15/10/2011 Click


The tech show travels to Japan to see the protoypes of what could be tomorrow's gadgets and reports from Heathrow Airport on a hi-tech personalised pod shuttle.

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year. Now on BBC News it is time Welcome to Click, I'm Spencer Kelly.


This week Willie at... -- we'll be looking at.... Will you please make


up your mind on what you want to This week on Click win in Japan


uncovering some of the weird and wonderful prototypes that may or


may not make it to our world -- we're in. Roads? Where we're going


we don't need roads. We are looking at how well a futuristic


transporter could change the way we travel. All that plus the latest


Tech News and a look at how to put virtually anything anywhere. We


have a app that let's your friends change how you see the world in


Webscape. Welcome to Click, I'm Spencer Kelly.


There's no doubt that Japan has had a tough year. First the earthquake


and tsunami and then the radiation leak and more recently the massive


typhoon that has hit its coastline. As well as the human cost these


disasters have also affected the manufacturing and technology


industries. On top of that, Sony's servers have been hacked and


Nintendo has been struggling to make anyone care at art its new 3D


hand-held gaming console. -- care about. But in the background


research into new technology has been ongoing. Dan Simmons reports


from Japan's massive are Andy technology Expo on some of the


stuff that is being planned for the coming years. The tech world's


autumn is spiced each year with a looking glass directed towards the


future course see attack. They come here not to see what's hot to hit


the shops as they do in Vegas or Berlin. Nor grandstand a new mobile


as they might in Barcelona or Hong Kong. As the year draws to a close,


Tokyo offers inspiration. They are the suits with the cash. To turn a


prototype into a product. Many of the ideas here may never see the


light of day. Which is why we've come to see what's been dreamt up,


before it's commonplace - or forgotten. Pretty interesting idea,


so something new, never felt a touch screen like that before.


concept should hit the button. Because the people pressing this


touch screen, are feeling something very different from anything we've


experienced. I felt as if I was touching a real


button. One reason some of us don't like


touch screens is that we can't feel the buttons. But here unlike


conventional phones where a metal rod delivers vibration though out


the handset - Kyocera has added a thin glass cover that sits above


the screen to deliver more precise feedback straight to your


fingertips. At each end lies a ceramic


piezoelectric strip that generates a charge from the pressure applied


to it creating different vibes across the screen.


And because the screen itself is flexible, the level of pressure can


be measured. So you can click a button once then


push harder for a second, third, fourth, or fifth deeper click


When it's switched to a second level click, I could feel it even


more, it's very impressive. Imagine selecting a lower case


letter and then pressing just a little harder, clicking to an upper


case option. Japanese firm, Alps has gone one step further with its


dual-touch system. So in this game, the purple circle can be moved from


side to side by pressing harder at Pulse where Murata were showing off


a system that doesn't require touch at all -- elsewhere. We already


have some pretty smart sensors in our smart phones. They detect


things like light or proximity to the face which is how the


Smartphone knows how to turn the screen off to save energy when you


are taking a call, but what Murata are working on is something that


will detect motion so that you could move between options without


actually touching your touch screen. These are the sensors no longer


reliant on cameras to detect movement. One of these could be put


behind a screen here for example or in a tablet for example in a mobile


phone. We can now move in or around and then zoom around a particular


photo. We then cooking hands wet and in the winter wear gloves


unfortunately doesn't detect on touch screen so that this interface


uses it is easy to work the sensors offers us a new way interact and


More motion sensing - this time using a camera. Israeli outfit


Primesense helped develop the Microsoft Kinect system that uses


gestures to control games. Here's their PC version - running Forum8's


software, that "sees" much smaller realistic movements - so here the


driver can use his feet as he might in a real car to accelerate or


brake. In the real world the future of


cars might well be electric IF we didn't need to spend so much time


charging them up. NEC showed off a superfast charger


cutting the time for an 80% charge from 4 hours to 30 minutes.


Advances for handsets too - NTT DOCOMO's prototype smartphone


'sleeve' juices up a mobile in just 10 minutes.


Time for lunch.. And a little help from the SOFTWARE side of things IF


you're trying to stay in shape. Increasingly we're turning to our


apps to help count the calories but what if you're in a restaurant - no


barcode or brand name will help you know what you're eating. This app


attempt to use photo recognition to tell you the nutritional info by


And if you're serious about losing weight you'll want one of these. It


measures the tiny amounts of acetone in your breath. In case


you're not sure it tells you whether you're hungry and perhaps


more usefully when you're body will burn the most fat should you chose


to exercise, so you can schedule your workouts and your TV dinners..


