Carry your laptop inside your clothes with the new “Packable Parka” from Japan

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RocketNews 24 (by Oona McGee):

Leave your bag at home and fill up the pockets of this denim hoodie with all your tech instead.

These days, cafes around the world are filled with people plugged into the online realm, typing on their laptops and scrolling through pages of information on their mobile phones. While the portability of notebooks and laptops makes it easier than ever to work online outside of the home, there’s been little advancement in the ways to carry our tech goods when heading out around town. In Japan, there’s a group that’s working towards an alternative to the humble bag, and they’ve come up with an innovative parka that has all the room and durability needed to let us say goodbye to PC bags forever!

▼ The “Packable Parka” is designed for laptop storage, with a main zippered section on the front that includes smaller pockets inside to keep all sorts of stationery and equipment firmly in place.

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While the clothing is ready to be worn and filled up to go, the parka can also be folded up into a bag for times when it’s not being worn, allowing users to revert to the traditional bag-style carrying method at any time. To see how the product transforms from bag to parka, check out the short video below:

The Packable Parka design is also being used for a number of other garments designed to hold lighter materials like stationery and notebooks. To see all the designs in the range, check out the group’s campaign page on Japanese crowdfunding site Makuake.

Their idea to combine storage with clothing is proving to be so popular, they’ve already surpassed their funding goal of 500,000 yen (US$4898) with 24 days remaining on their project!

Daily life in Tokyo, as an animated pixel GIF 

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Japanistas (by Pamela Drobig):

Tokyo can be chaotic, relaxing, exciting, an adventure, or plain and simply: beautiful. One pixel artist, who goes by the name 1041uuu, has created breathtakingly amazing pixel-style gifs to capture daily life in and around Tokyo.

1041uuu’s whole tumblr site is filled with animated Tokyo scenery, be it a slow and rainy day, a calm sunset behind Tokyo’s skyscrapers, or a beautiful afternoon with cherry blossoms.

The gifs are simple, the movements subtle – but that is exactly what makes the artist’s work so intriguing and unique. They wonderfully illustrate a never-sleeping city like Tokyo, that, especially to people living in the metropolis, is so much more than its landmarks and hot spots.

The longer you look at 1041uuu’s gifs, the more there is to discover. Be it some subtle movement that you didn’t noticed before, or a beautiful small detail hidden in the pixels. The images perfectly capture the symbiosis between calm day to day life and the business of the big city.

Be sure to visit 1041uuu’s tumblr and Twitter page to discover more of their work.

At SXSW, YouTube co-founder Steve Chen reveals he accidentally created the third biggest site in the world and that YouTube was initially to be a dating site

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Next Shark:

In an alternate universe, there’s probably a version of YouTube designed to match potential couples — sort of like how its founders originally intended it to be: Tinder with video.

Speaking at the South by Southwest conference on Monday, YouTube co-founder Steve Chen revealed that the popular video-sharing site was supposed to be a dating site.

We thought dating would be the obvious choice,” Chen said.

Videos wherein users would describe themselves, their match preferences and other details would serve as personal profiles. Such a service would be similar to the ‘80s-era video-dating services that were popular long before the internet.

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The idea failed to materialize in five days of that format, however, as no one uploaded a single video. This is when the founders decided to open the platform to accept all forms of video content, birthing the YouTube that we know today.

Currently, YouTube is the world’s third most-visited website and an infinite source for reaction videos, fake pranks and makeup tutorials.

Futuristic “wearable chair” exoskeleton allows you to sit while standing

If you work a job where you’re standing all day, you’ll know how much strain you can put on your feet, hips, and joints. Depending on the line of work, you may have the opportunity to sit down and give your legs a break throughout the day, but if you’re, say, a medical surgeon, you don’t always get that option.

But what if you had a chair with you at all times? What if you could sit without actually sitting? It sounds absurd, but the archelis “wearable chair” allows for just that.

