December 20, 2009

Hello all,

All may know our ZeptoPad and ARider. They were exhibited in SIGGRAPH ASIA 2009 during these 3 days, 17th – 19th.

We brought a set of real ARider devices so you could try it on actually there.

Thousands of people came to the event and many of them visited our digital stand!


And we could hear their “WOW” (especially when they see the helmet of ARider) directly. We thank many people for coming and giving opinions to us!

As I said before, we are now developing some systems for touch screen. So with Pioneer’s  single touch screen, CYBER BOARD, the demo of SiteSneaker2007 was also exhibited.

Site Sneaker 2007 is the web browsing system to search and select web pages like when you chose some books at a bookshop.

Today, two years after its originally development, the system was again refined by Makoto’s live coding.

So there PDW cycle realized again like when we were in Macworld 2009.

Presentations were all exciting!


Mr Takahashi of Robo Garage gave a demonstration of ROPID. The robot’s actions of running and jumping were so smooth and cute! Also, the robo nodded when Mr Takahashi told it to do an action.

Works in Art Gallery space were so crazy and beautiful.





The above is the string display which Ryo bought at the first sight!

Other booths were also interesting!



Here some pics of works for Emerging Technology.



Works at digital stands (including us?) were unique and funny.


This is the devices to robotize note PC. Thought, there are similar other devices made in Hong Kong, but the devices at the stand was only 10,000 yen! It costed much more several years ago, so Ryo take it and actually ordered it!

We would not see so many booths, things and presentations like Lucas Film which recruited people there.

We haven’t seen such a many innovations at the same time. Usually the SIG is took place in America, but this year Asia one is took place in Yokohama, JAPAN, and the quality was almost the same! It was really wonderful opportunity for us to go there much more easier.

We hope this SIG will be taken place in Japan again.

Many thanks again everyone for coming and seeing us!

A Huge iPhone?

What is this? Is this a huge iPhone???

Of course not. This is a really wide and big desk type (single) touch screen. It is a very future style product, CYBERBOARD,  made by Pioneer. Though it is usually set vertically but we set it horizontally.

Originally such desk-type plasma screen was for sale, and recently Pioneer’s developing one for multi-touch.

This touch-screen is used for the meetings of big companies. When plan sheets of a bicycle, a car or a building, maps or paper are used in meetings, usually people unfold them on desks and will talk about their plan with pointing them directly. Though video chat is not suitable for such use, the screen is.

People are around the screen and directly talk about and point at it. Face to face is necessary for meetings, but also sharing the contents will make the meeting more effective.

When we saw Pioneer showed the demo of that at CEATEC, we couldn’t but drop there as we develop the white board application, ZeptoPad. These devices are necessary for our development. We originally developed multi-touch screen with glass table, DILAD screen, Ir camera and a projector bought at IKEA a year before iPhone was released in Japan.

When we said such thing to the staff of Pioneer, he said he had ZeptoPad! So we found a kindred spirit each other and sought something our cooperation.

The Plasma Came

Such meeting cause good boon for us and we could borrow the fantastic plasma touch screen.

So we tried some things with it.

Firstly, we tried Google Earth. It is orthodox experiment, isn’t it?

(We tried with MacBookPro at first, but the driver seemed not to support correctly, so it does not work.)

The impression of seeing Google Earth on the horizontal screen is different from doing it on the vertical one.

The Keyboard we used was Window’s XP’s software keyboard. But when it is displayed in full-screen, ESC key is lost. So  we directly used PC’s one instead.  Maybe non-wire keyboard attachment is better for its use.

As our experiment, we surfed a certain Flash web sites. Touch screen is really suitable such sites since they are developed for mouse controlling. It is really regrettable that iPhone does not support Flash… X(

A desk type screen is useful to see sites such as to search and select among many pictures.

The site above is created in Flash, and it is the UI to thumbnailes American social news site, Digg.

Though the screen is useful for the people standing bottom side of it, it is not perfectly useful for those who standing at opposite side. Letters can be placed around the screen to be seen easily by every people around it. But ones near the center should be placed in one direction… how should we solve the problem…?