Here's a different way to control your TV set through what appears to


be just a piece of plastic, when we twist it we can go up a channel and


when we twist it the other way back down a channel. Not just twisting


but bending as well you can bring the volume up or down accordingly


now what inside here is two pieces of thin polyester coated with


electrons which give a different signal depending on whether you're


twisting or bending this device and that signal is then sent to the


control centre on the side of the panel which is powered by a battery


now you don't need to plug it in or change the battery because that's


powered by these die sensitised solar panels; the device then sends


a radio signal to the TV set which tells it to go up down or if you


fancy off. Again, it's easy to see how this


might add an extra twist to gaming - although I couldn't help


wondering how long it would last in the hands of a 5-year old.


We couldn't leave Japan without a nod to the tech it's most famous


for - the robots. Often very impressive but, beyond amusement,


difficult to imagine their One idea at the show was this self


correcting walking assistant using similar balancing technology mixing


gyroscopes and motor feedback as these cycling robots.


Where these mainly Japanese technologies go from here will


depend largely on whether they're picked up by big manufacturers. But


if, in the future, a gadget seems just a bit bizarre. It may well


have first appeared here, as a prototype one autumn at Tokyo's


tech show. Dan Simmons on the weird, wacky and


sometimes actually quite useful research on show in Tokyo this


month. Next up, a look at this week's Tech News.


A disastrous week for RIM with BlackBerry outages spreading across


the world affecting millions of computers. The failure of back-up


systems to kick in after databases were corrupted could cause


irreparable damage to Rennes that has built its erect quotation on


solid. It has shed half a million users in America and analysts say


more could switch to an iPhone and Android smart phones that do not


rely on a centralised system. Apple has launched its new operating


system that offers messaging, its answer to BlackBerry Messam does.


Germany's justice minister has called for an investigation after


hackers expose a programme that has been spying on citizens. Berlin's


Chaos Computer Club said Federal trojan can activate wed cans or


computer market aims to track activities in a person's home or


monitor Skype calls. The area has admitted using the software since


2009 but says it was not illegal. You might not have the money to go


into space but your science experiment might make it to the ISS,


if you're aged 14-18. The YouTube Spacelab competition encourages


people to send in a short video detailing their idea.


Finally you don't usually see dot- matrix printers any more, much less


plucked into a computer on a tricycle but Nicholas Hanna put


these together as he rode his modified trike through Beijing as


part of its design week. It is a modern twist on an old Chinese


tradition of writing calligraphy in water.


I lived on a crowded island. My morning commute to work is a


crowded one. My personal space is 0. But at Heathrow they are offering a


new system, automated driver Les iPods that offer public-transport


with a personal touch. We could only send Peter Price along for the


There's something strange taking to the sky over Heathrow. Four seater


pods are moving overhead, whisking travellers from car park to check-


in in record time. Travelling at 40 kilometres an hour, these battery


powered vehicles use lasers to stay on track. We're used to seeing


monorails at airports, but this system's different. The pods are


automated, driverless and operate on-demand - waiting at the station


until they're needed rather than running around empty. This system's


a hybrid of public and private transport. It's like public


transport because like a bus or a monorail, you just hop on the next


one. It's also a bit like private taxi because you tell it exactly


where you'd like to go and the pod, which is individual to you, takes


you there, from A to B without stopping anywhere in between. So,


business parking station A please. Here we go. Here at Heathrow, the


pods are replacing buses shaving about 10 minutes from the average


journey time. That's time saved thanks to each pod being controlled


by a central computer. Its software is on a mission get the pod to its


destination in the fastest time. Two operators monitor the comings


and goings via CCTV, but don't be fooled, it's computer rather than


human that's doing the thinking. Computer-controlled transport like


this is known as personal rapid transit or PRT and it's ambition


goes beyond airports. Well, this was designed to work in cities. Not


the very big cities like London, which is a very unique place, but


also designed for somewhere like Bristol. I just thought that


transport's not very well done. I thought if it was thought through


properly you could find a better way to do it. The idea's been


around for some time but in the past people have been carried away


with trying to do automation, you know the technical things. We've


always tried to provide a service to people which would actually do


what the passenger wanted. It all looks very futuristic, but the idea


of PRT has been around for decades, and it's development has been


anything but fast. It was conceived in the 50s and one of the first


trials took place in Paris. Leaving gaps between trains is inefficient


says the science, so this project aims to run pods as close together


as possible, maximising capacity of the track. The carriages of this


little train are connected by light waves. Each carriage carries a


laser which bounces its beam off the carriage in front. It measures


how long it takes the light to travel and calculates how far away


the next carriage is. Slightly too close for comfort perhaps. While


the Parisian system was abandoned, PRT has once again caught the


imagination with several systems currently in development around the


world. This is the UK's most high profile transport project: High


Speed 2. Brand new tracks across these fields will link London and


Birmingham. It's still many years away, but the trains look strangely


conventional. One man who specialises in transport design,


thinks future high speed travel could benefit from some blue-sky


thinking. I think they're being built on an old system. By their


very nature they have to be built going past the outside cities


because it's so expensive to go through them. So that's one problem,


because you then have to get from the city to the high speed train. I


also think that stations haven't changed at all for about 100 years,


they're still a piece of concrete and you get wet when it rains.


is Paul's vision of the future, doing away with platforms and


stations all together. Slow moving trams pick up passengers in the


city centre before speeding up to pull alongside passing express


trains. Then it's a gentle stroll across to continue your journey.


