05 October 2005

Cool Japanese tech...

Here are a few things we saw at the Panasonic Centre and National Centre showcases (in case you've already forgot, National and Panasonic are both under Matsushita Electic). But before we begin, let me just say that I've come to a couple of conclusions:

1. The Japanese like really big LCD/Plasma screens.
2. They have the best kitchens in the world.
3. They are able to make the simplest objects in your house incredibly over-complicated by sheer over-engineering.

Ok, now we'll begin...

Exhibit A: Lazy person's shower

Now this is a rather cool, but utterly pointless device - unless you can't stand, of course. Basically, you just sit there while an army of nozzles spray water all over your body. Now, if only they had some artifical hands come out to rub your back or cleaned the back of your ears.

Exhibit B: Electronic book

I like this - a simple, barebones twin monochrome LCD device that folds open like a book, and shows both text and images stored on an SD card. It's got a cool bookshelf interface too, for sorting and accessing large numbers of e-books. The battery life is quite good too, apparently.

Electronic manga! Yay!

Exhibit C: Super space saving integrated kitchen

Does exactly what it says on the box. It may not look like it, but there's actually a dish washer and a whole bunch of specialised storage areas in that little kitchen wall. It's even got a clever basket-like pull-down mechanism for accessing objects stored in the upper cupboards.

It's ergonomic too, with easy-to-clean drawers / doors and panels which leave room for your knees and feet, so you can press yourself right up to it - important for Japanese homes where space is a luxury. Mind you, this kitchen set-up costs more than an arm and a leg (around US$15k).

Exhibit D: Home of the future

As with every other electronics giant in Japan, Panasonic has its own vision of what the future would be like. According to them, we'll all have huge LCD / Plasma screens and strange Minority Report hand-waving user interfaces. The weirdest of the lot was this device which lets you select a 'mood' while you sleep - Simply select your desired 'emotion' in your home's centralised computer (Figure 1.1) and lie on the oddly shaped bed (Figure 1.2).

Figure 1.1

Figure 1.2

A series of psychedlic colours and patterns will appear on the LCD projection above your head while ambient sound effects play gently in the background.

Now, I'm sure people will most likely choose 'Relaxing' or 'Refreshing' after a long days' work - but I bet that most people would be using this technology for other naughtier emotions. Possibly with a companion of the opposite gender tucked in as well.


Exhibit E: Fake horse / exercise thingy

Now this is completely bizzare. Basically, you sit on a saddle which - at the push of a button - rocks forwards/backwards, up/down and sideways, mimmicking the movements that you'd feel if you were riding a horse. Apparently, research has shown that it really tones your tummy and arse. I gave it a try, and it does require quite a bit of muscle-work - especially if you have it in 'fast'.

The downside, of course, is that you look like you're shagging your office chair.


Anonymous said...

ok its almost 3am and i still can't sleep... hence the pocketpc in bed and a rather awkward sideways browsing experience. neways... your comments on sushi reminded me of the really good stuff i had there... it just doesn't taste the same anywhere else once u've been spoilt by the real thing. -max

Chris Chong said...

Guess what I had for dinner... ^_^

Max said...

Once, i tried to get a late night snack from one of those vending machines. And surprise surprise... I can say I won't be trying it again.

I think late nights are best spent in a bar on the top floor of those skyscraper hotels... panaromic view across tokyo and good sake to go with it..mmmmmm.