By seeing on the wide screen set horizontally, We felt something fresh even see the same thing as usual.

Board games or simulation games would become more fun on this screen.

We will play continually on this screen to have fun for our research and to reply some feedback to Pioneer in return for their kindness. We are excited that it would expand the possibility of game and web contents even only with Flash.


We are exhibiting at SIGGRAPH 2009 ASIA, at Pacifico Yokohama, between 17th-19th December 2009. SIGGRAPH is the world-wide event of computer graphics, and recently is becoming as the place of user interface and new technology.

UEI’s ZeptoPad and ARider will appear at one of  “digital stand” there. Also, you can touch the wide screen above there!

See you at SIGGRAPH:D

Cowboys Meet Rookies in China

December 12, 2009

Cowboys went to China and Hong Kong to find something interesting but also to meet their friend who met at Infinity Ventures Summit (IVS).

They have known a president of a company whose office is in ShenZhen. The company recently focuses on applications for Facebook and mobiles. So to share our experiences, they visited the office there.

There is an area of office buildings far from electronic market, about 20km or so. Buildings are really big. Also guards are found everywhere. Maybe, more protected than LA!

The office cowboys went was of 中友集団。They creates SNSs, mobiles, Facebook applications and so on.

This is the development floor.

MTK has the biggest share among Chinese mobiles. Thirty engineers developed the software for MTK.

MTK’s merit is that keeps complete backward compatibility. It is like MS-DOS.

All applications can be developed in Java.

Cowboys noticed that in China, they don’t need CMS which we develop in Japan.

The differences between devices are only colours and shapes. Specs and features are the same.  That is the characteristic of MTK platform devices.

That means it doesn’t need high-tech and complicated systems such as displaying using career depend emoticons or dividing movies which are necessary for usual mobile CMS.

This is the floor to develop Facebook applications.

We were aware again that MTK is the most popular in Japan and many mobiles are depend on it.

So, they didn’t know Youtube. Also, instead of Twitter, they develop their original “tweet” systems!

Although Great Firewall in China is usually disliked, it surely protects domestic IT development. They welcome the Great Firewall protecting their business and life in China. So they dare not use international services.

They said that the Wall is as “customs barrier” of Web applications.

Generally the barrier is applied to trades in special products like liqueur to protect domestic business. However, it has not been applied to the trade of Internet of information technology and domestic business were not protected.

That is why JustSystems in japan was trampled by Microsotf, and the sales of Cybozu, the biggest japanese groupware development company,  is only a few billions. Sales Force, IBM, or Microsoft is in the same trade of Cybozu, but their sales are much higher than it.

Some say that is faults of Japanese companies, some say it is of the government.

Japan also copied web contents for Japanese market. For example, main services of “hatena” are not completely original. Language played a role of barrier and made it look original at that time.

There is no customs barrier for web so web services in Japan are completely out of law.  Pornography come across the Pacific ocean to Japan. Online casinos make illegal profits.

On the way to hotels, the CTO of the company showed them a building.

There was a huge building from a distance. far.

He told it was the headbrunch of QQ, and about 10 thousands work there.

QQ users are a billion. The number is almost the same as the population in China. Because all use QQ to use the internet in China. It is the standard.

QQ’s stock prices is now 160 yuan, 40 times of the price 4 years before.

However, general salary for university graduates are about 50 thousand yen in China. In Japan, it is about 200 thousands.

He was surprised at the salary and said that is because Japanese work hard.

However, Keith couldn’t agree with that. He thinks that Japanese worker nowadays are a lazier than before and lost a kind of ambition to create their own companies. They were rather tamed and only follow to their company’s will. Also, “Hikikomori,” being unsocial and doing nothing productive,  or NEET is problem in Japan. There are few people who work really hard.

There is surely the gap between the image of Japanese that was often described in movies or books decades ago, and of current Japanese.

The recent problem in Japan is lack of motivations. People can live even they don’t work hard. “Richness” causes further lack of motivation.

However, in China, people are suffering from lack of jobs. Even people who obtained PhD, they cannot find better job and work for grocery shops.

