Want to see of the latest and greatest tech before it hits our shores? Then hit CEATEC, Japan’s largest consumer electronics trade show, held in Makuhari Messe every year in October.

Below are some of the highlights from the first day of the show. If you want to see all the videos I’m taking at CEATEC 2016, which cover many items I’m not writing about, take a look at my YouTube playlist.

Yukai BOCCO SIM Robot

Yukai showed their BOCCO SIM robot, designed to sit in the home and notify occupants of events. New this year is a sensor to detect a door locking and unlocking, so you know if someone left the home unprotected. Users can also leave messages for others when they arrive home. The robot cannot differentiate between user voices. The $240 product is available on Amazon and the $35 sensor should be coming soon.

YouTube Video

Honda 3D Printed Car

Honda showed off a 3D printed vehicle, using their Vehicle Design Platform. In tandem with cookie company Toshimaya, and design firm Kabuku, the shell of the battery-powered vehicle was 3D printed, and placed over the chassis provided by Honda. The shell is made from ABS plastic, and in the photos you can see the polished, finished surfaces versus those needing a final pass. Printing took 1 month, occurring 24×7, using a Stratosys Focus 900 printer, one of the largest in the industry. The vehicle utilizes a motorcycle-like pipe frame, has an 80 kilometer range, a large lithium ion battery, and a small cartridge battery for adding extra range 15 kilometers at a time.

Omron Table Tennis Robot – Now with Player Skill Recognition

Omron’s Table Tennis robot was a hit last year, beating its human challengers handily. This year, the system can detect a player’s skill and curb its own abilities when playing. We were also treated to watching the device break its arm, and the engineers had to come out and fix it. Omron’s solution has been recognized as the first robot table tennis tutor. Unexpectedly, it does not recognize different players, nor does it use deep learning, so it doesn’t get any better as it plays.

YouTube Video

 

NEC Police Officer Body Cam Video Analysis System

NEC showed off their Security Guard Support Solution, which works in tandem with vest-worn law enforcement cameras. The system can extract faces in the video feed and send them to an officer’s smartwatch for suspect identification, assisted by facial recognition. Accuracy detection rate is 90%. NEC also showed how it can compensate for low bandwidth or unpredictable network coverage with a blur compensation algorithm that appeared to greatly enhance the video playback quality and smoothness.

Rakuten ZapZap Word Cloud Shopping Assistant

Rakuten, the largest online retailer in Japan, again showed advanced customer assistance technologies at this year’s CEATEC. One, the ZapZap, enables a customer to place a book on an enhanced table, and see keywords from that book begin to hover around the cover. Tapping a word brings up a related passage from the book to ease browsing. The solution uses an RGBD camera, basically RGB plus Depth, to provide this service.

YouTube Video

Panasonic Bendable Battery Prototype

Panasonic showed off a prototype bendable lithium ion battery solution, capable of bending and not losing any power from the process. This package could enable batteries in watch straps, hats, and many wearables. The largest cell was 60 mAh. Samples will be available in October. You can see the bendability in the video below.

YouTube Video

Panasonic Listnr Baby Talk Recognition App

Japan faces an increasing number of two-working-parent households. Keeping track of a baby’s needs is more difficult when mommy and daddy aren’t home. Panasonic’s Listnr device listens to and recognizes a baby’s sounds and sends alerts to an app reporting whether baby is happy, sad, angry, and so forth. You can see the interface in the photos below. The system is already available on Amazon.

Hobot Window Washing Robot

Hobot showed off their latest window cleaning robot, the Model 198. Like their other units, the system must be plugged in to run. If disconnected from power, it can stay stuck to the window for up to 20 minutes before falling. However, it stops cleaning when that happens. Not sure of the point, but it was cool to see a window washing equivalent of the Roomba, even if it wasn’t nearly as well thought out.

YouTube Video

Epson PaperLab In-Office Paper Recycling Plant

Why send your paper out to be recycled when you could do it yourself? Epson’s PaperLab is about 9 feet wide, 6 feet high, and 5 feet deep and fits in a decently sized copier room. Feed it paper and it shreds it, removes all text, and within 3 minutes it will have recycled that paper. Once the system gets going – that 3 minute startup period – it can churn out 14 A4 size pages per minute. Choose the color of paper you’d like, its weight (thickness), and even add an optional scent, and voila – paper from paper. The system will be released in Japan this year. There is no water or waste, due to Epson’s proprietary Dry Fiber technology. Price unannounced, but it’s going to be “affordable” according to an Epson representative.