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Planned and produced by Japanese company Nitto under the supervision of Chiba University’s Frontier Medical Engineering Center, archelis simply straps onto your legs, allowing the “chair” to move along with you. By bending your knees and putting your weight on the upper sections of the unit, archelis supports your body in the same way as if you were sitting, taking the strain off your tired legs and feet.

▼ Pictured: not Portal 2‘s long-fall boots

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The device is ergonomically designed using a combination of tough metal and carbon to be both durable yet is light enough to allow for comfort and ease of movement. For surgeons who need to stay standing and focused for hours on end, this could be the welcomed relief they need.

Archelis is still in development and does not yet have a set price or release date, but any updates on production will be announced on the website. While the unit was designed with medical staff in mind, we can definitely see this being used in a number of different applications, such as allowing people who have difficulty walking or standing for long periods of time a little respite.

Japanese startup has created a hologram assistant to control all your devices

Established in 2014, Japanese startup vinclu Inc. is still quite young, but they’re certainly ambitious — the company just released a concept video for their hologram assistant, Gatebox, interacting with a young businessman.

Azuma Hikari, the character in the Gatebox, will talk to users, waking them up in the morning and greeting them when they come home at night. Gatebox is also designed to connect to Internet of Things (IoT) devices in your house, so you can control everything from you high-tech bath to your TV just by talking to Azuma. She can also connect to the Internet and let you know stuff like how the weather is.

The hologram device will also apparently have sensors so it can better communicate with you — and it looks like vinclu is setting up some server-side technology to handle artificial intelligence as well. Fortunately, even if Gatebox or Azuma become fully sentient and decide to murder you in your sleep, the worst they could do cause your bathtub to overflow.

Nevertheless, Gatebox probably won’t be something you buy to better control your IoT devices — Amazon’s Echo can already do that well enough, for example. The selling point for Gatebox looks to be the hologram display and the character that lives within it, which, we have to admit, could add a fun dynamic to what is basically a really nifty remote control. Of course, unlike a remote control, Azuma will actually have a personality of sorts.

You can’t buy Gatebox yet, but it looks like the company is planning to offer them via crowdfunding preorders later this year.

New magnetic “slate” lets you write on actual paper, digitize your drawings in real-time

RocketNews 24 (by Scott Wilson):

Digital drawing tablets, despite their best efforts, have always felt different from the real thing. For many artists, note-takers, or expert doodlers, nothing beats the feeling of putting actual pen to actual paper.

But now, thanks to iSketchnote, you can write on a real piece of paper using a real pen, while still digitizing it in real-time on a tablet or PC as you draw.

iSketchnote started as a Kickstarter project by the French group ISKN in September 2013, and it quickly exceeded its modest $35,000 goal by hitting $350,000. Now, a little over a year later, it’s finally being released to the public as an alternative digital-drawing tablet.

In fact it’s not even a tablet at all; it’s just a “slate” and a pen. You can put any kind of paper that you want on top of the slate, write away with the special pen, and watch your writing or drawing get turned into a digital version in real-time via Bluetooth or USB to your tablet or PC.

Here’s a video showing everything in action. Keep in mind that this is not a digital drawing tablet – it’s just a plain piece of paper being written on with iSketchnote’s ink pen.

Samsung’s TipTalk is a smartwatch band that lets you listen to voicemails simply by touching your ear

People are skeptical when it comes to wearables because so far, all a smartwatch can do is act as an intermediate between the user and their smartphone. That is, until Samsung unveiled a piece of technology called TipTalk.

What TipTalk does is quite incredible; it sends sounds through the user’s arm (from their wrist) and then when the user places their finger on their ear, they can hear voicemail messages through the unique reverberation.

Samsung have not commented on whether this technology will be implemented in future wearables, but in a market that is slowly becoming super-saturated, it’s good to know that the technology giant has a few incredibly innovative aces up its sleeve.

The Chinese have a way of messaging that’s way better and safer than texting

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Next Shark:

The Chinese have been messaging each other in a way that almost puts texting to shame given how many accidents we’ve had from walking while texting or the often fatal driving while texting.

