According to The Asahi Shimbun, Japanese researchers announced the development of precision diagnostic testing equipment for COVID-19 that produces a result in only 9 minutes.
They added that the method has the potential to “be applied to earlier detection of cancer and other disorders as well.”
The team, comprised primarily of members from the Riken research institute, the University of Tokyo, Kyoto University, Tokyo Medical and Dental University and Jichi Medical University in Tochigi Prefecture, said the test has an accuracy rate of more than 98 percent.
Aside from producing a result far faster than a typical polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, the procedure costs about the same, just US$2 (269 yen).
According to The Asahi Shimbun, automakers are competing to lower costs for next-generation, high-performance sensors that are expected to make self-driving vehicles much safer on the streets.
The new technology, called a light detection and ranging (LiDAR) system, uses laser light to precisely scan the shapes and locations of objects surrounding the vehicle.
LiDAR has been called the “eye” for automatically operated cars because the technology’s cognitive capability is higher than those of cameras and conventional radar sensors, which are based on radio waves.
According to The Asahi Shimbun, restaurant designer Howa Corp. is on a mission to help people go green after developing a paper material here that can be used instead of toothpaste in a tube.
The company started accepting orders in April for its plastic-reducing teeth cleaner for use as a hotel amenity. The product is expected to be delivered to establishments in Tokyo, Kyoto and Okinawa prefectures.
Accommodation facility operators are showing interest in the substitute for toothpaste tubes after a law took effect April 1 urging businesses to reduce disposable plastics they use.
According to The Asahi Shimbun, enter a new electronic tool that helps people choose business suits on their own.
Tanita Corp., a health equipment manufacturer, and Haruyama Holdings, a major suit company, announced they are starting a service that uses a machine called a body composition analyzer that customers stand on to get their correct measurements.
According to The Asahi Shimbun, stocktaking of books at a municipal library here is now fully automated under a trial experiment that potentially could see humans removed from the process altogether.
A robot assigned to locate books by reading data stored in integrated circuit (IC) tags on each tome can finish the task in a matter of "several tens of minutes" whereas it takes a full day for library staff to take stock of books by relying on bar codes, authorities of this northeastern city said during a recent open demonstration test.
The robot read the data with 99.5 percent accuracy, officials said, adding that the technology will be further tweaked with the goal of practical application in the future.
According to The Asahi Shimbun, Japanese researchers said they have found a way to create “self-repairing plastics” that can be used in smartphones, cars and other products and reduce the amount of waste now fouling the planet.
Takuzo Aida, a chemistry professor at the University of Tokyo, and his colleagues said a tiny amount of a specialized agent mixed into ordinary plastic can automatically heal cracks and fissures.
“The technique could lead to the development of a sustainable made-to-last plastic that does not need to be discarded or recycled,” Aida said.
According to The Asahi Shimbun, transplanting corneal cells made from human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells into patients with a vision-impairing disease didn’t cause any serious side effects, researchers announced.
Some of the patients’ eyesight even improved as a result of the clinical trial, the team at Osaka University said.
“This could be a revolutionary treatment that could overcome the challenges that existing treatment has faced, such as a shortage of cornea donors or transplant rejection,” said Koji Nishida, a member of the team and professor of ophthalmology at the university, at a news conference.
According to The Asahi Shimbun, vacuum-insulated bottles that keep carbonated drinks from losing their fizz are now being pitched to beer lovers who want something stronger when they are enjoying the great outdoors or simply chilling at home.
The trend was triggered by a growing number of people who now telework from home because of the novel coronavirus pandemic or seek to escape for a while from the hubbub of city life.
To win over new customers, manufacturers are marketing products with well-arranged cap and bottle designs so carbonic acid gas generated inside does not pose a safety risk.
According to The Asahi Shimbun, amid whiteout conditions, a ground-based search party was able to locate the missing climber in a short period of time by using the Cocoheli radio-based search support service.
Cocoheli subscribers carry a small radio transmitter that can be attached to clothing or a backpack. In the event they go missing in the mountains, search-and-rescue workers, often aboard a helicopter, pick up radio waves to locate them with high accuracy.
With more than 40,000 subscribers across the country, police and fire departments in Tokyo and 34 prefectures have introduced the Cocoheli radio receiver.
According to The Asahi Shimbun, Japanese pharmaceutical giant Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corp. (MTPC) announced that a COVID-19 vaccine derived from a type of tobacco plant and developed by Medicago Inc., the Osaka-based company’s subsidiary in Canada, had been approved for human use by Ottawa.
The company said it marked the first time in the world for a plant-based vaccine to win such approval. The vaccine is of a type that uses “virus-like particles,” which mimic the structure of a virus. It is made by introducing genes of the virus into leaf cells of Nicotiana genus plants.
MTPC said it is hoping to apply for approval of the vaccine in Japan this summer.
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