Highlights of the story
Innovative Japanese wearables include the Archelis, a “standing” chair designed for surgeons.
Tokyo’s first wearables expo debuted in 2015 and is the largest expo in the world.
Japan’s wearable technology market is predicted to grow from 530,000 units in 2013 to 13.1 million units in 2017.
What do Discman, Tamagotchi and Game Boy have in common?
All are landmark Japanese inventions from the 80s and 90s, symbols of the era when the Asian nation led the world in technological innovation.
But with the rise of Silicon Valley and American tech giants like Google and Apple, Japan has seen less of the production of era-defining technology over the past two decades.
Professor Masahiko Tsukamoto, Kobe University Graduate School of Engineering, says that is about to change thanks to a new generation of young entrepreneurs, a rise in international cooperation and new partnerships with entrepreneurs. university science.
The Japanese focus this time is not smartphones or gaming but wearable chairs, smart glasses and communication devices for dogs.
In short, wearable technology is weird.
According to Yano Research Institute, in 2013, Japan sold 530,000 wearable technology devices.
This number is predicted to skyrocket to 13.1 million units in 2017.
Perhaps the best sign of a boom in the industry was the launch of the first Wearables Expo in Tokyo in 2015. – at launch, it was the largest wearable technology fair in the world with 103 exhibitors.
It features electronic kimonos, cat communication devices, and electronic gloves for recording the pianist’s fingerwork.
At the next exhibition, from January 18 to 20, 2017, the organizers expect more than 200 exhibitors and 19,000 visitors.
“With better functionality, lighter components and a smaller design, wearing a device is no longer a fantasy,” said program director Yuhi Maezono. “Wearable devices are gaining traction as the next big growth market.”
The Inupathy is a dog harness slated to launch later this year to allow pet owners to communicate with their dogs.
As with heart monitors, harnesses with noise-cancelling technology can isolate an animal’s heart rate and monitor its response to stimuli, such as food, games, people, and toys .
With this data, the harness assesses the dog’s mood and changes color to notify the owner.
Equipped with six LED lights, the collar glows in blue for calm, red for excitement, and displays a rainbow theme for happiness.
Joji Yamaguchi, CEO of Inupathy, drew inspiration from his Corgi dog, Akane, who was a nervous puppy. To better understand the dog’s anxiety, the biologist developed Inupathy to monitor its heart rate.
Yamaguchi said, “I always felt like I couldn’t get to know Akane very well and I wanted to get closer to him.
“Buddhism and the old religion of Japan say that every animal, plant, and even stone has a soul within. It’s stressful when you can’t deal with the issues that are bothering them.”
Yamaguchi hopes the wearable health monitoring feature will also have applications for humans.
“Personalization, artificial intelligence will be a game changer,” said Yamaguchi.
“For example, if you exhibit a certain behavior before you start to feel depressed, it is extremely valuable to an individual to predict your depression from that behavior. An AI that works personally for you will eventually make this a reality. ”
Archelis – a wearable chair that debuted in Japan this year – is also making a splash around the world.
A collaboration between Nitto mold factory, Chiba University, Japan Polymer Technology and Hiroaki Nishimura Design, in Japan, it was originally designed with surgeons in mind, who needed to rest their feet during surgery. long art.
The chair allows the user to sit down and stand up at the same time.
Dr Hiroshi Kawahira, the surgeon behind the concept, said: “The Archelis concept is very simple, like the simplicity of a Columbus egg. “Long surgeries can lead to back pain, neck pain and knee pain – especially for older surgeons.”
Made with 3D printed panels, Archelis doesn’t require any electrical parts or batteries.
The innovation lies in the efficient design: flexible carbon panels wrap around the buttocks, legs and feet for support and minimize pressure on the joints.
The system stabilizes the ankles and knees, so the pressure from standing up is spread evenly across the shins and thighs.
Although the wearer appears to be standing, they are in fact resting their back and legs when working on their feet.
Other wearable devices are on the smaller side.
Measuring about 3 inches long, the BIRD is essentially a modern pipe that turns the tip of your finger into a magic wand.
Using algorithms to decode user intent, the device also features precise sensors that track direction, speed, and gestures.
This technology allows users to turn any surface into a smart display, as well as interact with other smart devices.
Wandering around at home, users can project their laptop screen onto the wall, turn on the coffee maker, read on any surface, and shop online with the pointer or swipe of a finger.
The developers – Israel-based MUV Interactive and Japan’s Silicon Technology – expect BIRD to be embraced by the education and corporate sectors, thanks to its ability to create collaborative presentations.
https://www.cnn.com/2016/11/09/asia/on-japan—wearable-tech/index.html What if you could wear a chair?