Though cowboys were a little shocked by what he said, but felt a kind of relief. Because, current Shenzen is like Akihabara 50 years ago. The city, originally for black markets, grew up to the most active electronic market in the world.  The electronic market assisted the development of high-tech in Japan, and Japan became, I think, a one of leading technology developed country. Now, we believe Shenzen is as electronic market in the World.  In the city, there are many smart and industrious people like him.

When cowboys said such things to him, he showed smiled shyly.

We think people in Japan do not work hard as before. They seem not to be enthusiastic about their work. Contrary to that, people there were really studious, active, and smart. Their presentation was impressive. They effectively exchange their opinions with their president. He said that status doesn’t matter to express their opinion. Keith thought that such company will goes well.

That is why we thought that people in China would be richer than us in near future. Also, felt a kind of anxious that Japan would be a “formerly” tech influential country.

Cowboys were shocked at what they said and thought then.  At the same time, though ambiguously had, they clearly noticed that it is truly possible for Japan to be a following country in the world.

Thinking Chinese population, its influence, and earnest of the people, we cannot but felt that we were in a critical phase. We should take an action and should not be satisfied with current situation.

From the conversation with him, cowboys and we could realize such things. It was really nice meeting with him! Thank you Shenzen!

Miscellanerous in Hong Kong

November 29, 2009

AM 0:18

Keith sent us a report of miscellaneous things fond in Hong Kong and Shenzen waiting for their night flight to Tokyo. Let’s look what he found there. 

Japanese long-seller food, Demae-Iccho 出前一丁, has its name value also in Hong Kong. Many restaurant have ones on their menu. It is popular Chinese noodle.  Nothing special, but we love it. 

Following Mr Endo’s instruction, cowboys went to the 5th floor of Sino Centre. What they fond there was…

An optician’s shop…??

They found the answer by passing the secret isle. There was a toy store collecting goods of Japanese anime in 50s to 80s! 

So many items inside the store which the owner got by Yahoo auction and from Mandarake. These are Valkyrie of Macross and Buritanica spaceship of Lensman which gripped Keith.  

In Sendatsu market, most shops are mobile shops.  

This is a mobile repair shop.

Sometimes, when they are lucky, they can find funny items. \

This is hand-maid iPhone cases. GAMEBOY version are also there.  

iPhone has been popular in Hong Kong for 3 years. That is surprising thing in fast trend changing place.

So, iPhone case shops are everywhere.

The design is really creative, decorative, and sensitive. We cannot find such cases in Japan! 

Though MTK based mobiles are popular in China, iPhone, Android and WindowsMobile are more popular in Hong Kong. But iPhone is the most. 

Oh, here is Demae again. It is truly popular food.  

Crossing the sea, cowboys landed on Wang Chai.

The place is down town of Hong Kong. The grade of hotels and shops are high. 

For computer loving cowboys, Wang Chai cyberspace castle is their destination.

They fond a  case for MacBook, rather, for future MacBook??? 

There should be a rumour that 10’2″ MacBook will debut before so long…?

And lastly, here is GoogKe mobile! Difficult pronunciation!

This is the end of Keith’s report.

Hong Kong seems to be really interesting place.

Shall we go there to find the goods like above?

As their annual visiting, cyberspace Cowboys went to Shenzen and Hong Kong looking for something interesting. 

Mr Yamane, a specialist of mobile phones, guided them. He showed and is showing really interesting things there. 

The first thing cowboys saw was a felt case for iPhone looks like iPhone. Other members got it the day before their arrival. How well made it is! We were really impressed that details of iPhone design was well realized on the felt, such as Bluetooth. 

It is a fake and smaller iPhone.

After such a surprize, they arrived Shenzen. Contrary to their concern that travellers may be victims to robbers, the place was so calm and not danger for traveller so much. The prices are not high, there are less beggars. Situation of Shenzen are surely changing.

OPhone is one of things cowboys wanted to get during this travel. Mr Yamane took them to the shop and they could get it easily, though he said OPhone is really popular in China and he concerned that it might be sol out. 

