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Smartphones control smart homes at Asian tech fair

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Homes where every device is linked up and can be controlled by smartphone were touted in Japan on Tuesday when Asia’s biggest tech fair threw open its doors.

Manufacturers said more and more items — from ovens to cars — were now able to integrate thanks to better wireless technology, offering convenience and the chance to save energy.

More than 600 companies are showcasing cutting-edge gadgetry at this year’s Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies (CEATEC) in Makuhari, near Tokyo.

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One of the highlights is “smart innovation” which connects home appliances — from washing machines and air conditioners to security cameras at the door — to mobile devices.

“You will soon be able to use your smartphone or tablet PC as if it is a remote control for all these appliances,” said Shuji Tomaru of Japanese mobile phone carrier NTT DoCoMo.

“If somebody tries to break into your house, you would immediately know because your phone will receive the information.”

Residents, he said, could also use their phone to switch on the air conditioner before they return home or to turn on a washing machine.

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Panasonic, which has already unveiled rice cookers and washing machines that can be controlled from a mobile phone, was Tuesday demonstrating bathroom scales and blood pressure-measuring devices connected to the Internet.

Masaki Matsukura at the company’s booth said that in ageing Japan, where grown children often live far from their parents, these devices can provide reassurance.

“They can be used when you want to check on your father’s health condition, for example,” he said. “You can see the medical data whenever he measures his blood pressure, no matter where you live.”

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Japanese car giant Toyota used its first appearance at CEATEC to show off its new Smart Insect car.

These small electric vehicles can recognise their driver and can be programmed only to operate if they know the person behind the wheel.

And in a move apeing the gestures that are becoming increasingly familiar as the use of tablet computers spreads, the car will do things like open its door at the wave of an arm.

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“The Smart Insect is a car which can communicate with you, your home and society,” said Toyota’s Shigeki Tomoyama.

“You can tell it what you want by making gestures, and the car understands you and will adapt to your personal style.

“We like to think of it as a well-trained pet or a friend who understands you very well.”

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CEATEC runs until Saturday.

[Image via Agence France-Presse]


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‘The wheels are coming off’: MSNBC panel says Trump told his chief of staff to ‘walk the plank’

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Two MSNBC anchors discussed Thursday's whirlwind day of breaking news in scandals involving President Donald Trump.

The host of "The Rachel Maddow Show" joined Brian Williams on "The 11th Hour" to discuss Trump holding the G7 Summit at his Trump National Doral Miami golf course and the White House acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, confessing that there was a quid pro quo with Ukraine -- before attempting to walk back his confession.

"Did things change today, do you think?" Williams asked.

"I do feel like the wheels are coming off," Maddow said.

"For the Energy Secretary [Rick Perry] to resign, you've had two cabinet secretaries resign during the impeachment proceedings already, one of whom, the current one resigning tonight, the Energy Secretary, does appear to be involved in the scheme, at least on a couple of different levels. We have got the White House Chief of Staff who was sent out today, not only to make the, 'Yes, it was quid pro quo. Yes, we did it. What are you going to make of it?' article -- which was bracing, but then to take it back, simultaneously announcing this self-dealing, which is something more blatant than we’ve ever seen from any president in U.S. history," she explained.

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Rick Wilson rips Trump for holding G7 meeting at his ‘South Florida House of Bed Bugs Hotel’

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Republican strategist Rick Willson blasted President Donald Trump after the administration announced that the G7 meeting of world leaders would be held at his Trump National Doral Miami golf course.

Chief of staff and Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney announced the severely under-performing resort would receive the lucrative contract during a contentious White House briefing.

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2020 Election

Trump impersonated a CNN anchor — and a US president — during epic meltdown at Texas speech

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President Donald Trump offered multiple impersonations during a campaign rally in Dallas, Texas on Thursday.

Trump showed the crowd his impersonation of a president of the United States -- and a CNN anchor.

"No guns. No religion. No oil. No natural gas," Trump said. "Abraham Lincoln could not win Texas under those circumstances. Couldn’t do it."

In fact, Abraham Lincoln could not win Texas when he ran for president as the state refused to print any ballots with his name.

He then showed the audience two impersonations as part of his 87-minute speech.

"I used it to say, I can be more presidential. Look," Trump said, as he shuffled awkwardly on stage.

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