The recycling process is as follows:

  1. Insert Waste Paper
  2. Restore Paper to Fiber Form
  3. Use Binders to Bind Paper and Increase Strength and Whiteness
  4. Pressure Form the Paper, optionally mixing CMY to change color, and/or add scent
  5. New Paper is Ready

VoiceITT Speech Impediment Correction App

VoiceITT showed their TalkIT app for those with speech impediments. If you stutter, slur your speech, or have some other impediment, the solution clears up your speech in realtime so people can better understand you. VoiceITT is targeting those with autism, brain injuries, Parkinson’s, cerebral palsy, MS, strokes, ALS, and throat cancer, among others that affect a person’s normal ability to speak clearly. Quite fascinating in my opinion. The startup has already raised over $750K in funding. See the video below for an example.

YouTube Video

Blincam Camera for Eyewear

I often find myself wishing I could take a photo of whatever I’m seeing at the moment without whipping out my camera. Some cool bird, a funny shirt or license plate, anything – and the moment is right and easily missed if only a few seconds pass. ShapChat has their Spectacles product coming with a built-in camera to address such a need. However, if those loud, bright, and slightly cheap-looking, shades aren’t your thing, Blincam may be exactly what you’re looking for. The device attaches to practically any pair of eyewear, and takes a photo when it detects you’ve blinked. Resolution is only 1920×1080, but that’s good enough for an Instagram/Snapchat/Facebook upload.

YouTube Video

VRC’s Lightning Fast Full Body Scan 3D Model Generator

VRC showed off their CVS – Virtual Reality + Creative – 3D model scanner. The solution can take photos in 4 seconds of any 3D object, and within 2 minutes it will have a full 360 degree render of the subject. That’s 30x faster than existing systems, which take 1-2 hours to perform the same task.

Aroma Shooter Wearable Scent Transmitter

AromaJoin’s Aroma Shooter showed a scent transmitting wearable that can send quickly multiple scents in specific directions without switching cartridges. This overcomes a common issue with “scent” solutions – often they only contain one scent at a time, run slowly, and are relatively pointless. The AromaShooter solution is quick and directional, so it can send different scents to multiple surrounding recipients, with effectively no overlay. So, whatever it is you’re smelling, your neighbor wouldn’t. I can think of a few uses for that one!

The full size Aroma Shooter holds 7 cartridges and can switch in 0.1 seconds, the fastest of its kind. The Aroma Shooter Mini holds 1 cartridge, and can be placed on any metal surface due to its magnet. All products use Bluetooth LE. 200 scents are available so far.

AromaJoin will begin its Kickstarter campaign in May 2017.

YouTube Video

 

 

CEATEC is Japan’s largest consumer electronics trade show, and is similar to our state-side CES. Held in Makuhari every year, the show boasts over 100,000 attendees and hundreds of vendors, showcasing the latest technology in everything from fully manufactured consumer-ready products to the individual components necessary to build them.

As a judge on this year’s Innovation Awards, I had the opportunity to tour the show floor and get a first look at some amazing tech before the public stampedes the halls looking for the same.

Fujitsu’s Emotion Sensing Robot

Just look at the video… Skynet is coming.

ROHM “Machine Health” Solution

ROHM showed off a “Machine Health” factory equipment monitoring solution. The board, running the LAPIS processor at 920MHz, enables retrofitting of factory equipment with sensors. Data can be transmitted with enOcean, a common transmission solution, and Wi-Sun, among others. Once equipment has the board and sensors attached, the ROHM software brings all sensor data to a single front-end interface, altering factory personnel of any machine issues. This solution may save cost by not requiring new machine purchases for safer use monitoring, rather using new “IoT-like” technology and tacking it onto existing equipment.
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Next Generation Lazurite ORIZURU Flying Crane

RoHM introduced a new version of their ORIZURU flying origami. Running their 3.1g Lazurite processor, operating at 920MHz, the board solution is light enough to enable the device, including the battery. This year they added two additional wings, for a total of four, a tail motor, and a wrist-worn cuff to control flying. As you can see in the video below, the flight capabilities aren’t yet perfected.

ALPS IoT Smart Module Package

Alps showed the new version of their Next Generation Development Kit for IoT Smart Module package. After selling 1,400 units last year, they received useful feedback and this is the result. The solution is now expandable, supporting SDC, I/O, SPI, and I2C (“I Squared C”) modules. It also sports 4 megabytes of RAM, enabling logging of data for about one month when communication is bad, or the system doesn’t need to call home often. With a standard CR232 battery, the system can log data for up to 1 year between data dumps.

