To round out T5 on a positive note, here are five made-in-Japan tech solutions to marvel at:
- Japan’s Fugaku supercomputer — the world’s fastest — was not created with the aim of excelling in numerical benchmarks, Satoshi Matsuoka, the mastermind behind the project, tells Osamu Tsukimori. Instead, it was born with an “application-first philosophy,” meaning that its raison d’etre is to tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges, such as climate change.
- Global web traffic surged by 48% in 2020, driven by growth in streaming video, videoconferencing, online gaming and social networking. And all that computing power generates a lot of heat. As Bloomberg reports, Japan’s quest for zero-emission data centers that rely less on air-conditioning is harnessing the world’s oldest cooling system: snow.
- Panasonic will start trials next month of home deliveries by a self-driving robot in Kanagawa Prefecture as the pandemic has raised demand for services with reduced human-to-human contact. The robot will deliver food and other goods purchased at shops to residents of Fujisawa Sustainable Smart Town through March.
- Sony unveiled its Airpeak drone at CES, the world’s largest consumer electronics and information technology show, which took place online earlier this month. Airpeak marks Sony’s belated entry into the drone business, which is currently dominated by Chinese manufacturers.
- A robot created by a team from Fukushima College won the top prize in a nationwide robotics competition that this year was based around the theme of decommissioning the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. Mimicking the situation at the plant, the robots had to pass through a long pipe, land on a pedestal, collect balls representing fuel debris below and return within 10 minutes.