The doors close, the tram slows and returns to plying the city streets.


The idea is that you can seamlessly move from one destination to


another rather than stopping and starting. Because I think the


railway system at the moment is a bit like pre-internet, the


telephone, where you had to press a button and then someone connected


it through wires. Rather than being able to choose where you want to go


and do it right then. So the idea that you can just jump on a tram


and go anywhere in the continent is just a better way of looking at it.


It's a glossy vision, but some experts are cautious. All transport


infrastructure, but particularly railways, is very expensive to


construct. To make it viable you need high densities of traffic, big


capacity. Railways are also very demanding technically. If anything


goes wrong, the railway stops. So have to be absolutely sure that you


can make the equipment work reliably and you get a lot of


people down the line of route. It is difficult to do and if you use


untried, untested technology, the risk is that it you will end up


with something that simply doesn't work. I don't believe the railway


in the form of a tram or the steel rail will ever become anywhere near


replacing the road. The road is just so much more flexible, it's


cheaper for most people most of the time. In the UK only 8% of


passenger miles are by rail. Almost all the movement, and this is true


of all developed countries, almost all the movement is by road.


Heathrow's at least, these pods are a futuristic way of easing


congestion on the roads, by replacing buses they're smoothing


the businessman's trip to the airport. But although the airport's


expansion plans are ambitious, rapid transit as a mainstream


method of transport could still be decades down the line. Now, you may


have noticed that Kate Russell does not get out of the Webscape studio


that often. That may have led you to wonder if she gets a bit lonely.


Apparently she does not, she has lots of friends around to her place.


Apparently that includes me. The thing is, I have never been around


to her place. This is Webscape. How could I get lonely when I have a


life-sized Spencer standing in my living room? Aurasma Lite lets you


place images in the world around you without the need for a marker.


Snap a picture as the location, and a graphic element from your camera,


the next time anyone use the same location through the application,


up pops your contribution to the world around you. This would be a


great way to create a high technology treasure tried, laying


clues around your garden or over you are holding a... You can play


on your iPhone. Make sure you do not play with anyone with a


different smart phone. It could end up with a fight. The application is


incredibly easy to use. Although the website says it only works with


an iPhone 4, I had no issues on my 3G. If that is too high technology


for you, why not pass some time reading ancient papyrus.


Ancientlives.org is a scientific project where participants are


asked to help translate fragments from ancient text that belonged to


the Egyptian exploration Society. This is another Zooniverse project.


They have added quite a few new projects to their list since I last


visited the website. If you want a really good excuse to waste time on


the internet, this is probably the right website to bookmark. I am


doing some very important scientific research. If you must


know. Like all Zooniverse projects, it is well designed. It's still


feels like you are contributing to a series scientific project. Of


course, you are. If you have a story you want to tell, why not try


self-publishing? Movellas .com is the easy to use electronic book


writer. You cannot charge for books written through Movellas .com, but


it is about distributing your words to anyone who is interested in


reading them. Lot in with Facebook to harness your personal crowd and


then tap away. You can invite a couple of collaborators if you need


someone to proof-read your work. When you're finished, click publish


instantly. Then wait with trepidation to see what the world


makes of your work. London is famous for its underground trains.


What many visitors to the city do not realise is that the bus service


could be your best option for many journeys. The largest problem is


that the timetables can be confusing. You never quite know


when a bus is due. Not any more with Bus Checker for iPhone, iPad


and iPod. You can check when it is due and where it is going based on


actual information from Transport for London, not the timetable. You


complain your journey and I am not surprised this application has led


to the top of the charts since it was launched. It cost �1.99 to up


load. A great investment for anyone planning to visit the city for the


Olympics next year. Apple has opened the doors of the iCloud


website, customers can sign up for the service that backs your data up


to the cloud. You cannot actually use it until you have are graded to


the latest operating system, when that update became available, the


service groaned under the weight of demand, seem incapable of coping


with the extra traffic. Let's hope the iCloud service is a little more


robust. Zynga has announced Project Z, a platform for playing social


games and chatting with friends, powered by Facebook connect. It is


not quite live yet but you can go to ztag.zynga.com and snag your


favourite user name ahead of the masses. See you online.


Kate Russell. If he missed any of Kate's things they are up at our


website. There is a link to the entire programme on BBC iPlayer.


The tech show travels to Japan to see the protoypes of what could be tomorrow's gadgets and reports from Heathrow Airport on a hi-tech personalised pod shuttle.

Includes technology news and Webscape.

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