|Universal design was first proposed in the 1980s by Professor Ronald L. Mace of the University of North Carolina. The concept of designing products, facilities, and environments that can safely be used by all people, irrespective of disability, age, sex, or language, has since crossed borders and spread across the globe. Universal design has been adopted by a wide range of organizations and corporations, and has steadily begun to take root in Japan.|
|Where will todays cutting - edge technologies lead humanity? A forum that may offer some clues to help answer this difficult question took place in Tokyo in June. This future - gazing event gives us the opportunity to examine several of the latest technological innovations being developed by Sumitomo Group companies. By observing these technologies, some even still in the early stages of development, we can catch a glimpse of the possibilities for life in the 21st century.|
|By using synchrotron radiation many times brighter and more powerful than sunlight, researchers have been able to bring the nano- realm into view. The application of this radiation to the analysis of materials at the atomic and electronic levels is making a ground- breaking impact on a vast range of areas, including biology, physics, and other industries. Japan boasts synchrotron radiation facility, SPring-8 and Japanese companies are now using it to make huge advances in technological development.|
|Reducing waste is crucial for an environmentally aware society, yet human endeavor is virtually impossible without generating waste productshence utilizing these waste products effectively is of growing importance, whereas disposal was the only option in the past. Utilizing recycled industrial waste is one of the key technologies of the 21st century.|
|Humans have fought infectious diseases since time immemorial. The battle is now entering a new phase, though, as viruses and bacteria travel the globe at ever faster speeds and new diseases come on the scene. Can humans win out against these threats?|
|Records are for breaking, they say. New records are made and broken repeatedly in the world of sports, very often thanks to the power of science. Scientific advances in diverse fields have significantly enhanced our athletic capabilities, and unceasing technological innovations have led to incredible advances in sports equipment and tools. Our article looks at the world of sports from a scientific perspective.|
|Global warming is one of the gravest concerns humankind now faces. The following articles present a picture of how several Japanese companies are working to address this problem from a variety of angles, including the crucial challenges of greenhouse gas reduction and energy conservation. Their efforts hold promise for a better environment for future generations.|
|You hear it everywhere you go these days: that ever-present word, ubiquitous. Among other things, it refers to a data communications infrastructure that enables a computer to connect to a network anytime or anyplace so that the user can readily obtain and convey information. Not surprisingly, it takes cutting-edge technology to implement this paradigm of computer networking.|
|We are seldom aware of all the roles light plays in our daily lives.
Yet there are many forms and sources of light used in a multitude of ways all around us. Much technology and know-how goes into making use of light. In the following article, we explore leading-edge businesses involved in three aspects of working with light: directing, manipulating, and changing.
|The first life on Earth was born out of water. Plentiful water supplies have given humankind stable means of living, and sophisticated civilizations. In every sense, water is the source of both life and prosperity. But degradation of water quality and desertification are ubiquitous problems, and there are growing signs that we should be genuinely concerned, because sometime in the future we will be confronted by a severe global water shortage. That very concern has heightened interest in technologies that use and protect water.|
|Japans manufacturing industry has driven economic growth since World War II. There is little doubt that the strength of the Japanese economy lies in the excellence of Japanese manufacturing technology. This economic structure is unlikely to change going forward despite the shift toward the service industry and the increasing use of IT in society. The Made in Japan label has an enviable reputation around the world, and the technical prowess behind it is underpinned by day-to-day efforts on the shop floor.|
|The automobile is a product created from the pooled knowledge and expertise of various companies, not only auto makers, but also suppliers of materials and components. Japans automotive suppliers work together with automakers as they take on the challenges of technological development in their quest to produce better cars.|
|Efforts are now underway to revitalize Japans flagging municipalities, and although the vicious cycle of decay and stagnation that has so many of the worlds cities in its grip has affected Japan as well, the surest means of escape from these difficulties is a concentrated effort at urban renewal. No single approach to urban renewal guarantees success, but one element that all approaches share is the earnest desire of afflicted communities inhabitants to restore the charm and vitality that once graced their cities.|
|Earth Simulator, the worlds fastest supercomputer, started operation in March 2002.
The system was mainly built to run simulations of global-warming scenarios.
