For our weekend list, we’ve compiled the “Top 10 Strangest Japanese Gadgets and Accessories” for your enjoyment. Which ones are your favorites?
10. Vibrating Optical Mouse
This device not only acts as a fully functional optical mouse, it also includes a built-in vibration motor for stress relief. Available in white or silver colors, this mouse features USB connectivity and is priced at $22.
It’s also only compatible with Windows, so Mac and Linux users will have to find another way to combine the dionysian pleasures of vibration and gadgets.
9. The Sauce Dispensing Chopsticks
With these sauce dispensing chopsticks you’ll never have to dip your sushi in soy sauce again For $21, you can purchsae two pairs of these chopsticks — made from polypropylene and ABS. [Source]
8. Cardboard Speakers
MUJI (best known in Japan for their innovative yet simple products) introducesa new line of cardboard speakers, which consist of “a few” electronic components and ship unfolded in a clear plastic pouch — so fold them up and they’re ready to use. [Source]
7. The Head Bath Cap
If you’ve been waiting for a cap that gives your head/hair a good bath than the solution is here. Presenting the “Head Bath” cap, just place it over your head and let water start running into it. This gadget not only looks funny, but supposedly “helps your hair grow faster and fuller” by penetrating the pores in your scalp with the trapped water. [Source]
6. Ear Wax Camera/Cleaner
Put simply, this is one of the strangest gadgets we’ve come across. This device sports a camera/light at one end and a viewer at the other end — allowing users to see built-up ear wax. It’s powered by a single 9V battery and is made from anti-bacterial ASB resin/glass/stainless steel.
Though it’s not really a common topic of dinner conversation in the States — “Who’s been cleaning your ears at Yale, Son?” — the Japanese have a certain fondness for the act of ear cleaning.
5. Nap Alarm
This nifty little device goes behind your ear and vibrates when it detects you are falling asleep by measuring the speed of head movements (head nodding, etc.). Perfect for boring classes, drives, and work. It costs only $15 (1,800 yen).
“With the Nap Alarm, waking up 15 minutes before said exam may be a thing of the past, though falling asleep while driving is another matter entirely.”
4. Futuristic Japanese Automatic Door
This nifty door has a built-in infrared sensor that identifies the person or object and conforms to their shape when opening.
3. Japanese Air-Shower System
This Japanese air-shower system is situated in a 2 m (tall) x 90 cm (wide) chamber and uses 12 nozzles to blow off any allergens (pollen and dust) found on the body/clothes.
“The person who came up with the idea to place the air-shower in the building suffers from hay fever. The company is now considering the possibility of developing another housing complex equipped with the air-shower system.”
2. MP3 Toilet
Technically, it’s not a stand alone MP3 player, but rather one that works with your toilet. This SD memory based player attaches to the wall above your toilet and includes a special receiver that goes under the toilet seat — how sanitary. [Source]
1. Robot Hand Controlled by Human Thought
Honda Research Institute Japan and Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International (ATR) have partnered to develop a robot hand that uses “functional magnetic resonance imaging to scan a person’s brain” and then maps the scans to hand actions.
Though the scientists say they need “several breakthroughs in related technologies, including those for brain scanning hardware, before this type of non-invasive systems will be used in daily life”, this provides hope for amputees to someday have a mechanical limb that works as well as their original one.
Honorable Mention – Remocon Saucer
If you like the idea of using one device to control your home appliances while away from home, check out this nifty Japanese gadget called the Remocon Saucer. A potential negative, the Remocon needs its own cell phone to function. Once connected, you’re able to dial-in and have it carry out predefined commands like turning on/off the TV, etc.
The connection between the Remocon Saucer and FOMA handset is done via earphone mic jack. The handsets that can be connected are the P901i, P901iS, P700i, P701iD, P902i, N901iC, N901iS, N700i, N701i, N902i, Nevica-F, and AirView 2
Honorable Mention – USB Flash Drives With Manga
If you like reading “Cyborg 009,” “Kouchounin Mippei.,” and/or “Oni Tarou Collection” Japanese manga, than your’e in luck. Buffalo Corp. Japan is releasing 256MB USB flash drives called “WebClipDrive” that come preloaded with electronic versions of these comics. They measure 70.6 x 16.6 x 9.4 mm and priced at $26 USD.
Using the USB memory’s auto-run function, users can access an electronic book site created specifically for the RUF-CAR-EB series. To view the free contents, users will need to register as an eBookJapan user and obtain the viewing software. These free contents are supported under Windows Me, 2000, and XP