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The best gadgets out of Japan's CEATEC electronics trade show

Beyond smartphones, this year Japanese firms have taken a shine to robots (surprise, there), projection, displays and connected home systems.
By Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer
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1 of 8 Charlie Osborne | ZDNet

CEATEC

CEATEC, Japan's largest electronics show, is an annual event held in Tokyo, Japan. The trade show, comparable with Las Vegas-based CES, gives developers and companies the chance to demo and showcase new technologies in fields ranging from mobility to robotics and health.

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2 of 8 Charlie Osborne | ZDNet

Panasonic lighting concepts

Panasonic's conceptual lighting systems go slightly beyond the current state of Internet of Things (IoT) and connected home lighting to offer additional controls in changing the ambience, focus and strength of lighting in your home. As shown in one example, the gesture-controlled lighting -- based on projection -- can be altered to spin through different scenes, colors and backgrounds, altering the mood and lighting of your room.

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3 of 8 Charlie Osborne | ZDNet

RoBoHon

Sharp's RoBoHon is a 7.7" android which is meant to replace the smartphone by acting as a cute robotic assistant. The mobile robot, revealed at CEATEC, is able to take calls for you, respond to its owner's voice and includes features such as email alerts and a camera. The robot also entertains users through a rather stereotypically Japanese voice and dancing. While likely more cute and novelty rather than practical, the robot is still a rather adorable addition to this year's show. RoBoHon is due for launch in early 2016.

See the robot in action here.

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4 of 8 Charlie Osborne | ZDNet

Bocco the family robot

Starting out as a Kickstarter campaign, Bocco the "family robot" is another cute robot offering at this year's CEATEC. Developed by Yukai engineering, the device's main focus is to act as a replacement smartphone and communication portal between family members. If you feel that your children are too young for a full phone, for example, Bocco could be used to keep track of your kids -- thanks to an inbuilt motion sensor which notifies you of when your children arrive back from school -- or you could send a text message which Bocco will relay through speech.

Bocco is already on sale in Japan, but it is not known when -- or if -- the robot will reach international shores.

The idea has merit, although confusingly can only be used when wired in -- limiting the device to a family environment with plugs available. This is certainly a shame, as otherwise the robot could act as a substitute smartphone for children and their parents to stay in touch.

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5 of 8 Charlie Osborne | ZDNet

BOE 8K displays

Displays and television sets which strive to be bigger, better and sharper than competitors are nothing new. However, BOE's 8K displays, revealed at CEATEC, have blown HD out of the water. The experimental 8K×4K display is equipped with a resolution of up to 7680×4320, which is 16 times that of a standard HD TV, as well as a brightness of 500 lumen and a viewing angle of 178 degrees. Having seen these displays first hand, I can only say broadcasting experiments -- slated for next year -- can't come soon enough.

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6 of 8 Charlie Osborne | ZDNet

Fujitsu smart shoes

At CEATEC, Fujitsu's interactive shoes hub displayed a number of shoes designed with different functions in mind, such as the increase of health and comfort through data analysis, as well as an interesting pair which were equipped with embedded sensors which tracked the wearer's movements. This data was then sent to the cloud for analysis. While not suitable for the average user who would be unlikely to feel comfortable with such tracking, a Fujitsu executive told me they were designed for the enterprise and marketing teams -- which could pay users to wear them for a year, for example, as part of market research.

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7 of 8 Charlie Osborne | ZDNet

Fujitsu's enterprise projection concept

While still in the concept stage, Fujitsu is targeting the enterprise with new projection technology which will make brainstorming in meetings easier than today's typical setups. The firm's system allows for different operating systems to be projected on to any surface, and together with gesture control and information swiped from mobile devices and 'thrown' on to the brainstorming map, transferring data and ideas will be made far easier -- speeding up the brainstorming and planning process.

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8 of 8 Charlie Osborne | ZDNet

The table tennis robot

Omron, the maker of an impressive ping-pong playing robot showcased at CEATEC, believes robotics, mobility and safety are key components of our future. The "table tennis robot" was able to play against human opponents through the use of sensors and rapid real-time analysis which predicted the movement of a ball -- and where would be the optimum force and place to strike it with bat.

The point? To demonstrate how such technology could be applied to the manufacturing industry, and to act as a "practical manifestation of the concept of harmony between humans and machines."

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