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In a twist on conventional charging for electric cars, Nissan has developed a system that allows a vehicle to supply electricity to power a house. A prototype of the system, which is due out before April 2012, is already on show in Japan.

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This is "RIBA-II," a robot designed to help with the tough task of lifting patients from their futon matress into a wheelchair. It was developed by RIKEN, a Japanese government-run research body that surveyed nursing homes to find that lifting patients was the most tiring thing for workers - and they do it an average of 40 times each day.