Customers are buyers from  all over the world. So many professionals gather there. The place is so flank and there are no dress code, people casually came there as if they come to groceries for vegetable or fruits. The place is such electric device market.  

We thought that inside of shops are similar to a radio department store in Akihabara, Japah. Shops gather closely. Many small shops are in one big building. They eat on the counter of the electronic shops.  They don’t waste their time, they do other things in their free time.

 Many shops are  being specialized, for instance, this shop specializes in stylus pens.

Here is a mock-up specialized shop, iPhone cases shops,etc.

iPhone cases are so popular there and really fashionable. They found many cases which we may not find in Japan, also its quality is good and the price is cheap. About 250 yen (2.8 USD) per one! They found a building where all shops of a floor sell the cases.  

Next, look. What do you think are they?

 They are all mobile phones!

These are fake “iPhone”s!! But they work as mobile phones properly… :-O 

Cowboys were trully satisfied with visiting there. When they returned to Hong Kong, cowboys asked unlimited mobile connection. Mr Yamane told them to buy the device of Android and SIM cards and took them to a high-tech devices market.

They got HTC TATOO, the latest HTC device. HTC TATTOO was a device for Android which equipped with unique ODP, HTC SENSE. 

This is a SIMs shop.  The number lined on the table is phone numbers of the SIMs.  The price goes high if the number is a pun or a lucky number. They got a pay&go SIM for 3 days unlimited internet access, supporting HSDPA. costed 65 HK$. It would be much cheaper than LAN connection in hotels.

Mr Yamane said that, a Tiwanee chip maker, called MTK, has the biggest share in China. So more OS for devices in China become the OS which MTK distributes for free. The shipment of MTK based device is 100 millions per year! Incredible! Because chip-set Android is yet expensive so there are less kinds of it than other ones. However, more Android devices, like OPhone, will be developed in the future tanks to its free OS.

Though some expected, we actually realized the merit of Android in China and Hong Kong. Because, only in Japan there is no pay&go unlimited access SIM. In America or Europe, pay&go unlimited SIM is already available.  Everytime we go abroad on business, we should concern how much will international access cost by using our Japanese mobiles. But with such unlimited SIMs, using Androids would be much more convenient and cheaper. So global executive would prefer Android.

Also, we realized another thing. In this trip, Keith spend time watching Twitter and Hatena blogs with Japanese DoCoMo’s device. If compared with it, the Android device, HTC TATTOO, is really useful and has good UI though still less than iPhone. 

When we uploaded photos took with TATTOO, we were surprized with its high speed though its resolution is low. 

However, some features of Japanese mobile are still better. One is “decoration mail.” Android lacks the feature  to decorate its text or e-mail and that makes Android a bit unattractive. We hope an app to write decoration mail will be released soon.

The Android Market in HTC TATTOO was automatically upgraded and surprisingly it is far better than Google’s Android Market. But, there are no apps like Simeji or Twitdroid, so we suppose the Market might be developed only in China.  Such development would be popular in the world, rather, we hope that because of its convenience. 

Some apps like Simeji can be downloaded and be installed directly from maker’s page.  (We tried to install Simeji in OPhone, but failed… OPhone is not Android itself but Android based OS, that would be the reason of the fail.)

HTC TATTOO was so popular in Hong Kong. It is about 2900HK$, cheaper than HTC HERO for 900HK$. Also, the features are almost the same. These points might catch the attention of people. 

We are really looking forward the futures of Hong Kong, China, and Android. After several years, if MTK device sold in Shenzen changed into Android devices, we would use them anywhere by developing Japanese mode. Furthermore, when we suddenly become need mobile phones in foreign country, we will definitely buy Android mobile and install Simeji in it so that we can use it in Japanese. 

Android is certainly a potential device!

For further information of mobiles in Hong Kong, let’s visit Mr Yamane’s page!

For more pictures in Shenzen, please visit Shin Ishimaru’s blog😀

Our Crazy? Experiments

September 25, 2009

I really appreciate CrunchGear‘s and other articles introducing our ARider project! They are both famous media in US so I’m really excited by that!!

