The YRP Ubiquitous Networking Laboratory announced on November 28 that it is jointly developing with Aoyama Trading Co., Japan's largest retailer of men's suits, an RFID system that will use Ubiquitous ID (uID) tags to track its merchandise from manufacturing at an another company's factory in China, through international distribution channels aboard ships, and into Japanese retail outlets. The system, which uses both active and passive uID tags, was described and demonstrated in a press conference on December 1 at the YRP Ubiquitous Networking Laboratory in Gotanda, Tokyo. Prof. Ken Sakamura said that the system was developed after a complete investigation of the entire system. It uses a specially developed passive RFID attached to a label on the suits' left sleeve, which can withstand 120 degree steam treatments, plus Dice active RFID chips in the hangers that the suits are hung on. In addition, Dice active uID tags are used inside the shipping containers that the suits are shipped in. They monitor temperature, humidity, container position on the ship, and even allow the ship's position to be tracked.
During the demonstration, the Dice active RFID chips, which the YRP Ubiquitous Networking Laboratory claims are the first of their kind in the world, immediately contacted a receiver device and told a receiver terminal what type of suits they were attached to. Those contents were immediately displayed on a computer screen with perfect accuracy. The passive uIDs on the sleeves were also interrogated with a Ubiquitous Communicator, and the contents were displayed and read out in multimedia form. Remarkably, this system is not costing Aoyama Trading that much to introduce, as most of the basic technologies and infrastructure have already been put in place thanks to the T-Engine and Ubiquitous ID projects. Aoyama Trading, which handles 2.5 million men's suits per year, said that the trials will take place in two stages: the first will be a two-week trial beginning on February 17, 2006, which will be a distribution system trial; and the second will be a retail shop trial, which will run from March 9 through 15, 2006. Among other things, the shop trial will allow customers to get advice on how to dress with a particular suit.
Personal Media Corporation announced on November 25 that it had begun marketing via direct sales "Cho Kanji Togo Jisho," or "Cho Kanji integrated dictionary." The main feature of the new dictionary, which sells for 31,500 yen (consumption tax included), is that it is based on the EPWING electronic publishing standard used by dictionary publishers in Japan, and thus it allows Cho Kanji users to search for words and expressions across multiple dictionaries simultaneously. In addition, users of the new Cho Kanji dictionary can do heading searches, complete text string searches, and searches that also look for variant characters. Personal Media said that Cho Kanji Togo Jisho requires Cho Kanji R4.101 or later and 175 megabytes of empty hard disk space. Cho Kanji Togo Jisho comes standard equipped with Cho Kanji Kojien and Cho Kanji Iwanami Kango Jiten, the two dictionaries put on sale for Cho Kanji to date. In addition, five other option dictionaries, which deal with recently invented words, synonyms, and Japanese-English translations, are available at this time. More will be available in the future.
Annual yearend TRON events will soon be held. On December 10, TRON Electronic Prosthetics Symposium 2006 (TEPS 2006), the annual Enableware symposium that focuses on electronic and computerized aids for the disabled, will be held in Hall B5 of the Tokyo International Forum next to JR Tokyo Station from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Registration is required for entrance to this event. The annual TRON show, TRON SHOW 2006, will be held at the same location from December 14 through 16, from 10 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Attendance is free for those who register beforehand by 5:00 p.m. December 12. Otherwise, an admittance fee of 1,000 yen will be charged. In addition, attendance for any of the theater sessions requires registration beforehand.
* The actual pronunciation is Cho Kanji Toogoo Jisho, but since it is the title of a book, the long vowels have been abbreviated. The same is the case with Cho Kanji Kojien, which is actually pronounced Cho Kanji Koojien. In fact, the Cho of Cho Kanji is also pronounced with along vowel, i.e., Choo Kanji, but this also has been abbreviated to prevent a strange looking product spelling plus strange pronunciations by non-Japanese speakers who have a tendency to pronounce long vowels that are too long on the first try.