Will global warming really continue on its current trend? Exactly how would continued global warming impact the planet? In several years time,
Earth Simulator will begin providing answers.
|The ways government, industry and private individuals tackle environmental issues may differ, but all nonetheless tend to share a common awareness ofthe need for a sea change in society from the mass production, mass consumption, and mass trashing of the 20th century to a sustainable,closed-loop society. One thing is clearthe environmental problems facing mankind today will not be resolved unless each and every individual and organization, both public and private, plays an active role.|
|Removing Barriers with Information Technology||Technological innovation has helped humankind overcome many barriers. The invention of the steam engine is a good example: for starters, it removed barriers to increasing production capacity. Another is the invention of the automobile, which eliminated barriers of distance and speed of movement. And now, information technology (IT) is in the process of pushing aside other barriers that hinder human endeavor.|
|Passing on the Heritage of Mankind||We are now living in a new century, one that is the product of generation upon generation of human endeavor. Most things on the surface of this Earth, however, are destined to perish if left untended. For example, the habitats of animal and plant species have been destroyed by degradation of the natural environment, and buildings. And For such reasons, we need to treat the heritage of mankind with respect, and to protect it and restore it as occasion demands.|
|The Rising Tide of Volunteer Work||Volunteer work is flourishing in many fields, from social welfare to sports and environmental conservation. The year 2001 is the International Year of the Volunteer. Volunteer work, arising from the spirit of public service and the will to help others, should contribute to world peace as it takes root in communities worldwide, transcending ethnic, national, and political boundaries.|
|The Modern Body:
Have You Noticed the Changes?
|How healthily we can lead our lives is a matter of major interest to people throughout the world, and it is that interest which first prompted the World Health Organization to announce its "healthy life expectancy" rankings. Japan came out on the top of this new index, but it needs to be wary of resting on its laurels. The Japanese physique has in recent years undergone dramatic changes, the likes of which have rarely been matched in the history of mankind. In this article we take a look at the factors which have prompted this "revolution of the body", and its significance for present day Japan, and the world at large.|
|A Story of Currency in Japan||In July 2000, the Japanese government issued its first ¥2,000 bill. Currency, particularly paper money, is said to reflect the culture and society of the issuing nation. Supposing this is true, what does the new ¥2,000 bill say about today's Japan? Le's take a look at the latest counterfeit deterrence measures incorporated into the new ¥2,000 bill, Internet banking, and other recent changes involving money in Japan.|
|Ever-Evolving Shinkansen: Japan's Bullet Train Embodies World-Renowned Technologies||Shinkansen high-speed rail service started 36 years ago, attracting attention from around the world. Since then, the network has been extended both east and west, the cars have been significantly improved, and major advances have been achieved in diverse areas from traffic control, safety and service, to environmental performance. In this article, we examine the course of these innovations and the large-scale, high-tech systems behind the acclaimed Shinkansen network.|
|The 21st Century, the Age of the Senior Citizen Aiming for a More Prosperous Life||Japan's society is aging faster than any nation in the world and maintains an extremely low birth rate. The demography of its society has put it in the ranks with the advanced nations of the US and Europe.
As the silver set accounts for a larger portion of Japan's society, there is a rising concern about higher medical and welfare costs. Yet there are those who view this age group as being full of energy and a key factor in supporting Japanese society. They are a healthy group and look forward to getting the most out of their "second life" which gives meaning to their life. As one aspect of Japanese life in the 21st century, let's examine "Japan & its aging society."
|Seeking Adventure in the Great Earth: Mining in Japan||There is a saying: "Mining is the mother of technology." Indeed, Watt's steam locomotive, the driving force of the industrial revolution in Great Britain, was invented to fill the need for a power source for draining mines. Japan too, was once a world-class producer of nonferrous metal resources. The technology developed in the mines supported industry and livelihoods at various times throughout the country's history and, today, is proving its worth overseas.|
|Technical Innovation Expands
the World of Silk
|From antiquity, silk, the "queen of textiles", has been widely used by people around the world. In the past, silk supported Japan's modernization as its key industry, but today the industry has been transformed. This article explores the new "World of Silk" that developed from a delicate single thread produced by a small insect.|
|Akashi Kaikyo Bridge and Advanced Technology:Dream Becomes Reality in the World's Longest Suspension Bridge||As a charming complement to a beautiful coastal landscape, the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge's completionafter 10 years of constructionhas fulfilled a dream held by many people since the first feasibility studies started some 40 years ago. This huge structure, which spans the four-kilometer breadth of the Akashi Strait ("Akashi Kaikyo"), has stretched the lim-its of 20th century architectural achievement. Japan is proud to introduce to the world the technology that underpins this great suspen-sion bridge, which has paved the way for a new flow of people, goods, and culture.|