Japanese technology: “the legacy of the future”

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The National Museum of Nature and Science strives to pass on important technological knowledge to future generations and annually registers new objects that have had a great influence on the history of technology and everyday life, adding them to the list of “Technological Heritage of the Future”. In this article, we will introduce you to the most famous sites on this list and tell you about Japan as a country of advanced technology.

Future Technological Heritage is the informal name for Critical Science Technology Materials, which is selected for the study of industrial technologies of great historical importance. The collection of such materials is handled by the National Museum of Nature and Science, which seeks to thus preserve the legacy of Japanese technology for the future. At the same time, great importance is attached not only to the importance of objects for the history of the development of scientific technologies, but also to the influence they have had on everyday life, society and culture.

The National Museum of Nature and Science’s Selection Information Center for Manufacturing Technology History conducts two types of research:

1) Comprehensively researches materials on the history of production technologies;

2) Having identified a narrow area of ​​technology, veteran engineers engaged in real developments in specific technological areas conduct a final study of the genealogy in the history of technology development.

After that, the investigated objects are discussed at the meetings of the Commission of the Center and the commission of invited experts, after which they are included in the list of “Technological heritage of the future”.

There are now 225 sites on the Future Technological Legacy list, and we will present a few that reflect the specifics of Japanese industrial technology.


The world’s first Japanese technology innovations

The first high performance VHF antenna. At that time, long, medium and short wavelengths were used for communication, followed by the development of VHF and decimeter wave technologies. Abroad, earlier than in Japan, the capabilities of the antenna were assessed, and during the Second World War they were used by the Allied forces. Now in Japan and around the world, television antennas of this type are used very widely (photo courtesy of the National Museum of Nature and Science)

No. 00150 Lamp for color photography of the stomach wall

The world’s first electric lamp designed for color photography of the stomach walls. Created in 1954. At that time, color photographic films had low sensitivity and required good lighting, and powerful lamps gave off a lot of heat and had a negative effect on the walls of the stomach. To avoid this, the lamp was made multilayer, and two lamps of different wattage were installed in the cylindrical body. During the manufacture, they took care of the color temperature in order to obtain high-quality photographs, and so that the lamp does not burn out during use. Endoscopes began to be used for medical examinations when it became possible to obtain high-quality color photographs of the stomach (photo courtesy of the National Museum of Nature and Science)

No. 00121 Calculator CASIO SL-800

The thinnest calculator in the world. With a thickness of 0.8 mm, it is still the thinnest, and embodies the idea of ​​miniaturization brought to perfection. This minimum thickness is achieved through the use of integrated circuits with a thickness of 0.5 mm, a liquid crystal screen of 0.55 mm, solar cells of 0.2 mm and other components mounted on a flexible plate. When the calculators went on sale in 1983, they cost 5,900 yen

Technologies that changed Japanese society

It is a multifunctional robot widely used due to its low cost. Created in 1977. The positional controlled robot has five degrees of freedom, uses a cylindrical coordinate system, DC servo motors and pneumatic control cylinders. Their use subsequently led to a significant increase in labor productivity in Japan, which is now known as a country with automated production. (photo courtesy of FANUC)

No. 00185 Entertainment robot AIBO ERS-110

The AIBO ERS-110 is the first model of the world’s first commercially produced and marketed autonomous robot for home use and living with humans. Created in 1999. He can mimic emotions and communicate with people, learn to act and “grow up.” Such robots are no longer available, but they still interact with humans, as shown, for example, by the holding of funeral services for robotic dogs in 2016. (photo courtesy of SONY)

No. 00045 1st carriage of the high-speed passenger train shinkansen series 0 of the Hokkaido shinkansen line

The first model of the Shinkansen train put into series production, which has become synonymous with high-speed rail. For the Hokkaido Shinkansen line, launched on October 1, 1964, special technologies were developed, it did not intersect with existing tracks, it had a different track width of 1435 mm, a centralized traffic control system, a system of protection and inspection of the condition of the track, which ensured a high level of safety and trust with side of passengers