Murata Traffic Counter System

Murata showed off their Project Atlas traffic counting solution, blanketing a community’s traffic signals and road signage with IR sensors to monitor traffic flow. A prototype implementation has been running in Bangkok for 2 years now and has seen relative success. It takes one sensor every 500 meters to monitor 4 lanes of traffic. The system is not available for sale as of yet. When asked what challenges they face with IR to monitor the traffic, the most complex was noted to be heavy rain.

Fujitsu Palm Vein Verification

Fujitsu showed off its palm-vein-based payment solution. Users register their vein print and link it to any number of credit cards, point cards, and so forth. Veins are used due to the much larger set of verification data points. 17 million people are already using this system – ATM use in Brazil for example. The system uses near infrared to penetrate the skin, so skin color shouldn’t be an issue, according to the representative. Error rate is 0.000001%. Facial recognition wasn’t used due to glasses, weight changes, and contacts changing the verification pattern. While this solution has been available for a few years, Fujitsu’s new version of the senor, available this year, has more power, and can be placed in more environments, including automobiles.

Fujitsu Global Security Management and Hacking Demonstration

Fujitsu showed off a hacker doing a “real” attack – actually using a real hacking tool, Armitage – and explained how their security system could prevent this. See the video below for a replay of the actual attack against a Windows XP machine.

Fujitsu Laser Eyewear

Fujitsu’s laser eye projection solution projects a 720P image directly on the retina. The technology is intended for those with low sight capabilities.
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Fujitsu Ontenna

Fujitsu’s Ontenna – a play on the words “antenna” and “On” (own) the Japanese word for “sound” – uses a vibrating device placed in the hair to help those who are deaf or hearing impaired detect sounds. According to Fujitsu, our hair is very sensitive, so it’s the perfect medium to relay sound information. Users overwhelmingly wanted the hair solution versus any other sort of attachment. This was due to the device no longer touching the skin, and therefore not causing irritation. Using two in parallel can assist in distance and sound location detection.
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Fujitsu Smart City

Fujitsu’s citywide surveillance solution can visualize an entire city by monitoring vehicles, people, and objects in realtime. Advanced deep learning technology can detect suspicious activity, identify faces, read license plates, and more. It can also detect available parking spots using a single 1080P camera to track up to 100 spots.

Fujitsu LiveTalk Realtime Language Translation

Fujitsu’s natural language conversion solution can translate 12 different languages in realtime and seemed pretty accurate in our demo. See the video below for an example.

I recently penned a blog post for Eleven Fifty Academy about how the Crime Watch app came to be. I meet aspiring developers all the time, many with great ideas they want to bring to life through code.

https://elevenfifty.org/a-look-into-city-of-fishers-crimewatch-app/

When we built the CrimeWatch app for the City of Fishers, we hoped for two things: 1) citizens will use it to protect our community, and 2) this is a good preparation for the future of how people communicate with Police for non-emergency issues. We’re starting to see that vision bear fruit with the first arrest via an in-app report. There have been over 250 incidents reported, and over 2,800 citizens have installed the app. This is awesome. We’ve been listening and adding new capabilities based on feedback, both from officers, and the community. Please keep the ideas coming – we’re happy to help you!

Watch the WishTV 8 coverage here: http://wishtv.com/2016/08/09/fishers-crime-watch-app-leads-to-first-arrest/

Watch the WRTV6 The Indy Channel coverage here: http://www.theindychannel.com/news/local-news/fishers-pd-touts-success-of-crimewatch-app

I’ve been using this example for a couple years now – explaining Object Oriented Programming with a cute example based on the book Everybody Poops. It’s fun, and much less bland than the other OOP examples I’ve seen 🙂

Here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0PFHaX04mo

In case you missed the first video on Inversion of Control and Dependency Injection: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HcJN1XCs8t0

This is the second video in my Real World Programmer series. I hope you enjoy!

 

I recently purchased an LG UltraWide 21:9 display. Why an ultra-wide and not 4K? a) I write code for a living and this is a great way to get two windows full size side-by-side without an extra monitor. b) It was only $130 instead of $400 due to a Best Buy sale. Sold!

I get home, connect it to my Surface Book, and nothing works. The screen just blinks on and off, on and off, blinkety blink, blinkety blink. No Bueno. Changing the cable made the blinkety blink go away, but the display control panel would suggest trying different settings, and wouldn’t light things up.

My friend Shane recommended I get an Active MiniDP to HDMI adapter. So I bought one on Amazon. Still, I didn’t want to wait… that’s 2 days with Prime shipping, and not fast enough.

