Yamaha motorcycle comes on command at CES event

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Yamaha exhibits an autonomous robot that rides an unmodified motorcycle at CES in Las Vegas, Nevada, on January 10, 2018. (AFP / DAVID MCNEW)
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The Yamaha Motoroid, an autonomous concept motorcycle, is displayed at the Yamaha booth during CES 2018 at the Las Vegas Convention Center on January 10, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (David Becker/Getty Images/AFP)
Updated 11 January 2018
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Yamaha motorcycle comes on command at CES event

LAS VEGAS: With a wave, Kinji Asamura summoned a riderless motorcycle to his side in the Yamaha booth at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week.
The concept electric motorcycle, called "Motoroid", then balanced in position, holding its place even when Asamura tried gently to push it over.
Nearby, a robot that might seem suited for a futuristic action film was astride a production model Yamaha super-bike that it had ridden at speeds topping 200 kilometers per hour on a test track.
“The motor bike is the recent past, and the Motoroid is the future,” Yamaha spokesman John Boreland told AFP as he glanced from one two-wheeled creation to the other.
“The object is to see what lessons can be learned to connect machine to human more effectively.”
The robot-ridden Yamaha motorcycle, called ‘Motobot,’ is fast but blind, relying on pre-programmed routes, according to Yamaha.
Lessons learned so far from the research model include that “human beings react a hell of a lot quicker,” according to Boreland.
Flesh-and-blood riders have also proven better at grasping the courter-intuitive notion of counter-steering and leaning through turns, he added.
The Motoroid model boasted autonomous features such as balancing on its own, recognizing riders, and being summoned with a wave.
Wings on the back of the seat were designed with the help of a psychologist to gently squeeze a rider’s lower back in a sort of reassuring caress at potentially perilous high speeds, Boreland said.
“Somewhere along the line, this will all meld together so you’ll be part of the bike and it will figure things out for you,” Boreland said of insights and advances resulting from the concept motorcycles, which are not for sale.


Japan to trial ‘world’s first urine test’ to spot cancer

Updated 17 April 2018
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Japan to trial ‘world’s first urine test’ to spot cancer

  • Previous research has shown a new blood test has potential to detect eight different kinds of tumors before they spread
  • The research starts in April and will run until September

TOKYO: A Japanese firm is poised to carry out what it hailed as the world’s first experiment to test for cancer using urine samples, which would greatly facilitate screening for the deadly disease.
Engineering and IT conglomerate Hitachi developed the basic technology to detect breast or colon cancer from urine samples two years ago.
It will now begin testing the method using some 250 urine samples, to see if samples at room temperature are suitable for analysis, Hitachi spokesman Chiharu Odaira told AFP.
“If this method is put to practical use, it will be a lot easier for people to get a cancer test, as there will be no need to go to a medical organization for a blood test,” he said.
It is also intended to be used to detect paediatric cancers.
“That will be especially beneficial in testing for small children” who are often afraid of needles, added Odaira.
Research published earlier this year demonstrated that a new blood test has shown promise toward detecting eight different kinds of tumors before they spread elsewhere in the body.
Usual diagnostic methods for breast cancer consist of a mammogram followed by a biopsy if a risk is detected.
For colon cancer, screening is generally conducted via a stool test and a colonoscopy for patients at high risk.
The Hitachi technology centers around detecting waste materials inside urine samples that act as a “biomarker” — a naturally occurring substance by which a particular disease can be identified, the company said in a statement.
The procedure aims to improve the early detection of cancer, saving lives and reducing the medical and social cost to the country, Odaira explained.
The experiment will start this month until through September in cooperation with Nagoya University in central Japan.
“We aim to put the technology in use in the 2020s, although this depends on various things such as getting approval from the authorities,” Odaira said.