Android Contactless-RFID Controlled Rice Cooker By Panasonic

Panasonic’s new SR-SX2 Series (SR-SX102-RK black, SR-SX-102-W white, SR-SX182-RK black/large, SR-SX182-W white/large) is the Japan’s first, and I believe the world’s first, smartphone-controlled rice cooker.

On top of the all high-end features such like “200 Celsius degree steam”, “Great-power dancing boil(Dai karyoku odori-daki)”, “Diamond Furnace(Daiyamondo Kamado)”, it newly supports settings-by-smartphone. Holding your FeliCa supported Android over the blue mark on the rice cooker sets rice type, cooking variations and timer. You may pre-set maximum 6 patterns of your family’s favorite steamed rice as well.

You may also connect your Android to the Panasonic’s cooking receipe cloud server [J], search and touch to give the cooking instructions to the cooker. In reverse, you may keep 100 of your recipes on the cloud server.

Felica is Japan/Sony’s contact-less RFID system, used in Japanese cellphones and e-money, also a part of NFC specification. Most of Android handsets sold in Japan by Japanese manufacturers support it under the name “Osaifu Ketai”(cellphone wallet).

The market price of the former model SR-SX101 is about 50,000 yen (US$600) according to the web.

via release [J]

Softbank Mobile To Transform iPhone4 IC-Card Enabled… With Stickers

Softbank Mobile, exclusive iPhone seller in Japan, today announced their new IC-Card(FeliCa) products for iPhone 4: IC-Card stickers.

iPhone not having FeliCa, RFID smart card, is one of lamentations for users who can not give up their e-wallets function on their Japanese cellphone. One of the reasons that half of Japanese iPhone users still keeps their feature phones.

Android is planning to support NFC on version 2.3, which has the same foundation as FeliCa but can not cover all of FeliCa’s functionality. Japanese cellphone vendors have been adding FeliCa on their Android smartphones recently. There are also a few Japanese Androids which are capable in terms of hardware, but waiting on a software update to support major FeliCa e-money providers.

FeliCa functionality for three major e-money services WAON/Edy/nanaco used by supermarket and convenience store chains will be offered as different stickers in February 2011.

Each sticker costs 2,980 yen (US$36). The regular WAON and nanaco cards are 300 yen and Edy cards 500 yen, so it is pretty expensive but the stickers nicely fit with your iPhone 4. They are also tested well with Apple’s genuine iPhone 4 Bumper.

It seems for me that you can put those stickers not only on iPhone 4 but also on anything. The release does not tell if those IC-Card can be checked and charged via iPhone, or it is just a small sized version of the card-size IC card.

Softbank Mobile made another weird peripheral gadget, TV for iPhone 2 years ago.

See Also:

Softbank Mobile Release [J, pdf]

January 2010 Japan-IT Links (part 1)

Last week our RSS subscribers passed over 5,000, which is a good milestone. Twitter followers also increased to 400. Following @asiajin also will notify our latest articles. Thank you so much.

Here is the first half of January Japanese IT/Web interesting news links we did not take as a dedicated article. (part 2 is here)

Referred pages are all in Japanese, unless otherwise noted.

If you want to know any specific news more, but unable to find them in other English blog/media, please let us know.

As you see, we know a lot things to write but contributors time are limited. So we are looking for authors. We will help Japanese research/reading part so do not worry if your Japanese is not perfect.

We also want sponsorship to keep this group blog. Ideal if from Japanese companies because our initial motivation was to introduce them to non-Japanese web. Problem is we only write in English and they do not check English sites 🙂 If you know them please suggest us to them!

Is It For Monitoring Your Performance, Or Preventing You From Adult Disease?

NTT DoCoMo announced today it would launch a new service providing corporate users with health advisory for preventing their employees from adult disease.

If a corporate user applies for the service, NTT DoCoMo will start collecting vital data from pedometer-enabled cellphone handsets owned by the company’s employees, they can be advised by health nurses and dietitians for improving eating habits.

Initial setup fee is almost USD230 for a corporate user, and the price of monthly subscription fee depends on the number of employees that apply for the service.

Goo Logo

NTT DoCoMo’s sister company and the owner of popular portal websites such as Goo[J], NTT Resonant[J] also announced it would launch a new portal site[J] specifically focusing on diet support. The new site can accept the data from pedometer cellphones subscribing to the DoCoMo’s service. The new portal’s top page will keep you update with the vital data collected including the number of steps you have taken on that day.

Goo Karada Log Screenshot

NTT DoCoMo is also planning to introduce a new FeliCa-based digital health device this fall. FeliCa is a contact-less RFID smart card system, and basically it’s embedded on cellphone handsets and used for digital wallet, commutation pass and age-verifying for cigarette
purchase from vending machines.

These digital devices and solutions may work as tachometers which are usually installed on freight vehicles to check up their work performances since the devices can track how often you have taken a rest. If the personnel department of your company had deployed these services, it might not be for the purpose of assisting in keeping your health condition better, but for checking up your work performance at a glance on the web.

The Logo of Intelligence Technology

Meanwhile, an Osaka-based web app start-up focusing on health and medical-related solutions, Intelligence Technology[J] launched a new website[J] that shows you prediction of your body shape and weight of a decade later by entering foods you ate on the previous day, your current body weight and genetic obesity factors.

Mirai Taiju

It is not clear how the company earns revenues from this service, but it would be useful to motivate you to struggle for improving your body state before your partner would be disappointed with you a decade later.