Can you find any similarities between Discman, Tamagotchi, and Game Boy?
These are all significant Japanese creations from the 1980s and 1990s, representing a time when Japan was at the forefront of technological advancement globally.
However, the emergence of Silicon Valley and major American tech companies like Google and Apple has led to a decline in Japan’s production of groundbreaking technology in the last 20 years.
According to Professor Masahiko Tsukamoto from Kobe University’s Graduate School of Engineering, there is a shift underway due to a group of innovative young entrepreneurs, an increase in global partnerships, and new collaborations with university researchers.
This time, Japan’s attention is not on smartphones or gaming, but rather on wearable chairs, smart glasses, and devices for communicating with dogs.
Simply put, unconventional wearable technology.
Technology that can be worn in Japan.
According to Yano Research Institute, Japan sold 530,000 units of wearable tech devices in 2013.
It is expected that the number will increase significantly to 13.1 million units in 2017.
In 2015, Tokyo’s first Wearable Expo was introduced and it became the largest fair for wearable technology with 103 exhibitors, a clear indication of the industry’s growth.
The items showcased include high-tech kimonos, devices for communicating with cats, and electronic gloves for recording a pianist’s finger movements.
At the upcoming event, taking place from January 18th to 20th in 2017, the event coordinators anticipate a turnout of over 200 vendors and 19,000 attendees.
According to Yuhi Maezono, director of the show, wearing devices has become a reality due to improved functionality, lighter components, and smaller designs. Wearables are now receiving significant attention as a rapidly growing market.
The dog whisperer
Inupathy is a canine harness set to debut later this year, enabling pet guardians to interact with their furry companions.
The harness includes both a heart monitor and noise-canceling technology that can detect the animal’s heartbeat and monitor its response to various stimuli, including food, games, people, and toys.
The harness uses this information to evaluate a dog’s mood and alters its color to notify the owners.
The collar has six LED lights that emit a blue glow to indicate calmness, a red glow for excitement, and a rainbow theme for happiness.
Joji Yamaguchi, the founder and chief executive officer of Inupathy, drew inspiration from his Corgi, Akane, who was a timid puppy. In order to gain a deeper understanding of his dog’s anxiety, the biologist created Inupathy, a device that tracks the dog’s heart rate.
“I have always struggled to understand Akane, and I desired to become closer to him,” stated Yamaguchi.
According to Buddhism and ancient Japanese beliefs, all beings, including animals, plants, and even rocks, possess a spiritual essence. It can be challenging when one is unable to resolve issues that are causing distress to these entities.
Yamaguchi anticipates that wearable devices for monitoring wellness will also have practical uses for humans.
According to Yamaguchi, the customization of artificial intelligence will have a significant impact.
An individual’s behavior before experiencing depression can be a significant predictor of their future depression. Having an AI that is tailored to you can greatly assist in this prediction process.
A real life-saver
The debut of Archelis, a wearable chair from Japan this year, has gained global attention.
A partnership between Nitto mold factory, Chiba University, Japan Polymer Technology, and Hiroaki Nishimura Design in Japan was originally created for surgeons who require leg rest during extended surgeries.
The chair allows the user to easily both sit and stand simultaneously.
According to Dr. Hiroshi Kawahira, the creator of the Archelis concept, it is as straightforward as Columbus’ egg. He explains that prolonged surgeries can lead to discomfort in the back, neck, and knees, especially for older surgeons.
Constructed using 3D-printed panels, Archelis operates without the need for electrical components or batteries.
The design of this innovation is its key feature. It incorporates flexible carbon panels that wrap around the buttocks, legs, and feet to offer support and reduce pressure on joints.
The system helps to support the ankles and knees, distributing the weight evenly across the shins and thighs while standing.
The person wearing the item seems to be standing, but they are actually taking pressure off their back and legs while working on their feet.
Some other wearables come in smaller sizes.
Approximately 3 inches in length, BIRD is essentially a contemporary thimble that transforms your fingertip into a magical wand.
The device utilizes algorithms to interpret a user’s intention and is equipped with accurate sensors that monitor direction, velocity, and movements.
Users can utilize the technology to transform any surface into a functioning smart screen and also communicate with other smart devices.
At home, users have the ability to project their laptop screen onto a wall, activate a coffee machine, read on any surface, and make online purchases with a simple finger movement.
The creators of BIRD, MUV Interactive from Israel and Silicon Technology from Japan, anticipate its adoption in the education and corporate fields due to its capability to generate collaborative presentations.