Made in Japan – 9/22/08

Made in Japan – 9/22/08

This week:
Hosobuchi Lamp Co. – Handmade Lightbulbs, Making a Handbag out of Cod, Tokyo Jogging, Bandai’s Luminodot, Control a Radio Controlled Car With an iPod Touch via XBee, Stylophone w/ Modded Gakken SX-150, and the new Otona no Kagaku Electromagnet Engine.


Hosobuchi Lamp Co. – Handmade Lightbulbs
DPZ presents a pictorial tour of the Hosobushi Lamp Co., who still make light bulbs by hand. Their bulbs are used in South African telephone companies, special dual-filament bulbs for French railroad traffic signals, and these made-to-order light bulbs are a testament of the craftsmanship that has remained in this otherwise near-extinct skilled trade.

Making a Handbag out of Cod
If you can make bags out of leather, why not dried cod? Dried cod is widely available in Japan in large, relatively flat sheets, so this became a natural choice for another adventurous foray into daring DIY from Daily Portal Z.

Tokyo Jogging
A Wii-Fit-like jogging game, but the jogging takes you through the streets of Tokyo using Google Street View and some clever manipulation of the Google Maps API. By putting the Wii remote in your pocket, the accelerometer tracks the movement, transmits the movement data to the host computer via Bluetooth, and the program translates the movement data to corresponding movement on the street view (not so much in real time, more like a slide show). From the map view, the program marks the areas that you have “run” through with a line on the map. If you want to turn, you make a right or left with the WiiMote X-key. The author of this program plans to add the ability to interact with other users for gaming, etc. Code available at the link above.
via Digital World Tokyo

Bandai Luminodot
Bandai has given the world an unexpected upgrade to the old standby Lite-Brite. The format is about the same as the classic Lite-Brite, a mesh grid, papers with patterns if you want to use them, or the ability to make up your own stuff as you go. The following promo video makes things seem a tad more futuristic though:

Don’t drool just yet though, as the video is a tad deceiving about about what it actually does. That fine print in Japanese at the end there is a disclaimer stating that the Luminodot doesn’t actually do animation. The pegs are of course just one color, although the lights behind each peg can be controlled by one of nine backlight illumination modes at three different speeds, creating a kind of pulsing effect.
via Technabob and

Control a Radio Controlled Car With iPod Touch via XBee
From the same person who brought us the iPod touch-controlled train a few weeks ago, here’s a video via the MAKE: Japan blog of an iPod touch with an XBee module hooked up to the dock connector that’s controlling a radio-controlled car via accelerometer movements. Now if I could just get this to run and get me snacks.

Stylophone w/ Modded Gakken SX-150
Plan-K-Tronics has been doing mods on the Gakken SX-150 ever since it came out, and here we have the Stylophone reissue, cased together with the SX-150’s VCF changing the sound color. This particular mod is based on the SX-150 PLAN-K-TRONIKS CUSTOM Type A modification that can be found on their site.

Otona no Kagaku Electromagnet Engine
There’s another great science toy bundled with the latest installment of Otona no Kagaku, this time it’s an electromagnetic engine attached to a chassis. The Gakken site tells us that the reason for one of the cars being so slow in the first video is because of the position of the reed switch, and that the position for getting the fastest speed will differ from car to car. Volume 21 of Otona no Kagaku comes out 9/30 in Japan, and I suspect we’ll be seeing lots of interesting things that people will do with this on the internet in the coming weeks.

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