Rather than glue their eyes and attention to the screen for those crucial moments while they type, most Chinese people use voice messaging.

No, it’s not at all a new way of communicating, but voice messaging is now the norm on WeChat, the messaging app with over 500 million monthly users, according to Quartz.

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Push-to-talk messaging’s growth in Asia is widely attributed to the difficulty of typing in Chinese. Vocally messaging people is just simpler and more personal, but also loud.

Specifically in China, the custom is more widely accepted than in other Chinese-speaking countries like Taiwan, where loud voice messaging in public would be frowned upon for being rude.

Thomas Luo, the founder of the leading Chinese tech blog Pingwest, told Quartz:

Chinese and Taiwanese express themselves very differently. For me, I always speak loudly, even in my office. But Taiwanese people are more quiet.”

Like any culture, the Chinese adhere to specific formalities in communication that might otherwise be unacceptable elsewhere. In the digital age, voice messaging found its popularity from the internet cafe culture of the mid-2000s when gamers sent voice messages rather then texts. When mobile was introduced, those habits carried on.

Luo also attributed voice messaging habits to educational backgrounds:

People that aren’t very well-educated will use voice messages no matter what, whether the sentences are long or only one second. But middle-class or well-educated people will send voice messages if they want to say something that is informal but also complicated. If it’s simple, they’ll just type.”

Would voice messaging in public be acceptable in a country like the U.S. where talking loudly on your phone in public isn’t that all unheard of? Maybe not in public, but it’s definitely the safer alternative when you are driving in the privacy of your car.

Every major player in Silicon Valley, from Steve Jobs to Mark Zuckerberg, has been going to this Chinese restaurant

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Next Shark (by Melly Lee):

Silicon Valley is known for a multitude of landmarks, including the garages Apple and Google were started in, the Facebook campus, and the IBM Almaden Research Lab. The one landmark, however, that perhaps garners the most universal praise from the best and the brightest of the area is Chinese restaurant Chef Chu’s.
MellyLee-ChefChu-001Started by Lawrence Chu in 1970, Chef Chu’s has been the go-to place for the Bay Area’s tech elite, celebrities and politicians. Tennis superstar Serena Williams, platinum-selling artist Justin Bieber and former Intel CEO Craig Barrett have all frequented Chu’s establishment. The late Apple founder Steve Jobs also used to be a regular before he became a recognizable tech titan.

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He’d come in here as a nobody,” Chu told Mercury News in a 2012 interview. “He’d wait 45 minutes to get a table and all of a sudden he’s on the cover of Time Magazine. I was busy making a living. I didn’t know who he was.”

In the mid-1980s, when then Secretary of State George Shultz needed to hold an emergency meeting with other high-ranking officials in the Reagan administration, he held it at Chef Chu’s.

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Even though he’s been in business for 45 years, the 72-year-old Chu still goes to work with seemingly the same passion and drive he started with. He’s frequently in the kitchen helping the staff and tries greeting every single customer that walks through the door.

Silicon Valley futurist Paul Saffo once said: “No restaurant has had the longevity of Chef Chu’s for either quality of the food or popularity with the valley’s movers and shakers. It’s as vibrant and lively as it’s ever been.”

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Most recently, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has become a regular at Chef Chu’s. Chu tells NextShark: “Mark Zuckerberg comes in here all the time. Him and his wife Priscilla came here last Sunday. Their parents too, they moved from the East Coast.”
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Even with all the celebrity attention, Chef Chu believes in one core philosophy when treating customers: “Whoever comes in here, we should treat them the same. For a simple reason: they all pay the same price. Whether they’re an engineer, doctor, governor.

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Aside from his restaurant, Chu has published three cookbooks, started a catering business, and created his own cooking classes.

His first job was as a busboy at Trader Vic’s, a Polynesian restaurant in San Francisco.

