Startups showcase their wares at CEATEC 2016 in Japan


This is a guest post authored by “Tex” Pomeroy. He is a Tokyo-based writer specializing in ICT and high technology.

Image credit: CEATEC JAPAN Organizing Committee

Earlier this month, CEATEC 2016 was held in Chiba at the Makuhari Messe convention center. Many startups were gathered this year at the waterfront venue to the south of Narita International Airport, with Japanese firms joining forces with older companies while overseas startups entering Japan such as those from the U.S. and France gained support from their governments.

Pulse Launcher Unit
Image credit: Techmac, Rohm

One conspicuous corner was Kyoto-based startup Techmac which with electronics manufacturer Rohm (TSE:6963), also a Kyoto denizen, exhibited a joint application currently under development which is being called Pulse Launcher Unit (PLU). The enhanced IoT focus of the former Consumer Electronics/Telecom event from this year matched the exhibit items.

The gun-shaped “launcher” is replete with sensors, obviously provided by Rohm, that enable users to participate in a “game” being developed, dubbed Z.O.N.E.(β). This game evaluates a person’s concentration ability as well as other traits. It may be used for example to check both physical and mental health status in the future for workers, students and other people whose performance needs to be monitored.

Regarding sensors Rohm also has a subsidiary, Lapis Semiconductor (located in Shin-Yokohama), which is readying sensors that fathom environmental conditions of soil. It is thought that such sensors, which monitor non-soil mechanics properties like temperature and humidity, could be applied to fields ranging from agriculture to zoology.

Tokimeki Sensor
Image credit: Rohm

Reverting to applications for human beings, in the past Techmac and Rohm had produced jointly also a game entitled Tokimeki Sensor, of course using a sensor as the name implies. In Japanese the word Tokimeki means “the throbbing heart brought on by infatuation”; actually what is sensed by the system that was exhibited at CEATEC last year is in fact heart palpitation.

Image credit: Kabuku

Another Japanese endeavor was that of Kabuku, a design startup, who joined forces with Honda (TSE:7267) the automobile maker to produce an automobile whose body is made with parts printed using a three-dimensional printer. The Kabuku system is called Rinkak, a mass customization solution for cars and other vehicles; Rinkak in Japanese means “profile.”

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L to R: Tsubasa Koseki (Styler), Jumpei Notomi (Tohmatsu Venture Support)
Image credit: Styler

The thrust of CEATEC being changed toward IoT was underscored as well by a day-long session of seminars centered on IoT and fashion, which brought together such startups in this industry like Styler – as represented by CEO Tsubasa Koseki – taking part in discussions emceed by Jumpei Notomi of Tomatsu Venture Support.

Lyon mayor Gerard Collomb speaks at CEATEC 2016
Image credit: Jerry Suppan, Visionworks Productions

French startups were highlighted by an event held in Tokyo in addition to the Chiba CEATEC site with the French government presence including a delegation from the startup capital Lyon. Headed by the Socialist mayor, Gerard Collomb, this city announced a tie-up with DMM.make in Akihabara.

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As for the U.S., the American corner of CEATEC supported by the Embassy had Darktrace, a startup involved in cybersecurity, appealing its services. In Japan it has its own local subsidiary based in Shibuya at Cerulean Tower, while working together with a Japanese firm known as PSI.