So, I looked into the MiniDP adapter I was using. I found out it only supports up to 1080P! Maybe it’s DP 1.1 or something. Whatever it is, it couldn’t support a 2560×1440 or thereabouts display.

Fry’s had the answer – I made sure I found a MiniDP to HDMI adapter that clearly stated it supports 4K and MiniDP 1.2. The particular product I purchased was the Cirago Mini DisplayPort to HDMI Display Adapter.

I got home and the adapter worked flawlessly.

I hope that helps anyone having a similar issue!

 

The built-in Facebook OWIN provider in ASP.NET MVC can open your website to the benefits of logging in via the social networking behemoth. Still, it’s limited when it comes to pulling in profile details such as photo, birthdate, gender, and so forth. I recently implemented retrieval of those profile properties, and will explain how you can do it, too! I feel the obvious benefit is your users don’t need to manually type in their profile details, should you have similar fields in your system.

I’m assuming you’ve created and configured a Facebook app via Facebook’s Dev center, and won’t be going into that process in this article.

Determine Which Profile Fields You Need

Before we write any code, you need to know to which profile details you desire access. Facebook used to be relatively open. Not anymore! Now you need to ask permission for a ton of items, and many are no longer available. Make sure you check permissions at least every 3 months, otherwise you may find your granted permissions are no longer, well, granted, or even accessible.

Here’s a link to everything you can get: https://developers.facebook.com/docs/facebook-login/permissions/

In my case, to access the Profile photo, name information, and some other basic items, I chose:

  • public_profile
  • email
  • user_photos
  • user_about_me

I probably don’t need all these right now, but I may in the future. I figured I’d ask ahead of time.

Once you have your list, continue to the fun coding part…

Enable the Facebook Provider in Startup.Auth.cs

If you haven’t already, you’ll need to enable the Facebook provider via Startup.Auth.cs. Make sure you do this *after* any cookie authentication, so “normal” username/password logins are serviced before Facebook takes over. This should already be the case, as the default ASP.NET MVC template includes the many optional providers afterwards by default.

I suggest keeping the App ID and Secret in your config file – or at least out of code – so you can swap for differing environments as necessary. The code snippet below enables Facebook authentication, and specifies the profile fields for which we’ll be asking read permission:

You don’t have to use what I chose – it’s just what I needed for my particular case. Facebook *does* change allowed permissions and profile item visibility somewhat often. Stay on top of their developer changes – otherwise your site login may unexpectedly break.

// Enable Facebook authentication with permission grant request.
// Otherwise, you just get the user's name.
var options = new FacebookAuthenticationOptions();
options.AppId = ConfigurationManager.AppSettings["Facebook.AppId"];
options.AppSecret = ConfigurationManager.AppSettings["Facebook.AppSecret"];
options.Scope.Add("public_profile");
options.Scope.Add("email");
options.Scope.Add("user_photos");
options.Scope.Add("user_about_me");
app.UseFacebookAuthentication(options);

Install the Facebook NuGet Package

In order to easily get access to the Facebook data, I used the Facebook.NET library. It’s easy enough to install:

Install-Package Facebook

Note: I used version 7.0.6 in this example. You should be able to find the latest version and changelog at https://www.nuget.org/packages/Facebook/7.0.10-beta

Handle the Facebook External Login Callback in AccountController.cs

Once Facebook has been configured, all requests from your website will direct to Facebook, where it will ask permission, and, if granted, will redirect back to the ExternalLoginCallback action in the Account controller. It is here that I suggest you retrieve the data you’ve requested from Facebook. You’ll then modify the associated ExternalLoginConfirmation View with fields to correct or remove any information from Facebook, then continue with the account creation process on your website. That’s the part where you’ll populate the ApplicationUser entity, or whatever you decided to call it.

It’s relatively simple, as shown in the code below. The steps are as follows:

  1. Get the Facebook OAuth token with a simple HttpClient call
  2. Make the request for Profile details using the Facebook.NET library
  3. Optionally, download the Profile photo and save it somewhere

Yes, I could split this out – refactor as you see fit, and feel free to share any optimizations.

Below is the change to ExternalLoginCallback to grab the data from Facebook after the redirect:

ExternalLoginCallback Code

If you’d like to get the profile image, below is an example:

GetProfileImage Code

 

Moving Forward

I hope this article has helped answer your Facebook integration questions. If you would like additional details, please post in the comments, or message me on Twitter: @Auri

Thank you!