He recounts: “In the restaurant, we worked so hard and I found out that I loved restaurants. It’s very famous as well. I was there; I met all celebrities there. I was a busboy, waiter, bartender. Then I told myself, one day I want to do something like this. Maybe not a busboy, but I want to do something of my own.
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At the time, he was trying to woo his future wife, Ruth Ho, who was then a PhD student at Stanford University. He’d often joke to her that he was also a PhD: poor, hungry and determined. Chu successfully wooed not only his future wife, but also his future father-in-law, who was a successful entrepreneur.

I told the father that I had a dream. I said I want to open fast food Chinese restaurants in America. The father liked me. They all liked me in a sense, but they never asked my education. They only said, ‘This guy is 25 years old and has a dream.’

MellyLee-ChefChu-012It was in 1970 that Chu decided to follow through on his dream of starting his own restaurant, opening his first fast-food Chinese restaurant in a space that used to be a small laundromat between a beauty salon and appliance repair shop.

Six months later, he took over the beauty salon’s space in order to expand his venture into a sit-down restaurant. Three years after that, with money he saved over the years and from an investment from his father-in-law, Chu purchased the entire complex and completely renovated his restaurant, including the installation of a state-of-the-art kitchen.

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Although by then a successful restaurateur, Chu wanted to be a chef and worked tirelessly to learn from the chefs he hired at his restaurant, perfecting his culinary skill through practice and trial and error.

I worked my butt off. I collapsed in my bed every day. I cooked for 20 years in the kitchen.”

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After his father’s restaurant was closed down by the health department, Chu went to college for two semesters to learn how to properly run a restaurant in order to make sure the same fate wouldn’t befall his own restaurant. To this day, Chu takes cleanliness and hygiene at his restaurant as one of his top priorities.

Personal hygiene is very important. That’s 24 hours every second, every minute of the job. When you decorate the plate, everything on the plate should be edible. You cannot just put a flower there because it looks good. Everything on the plate should be edible.”
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Initially, Chu wanted to open a chain of Chinese restaurants all over the country but he eventually decided to just focus on one. At 72, he’s still learning and regularly travels to Asia to discover new culinary secrets.

People always ask me why I have only one restaurant. ‘Why do you work at 72? Why don’t you hire people and open two or three restaurants?’ The type of restaurant that I run is totally different than the type of restaurant that you run. It takes a lot of hard work but ultimately you must be a leader.

You have to have a great team behind you. For them, it is just another job. For me, it is my life. Most people work for me 20 to 30 years and retire. Why? They knew that they could trust me and that I would not let them down and that I was passionate. You have to demonstrate that you are a true leader.

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Chu is not the only successful person in his family. His middle son, Jon M. Chu, is a successful director who has helmed films like “G.I. Joe: Retaliation,” “Justin Bieber: Never Say Never” and “Step Up 2: The Street.” His other son, Larry Chu Jr., has joined his father in the kitchen and plans to take over the restaurant someday.

Since Larry joined me [it has] allowed me to cut about 50% of the worry.

Most people [say], ‘Chef Chu, you should retire. You have all the money in the world.’ I’m coming here [because] I’m proud of what I do. I’m making history. I believe my philosophy, my method. I trust my instinct. I trust my burning desire that we put 100 percent in the business and don’t stop improving. I don’t say change for the sake of change. Don’t stop advancing. Don’t stop because the world is running, the world is changing.

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Sony showcases its PlayStation VR headset at Paris Games Week

As a part of Paris Games Week, Sony offered up perhaps the best look yet at its upcoming VR headset, the aptly and simply named PlayStation VR. Though there were few specifics with regards to the device itself, Sony did tease the headset with a flashy new video and offered up a bevy of trailers for new games that will support the device.

Popular horror game Until Dawn will see the addition of a VR-enabled add-on dubbed Rush of Blood while Crysis developer Crytek dropped a new trailer for a dino-centric game called Robinson: The Journey. As previously mentioned, the upcoming Gran Turismo Sport will also support the device.

PlayStation VR is currently slated for a spring or summer release next year.