Exploring the Tokyo Digital Content Expo

The Digital Content Expo in Tokyo opened with a round of applause, from a pair of robotic hands clapping. The hands are called the Ondz and are part of one of the thousands of products on show at this awe-inspiring event.

What makes the hands so special is that they are coated in organic flesh made from urethane, with the bone and joints casted in aluminium. When the two are combined, an “organic clapping motion” is created.

Masato Takahash, creator of the hands said, “I want the audience to enjoy the creepy and surreal feelings this product gives as entertainment”. Possible uses for the hands include using them in place of a pre-recorded audience during taped TV shows.

Fortunately there are some helpful technological advancements coming from the Digital Content Expo. An aerial 3D technology, created by Burton Inc. uses laser beams to create airborne 3D-dimensional images. Possible uses include advertising or sending out live weather reports or broadcasting Tsunamis.

An engineer working on the product said “an obvious use of this is for advertisement. You wouldn’t need screens… You can create a huge signboard in the air. If you showed warnings in the sky from the top of fire department buildings, people could see them even after fleeing their homes”. The technology can only produce red, blue and green laser colours.

With technology like this, a safer warning system could be implemented, as traditional airborne warning systems have relied on smoke signals. With lasers, the information will remain airborne, stable and consistent throughout any disaster.

Other fun projects include the PocoPoco, a digital synthesiser with a playschool-like interface aimed at delivering musical innovation to any audience. Freqtric Drums taps the same musical vane and is a device which turns the user into an instrument thanks to the technology of low-level harmonics.

Steven Norris: grumpy curmudgeon


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