song from the Torakku Yarou movie series that sparked Japan's dekotora craze in the '70s.


+ Video

Rabbit-shaped police lights

26 Oct 2007

Rabbit light for Osaka police --

The Osaka Prefectural Police Department this year has reportedly purchased 800 rabbit-shaped roof-mount strobe lights for use on special patrol cars that cruise the streets around schools. Custom-built by warning equipment manufacturer Patlite, the blue bunny beacons are designed to win the admiration of children while they send the bad guys packing.

Here is a short video of the rabbit lights on display at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show.

[Via: Gizmodo Japan]

Photos of space fireworks

02 Sep 2007

Space fireworks --

The Tokushima-Kainan Observatory took some terrific photos of Japan's space fireworks show.

Space fireworks

30 Aug 2007

Space fireworks -- People in Japan this Saturday Sunday evening will be treated to a "space fireworks" show consisting of three balls of red light in the sky, each glowing as bright as the moon.

These luminous orbs will be the result of three clouds of lithium vapor released into the ionosphere by a rocket launched in an experiment to study the atmosphere. The red glow will be caused by sunlight striking the lithium vapor clouds as they disperse. "In the first few seconds after each lithium release, the light should become as large and bright as the moon," says team member Masayuki Yamamoto, a professor at Kochi University of Technology.

Currently scheduled for Saturday (Sep 1, 2007) at 7:29 PM Sunday (Sep 2, 2007) at 7:26 PM, the one and a half minute long space fireworks show will be most visible in western Japan at about 20 degrees above the southern horizon, but people in the Tokyo area may be able to see the light at about 10 degrees above the southwestern horizon.

The researchers, who come from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), Hokkaido University and Kochi University of Technology, say the purpose of the experiment is to study atmospheric flow in the ionosphere at an altitude of between 100 to 300 km. This area of the atmosphere is difficult to study because satellites typically must remain at altitudes higher than 250 km, while weather balloons generally cannot exceed altitudes of 50 km.

At 7:23 PM Saturday 7:20 PM Sunday night, the 8.5-meter tall S-520 rocket will be launched from the JAXA Uchinoura Space Center in southern Kyushu. As it makes an arc across the sky and begins its descent, the rocket will begin releasing the lithium. The rocket will make its first lithium release at 7:29 7:26 PM (at 250 km), followed by a second release 40 seconds later (at 200 km) and another one 40 seconds after that (at 150 km). The rocket will then fall into the Pacific about 500 km south of the tip of Wakayama prefecture.

The scientists will observe the lithium glows from the ground at four separate locations. If the weather is not fine at at least three of the four locations, the launch will be postponed. The latest schedule information is available here.

[Source: Asahi via Slashdot Japan]

UPDATE: It's been postponed until Sunday night (7:26 PM).

UPDATE 2: These photos, found via 2-channeru, show a faint red blob. The photos appear to have been taken from somewhere in Fukui prefecture, which is pretty far away from the action. Cloud cover here in Tokyo obscured the view.

Space fireworks --

Space fireworks --

UPDATE 3: These photos from the Tokushima-Kainan Observatory, located at Dairi-Matsubara beach in the town of Kaiyo (Tokushima prefecture, Shikoku), show a much brighter glow. More high-resolution photos here.

Space fireworks --

Space fireworks --

Space fireworks --

Building glows blue with cosmic radiation

27 Sep 2006

M-INT Kobe -- M-INT Kobe, a commercial complex scheduled to open in Kobe on October 4, has been outfitted with an exterior lighting system that translates cosmic energy waves into pulsating blue light. The system is the first of its kind to be installed on a building in Japan.

Called "Super Nova," the lighting system consists of 2,880 blue LEDs arranged in two columns spanning the height of the 18-story building's west wall. The embedded lights are activated by sensors that detect cosmic rays. According to Takuro Osaka, the University of Tsukuba Graduate School professor who designed the system, the brightness of the blue lights fluctuates according to the intensity of the detected cosmic rays, giving the building an ever-changing magical glow.

Takuro Osaka has been exploring the use of cosmic radiation in art since 1995, and for years he has been discussing the possibility of collaborating with Japan's space agency (JAXA, formerly NASDA) on art projects in outer space. Check out Takuro Osaka's homepage for details about his previous spaced-out projects.

[Sources: Kobe Shimbun, Kobe Topics]

Aurora on demand

11 Jul 2006

Aurora generatorResearchers have developed the next best thing for would-be aurora gazers unable to make the trip to a near-polar location -- an aurora generator. The device was developed by Professor Shigeyuki Minami from the Graduate School of Engineering at Osaka City University, who worked with real estate developer Iida Sangyo Co., Ltd.

Beginning August 1, Iida Sangyo plans to fire up the device as the main attraction at its Enoshima Island Spa ("Enospa"), affording visitors the extra luxury of gazing at the aurora while lounging poolside on the second floor.

The aurora is generated within the belly of the machine, where a near-vacuum state is maintained. Electrons collide with oxygen and nitrogen to create colorful light in the same way that naturally occurring auroral light is generated in the earth’s upper atmosphere. One side of the device is made of transparent acrylic resin, allowing viewers to admire the beauty of the artificial aurora contained within. The aurora generator measures 2.2 (H) x 2.8 (W) x 1.4 (D) meters (7 x 9 x 5 feet), though the company claims to have engineered prototypes as large as 3 x 3 meters.

Aurora simulators in the past have relied on techniques such as laser beams that create aurora-like effects, while devices that have relied on electrical discharge in a vacuum have been very small. In addition to being larger and more "real" than previous devices, Iida Sangyo's device does not simply light up -- it emits a shimmering curtain of dynamic multi-hued light consisting of as many as 11 colors.

The company has not revealed exactly what technology is at work in the device.

[Source: Tech-On! via /. Japan]

Follow the solar brick road

11 Apr 2006

Solar LED blocks from Sunlight Sunlight Co., Ltd., a venture company based in Himeji, Japan, has unveiled a new line of self-illuminating bricks that contain solar-powered LEDs. The company expects the solar LED blocks, which are powered by sunshine collected during the day, to be used in the construction of public roads and parks.

Embedded in sidewalks, the solar LED blocks can provide lighting underfoot at night and during power outages, and can be used for decorative purposes or for emergency evacuation lighting. The block's built-in solar cells and light components are arranged so that illumination is distributed evenly across the entire surface, an improvement over Sunlight’s previous solar LED blocks that featured a segregated component arrangement.

The bricks use solar cells that efficiently store and generate electricity even on cloudy days or under poor lighting conditions, and they can emit up to 8 hours of continuous light (or 24 hours of blinking light).

"In addition to improving the scenery, these lights can play a role in accident prevention and in emergency lighting during a disaster," says Yoshikazu Arai, President of Sunlight. "And they are environmentally friendly, too." The blocks start at 12,000 yen (US$100) and come in 5 colors.

[Source: Kobe Shimbun]