One of Zeptotools member, shi3z (follow him “shi3z” on twitter!), uses the ARider devices everyday to move anywhere in the centre of Tokyo. Downtown of Tokyo is  not so big geographically, but it has over 10 millions  population in just about 10 miles diameter. Its population rate is less than half of NewYork’s, but the number of population in the cnter of Tokyo is 5 times of NY.

So, to move around the downtown by bicycle is easier than expected. Bicycles take us to all the places of business partners. 

Some people worry about using the device when it rains, that is also our fear. To avoid getting iPhone wet, we usually bring it in our pockets.

Furthermore, using an originally “renovated” connector for iPhone, iPhone and a HMD can be directly connected.

This solves the problem of getting cables entangled 😉

At first, we tried to see the map on the HMD, but seeing it during the ride is dangerous. So, we made just arrows to a goal and time displayed on the HMD. Currently blue arrow points the direction to Roppongi, green one does the direction to Akihabara, and red ponts the north. In addition to that, each length from current location is shown too. Such a simple display is much easier and safer to see during the ride.

However, using GPS long time needs much energy and the battery of iPhone becomes empty faster. We cannot solve tha problem up to now…

Furthermore, white screen of iPhone is difficult to see when it’s dark. But the problem is easy to solve. Just change the setting of the screen into black one at “setting” > “general” > “accessibility” on your iPhone! 

Our another play… no, “experiment” with HMD is as follows. The image captured by the superior digital SLR camera, EOS 5D MarkⅡ, is output on HMD like this.

If someone takes images from your back with the camera and you see it on the HMD, you may feel as if you were a FPS player! The imae on the HMD is truly “real”, isn’t it?

You can do it without your friends too if you have the camera attached to a tripod and bringing it on your back.


 Do you think we are crazy?

Maybe, you are right.

However, we believe such craziness is necessary for innovation!

Believeing such thing, we continue to play… explore the possibility of iPhone and HMD!

Further Research of ARider

September 14, 2009

Hello, how you doing?

I mentioned the iPhone “chonmage” bike rider, or ARider on the last post. Today, I will talk about more detail and our impression of the equipment usage.

The HMD used in this experiment is T3-A by Scalar Corporation.  

The test was done between Hongo and Roppongi, Tokyo. To avoid crushes or falling down, we used a retractable HMD and used it while stopping. (Actually the HMD was being shaken so much during the ride so it is difficult to check the map even it is always shown.)

The HMD was light so it was fixed on the helmet with Scotch tape. Actually this equipment can be used not only while riding a bike, but also while walking. A GPS receiver, a compass, a main CPU, and a communication unit, all are included in the iPhone. So just connecting the HMD to iPhone, it is ready to be used.

This time, we had iPhone not on the helmet, but in a pocket, to avoid iPhone falling down.  Seen from a little far, the HMD is not so noticiable. It may be better than using other HMDs.

The screen of iPhone app is not directly displayed so we developed and used an original mapping app to display maps on HMDs. 

Our impression of the equipment usage is not bad. Rather, we felt it is more convenient to use it than to check the iPhone directly because it saves the time is to taking it out from the pocket. Thought the resolution of map on the HMD is not good, it is possible to check rough map and the direction. When the iPhone is equipped on the helmet, the map changes the direction following to the direction of your face. It can sense more slight moving than car navigation systems. 

You may think using a camera through AR is more useful. Regarding that, the camera captures images seen by either right or left eye when a HMD is used. However, if you see with both of your eyes, the image shown by the HMD is doubled on what you see really. So that is not necessary. Rather, if more simple information, such as the direction of your goal, is shown, that is enough. 

It seems to be longer to developed the “Cyberspace glasses” which themselves can receive your location and indicate the direction. However, the “Cyberspace helmet” or the “Cyberspace hat,” devices like above, would be appear before so long. 

Considering the safety, it should not be used during the ride. But as a navigation system for walkers or  bike riders these devices would be paid attention. Also, if a camera through AR is used and equip it on a backpack, the device can work as a rearview mirror.

As car navigation systems become more popular than before, the systems for other transferring, especially bike rider or walker should be, or would be developed and more popular in the future. We are also interested in it so much.