The 11 oddest gadgets we saw at the Ceatec tech show in Tokyo

From phone-controlled dinosaurs to sign-language speaking androids, here are the most out-there new technologies we saw at Ceatec 2014.


Sandwiched between the IFA and CES electronics trade shows, Japan's Ceatec is fighting to stay relevant. But while the number of vendors at this year's Ceatec was down to 547 from 587 last year, with the notable absence of Sony, there was no shortage of unusual sights and exhibits.

From sign-language androids to smartphone-controlled dinosaurs and table tennis robots, here's a look at the quirky site of the technology expo just outside of Tokyo.

Here, a tablet-wielding parody of the famous Manneken Pis statue in Brussels stands atop a mockup of a hydrogen-powered car at Honda's booth at the Ceatec 2014 tech expo outside Tokyo (nope, us neither).

This smartphone-controlled robot dinosaur from TE Connectivity drew a lot of eyeballs at the Ceatec 2014 trade show outside Tokyo this week.


This odd mashup of technologies delivers mild electric shocks to the wearer in time with the music. The controller is normally used with a massage chair and alters the intensity of the shocks. It requires some trust in the person operating the controller.

It was shown by a student who won a prize for it in a hacking contest. We’re not really sure what the purpose is.

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A member of Tokyo-based Skeletonics, a startup established by graduates of Okinawa National of College of Technology, shows off an imposing robotic exoskeleton at Ceatec 2014 outside the Japanese capital. While it doesn't give users a strength boost, it can increase their cool factor.


We're not quite sure why this physical android developed by Toshiba to serve as a sign-language interpreter is supposed to be better than on-screen avatar systems.


How many engineers does it take to build a dancing robot? A team from Murata make last-minute adjustments in preparation for a performance by the company’s robotic cheerleading squad.

Built to show off the company’s sensors, they balance on rotating balls and dance in formation

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A model shows off lettuce grown in a Toshiba clean room. The company aims to grow 3 million bags of leaf lettuce, baby leaf greens, spinach, mizuna and herbs per year using clean-room technology.


A ping pong robot developed by Omron takes on a human competitor. The machine is designed to sustain rallies instead of beating its opponents.


Honda staffers show off the Segway-like Uni-Cub personal mobility device. Unveiled in 2012, the Uni-Cub was making its Ceatec debut.

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A student from Keio University demonstrates a robotic message machine at the Ceatec 2014 tech expo outside Tokyo. The Linux PC-based contraption has 12 motors for "telehaptics" functionality.

Users can manipulate the back massager with their hands or it can be controlled by remote masseuse.


Inventor Michinobu Uda performs The Entertainer on an instrument he created which he calls the Udar. Connected to an amplifier, it produces a soft, flute-like sound when Uda pushes various points along a tube coiled around a handheld cylinder.