gadgets

Mr. Sato takes a stroll in his USB Pollen Blocker: “Felt great but it was a struggle to order coffee”

Mr. Sato takes a stroll in his USB Pollen Blocker: “Felt great but it was a struggle to order coffee”

A few days ago we brought word of a revolutionary hay fever remedy from the folks at Thanko. Harnessing the mighty power of nylon and universal serial bus ports, the USB Pollen Blocker may be our savior for this impending allergy season in Japan.

To be sure, we picked one up in Akihabara and gave it to our resident ace-reporting guinea-pig Mr. Sato for a road test. Did it cure him of his seasonal sniffles or did it simply make him look like an demented bee-keeper on the streets of Tokyo? The following is his report.

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Go back to the 70s and 80s with a retro iRecorder for your iPhone

Go back to the 70s and 80s with a retro iRecorder for your iPhone

There’s no denying that smartphones are awesome. They can send messages, let you browse the web, take photos and play thousands of songs, all while fitting into your pocket, ready to be used anytime, anywhere. But for some of us, none of that convenience can compare to the fun of fitting a cassette tape into a cassette player and pressing play.

Now there’s a gadget that lets us have the best of both worlds: the joy of thousands of songs combined with the lost art of old-school push button technology. Now that fluoro’s back in fashion, there’s never been a better time to pull on those leg warmers, download some Madonna circa 1985 and experience music the way it used to be.

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Shiver no more! Gadget manufacturer brings classic Japanese winter warmer to the workplace

Shiver no more! Gadget manufacturer brings classic Japanese winter warmer to the workplace

The kotatsu–a low table with a heating element built into its underside and a quilt to keep the warmth in–is considered something of a national treasure here in Japan. With earthquakes in mind, Japanese homes are usually built from light materials and lack the kind of central heating that most Westerners are accustomed to, so it’s no surprise to find people either sitting at or dozing under one of these little tables until spring comes around.

During the working week, however, people are forced to abandon their tiny heat caves and spend hours at desks inside poorly-insulated municipal buildings, decades-old schools and single-glazed offices. Many employees plaster themselves with kairo heat pads or cover their laps with thick blankets in an effort to keep the feeling in their toes, but few would ever claim to be comfortable at work even having taken these measures.

But no more! Japanese gadget kings Sanwa Direct have come up with a tiny, portable kotatsu-like heating panel that attaches to the underside of any desk, promising toasty-warm laps all day long!

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Latest chitchat technology pairs your smartphone with your home phone for ultra-convenient use

Latest chitchat technology pairs your smartphone with your home phone for ultra-convenient use

Panasonic announces the release of a digital cordless phone, VE-GDW03DL, which allows the use of a smartphone as a sub-handset over a wireless internet connection. The domestic chat device is set to hit stores on 14 November, and has an open price tag.

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China’s latest smartphone pushes the boundaries of innovation with its direct plug-in connectivity

China’s latest smartphone pushes the boundaries of innovation with its direct plug-in connectivity

Smartphones on the market today allow users to do all sorts of things that would have otherwise been unimaginable even a decade ago. You can listen to music while surfing the net or writing an email, watch movies, get live weather reports, and let’s not forget the phone’s original purpose of talking to people.

The bane of the average smartphone user’s life, however, is their device’s short battery life. And anyone looking to save their beloved device from a sudden black screen of death has to either cut down on the heavy-duty apps or carry a charging cable or battery charging unit with them. But what if we told you that you could cut out the middle man and attach your phone directly to the power outlet whenever and wherever you were?

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Update Your iPhone With a Kissing Case!

Update Your iPhone With a Kissing Case!

Forget showing your love with matching tattoos and his ‘n hers pendants; romance in the digital age is all about texts, video calls and saucy photos. So it makes all kinds of sense to show the world your devotion with a set of kissing covers for the iPhone 5. Couples, it’s time to throw those matching T-shirts away and save your friends the embarrassment with – wait, possibly more embarrassment than ever before.

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A Revolutionary New Gadget for Generating Electricity at Home. Bathe Daily for Best Results

A Revolutionary New Gadget for Generating Electricity at Home. Bathe Daily for Best Results

Scientist of late have become quite obsessed the finding cleaner and more effective ways of harnessing energy. After witnessing the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant and seeing the killer smog that settled over China, it’s clear why! Making a move towards more solar and wind power is an idea that gains more support with every passing year. Now, Nakano Seisakusho, a development and manufacturing company in Kanagawa Prefecture, has created a way for the average household to harness its own electrical power, simply by turning on their faucets. For now, they’re calling it the Liquid Motor. Read More

Sonic Hour: A Perfect Head of Beer at the Touch of a Button!

Sonic Hour: A Perfect Head of Beer at the Touch of a Button!

On April 25, Takara Tomy A.R.T.S will release the “Sonic Hour”, the latest addition to their “Beer Hour” series of foaming products. Hour is a play on the Japanese word awa, meaning foam, or head of beer, and that’s exactly what this gadget delivers to the top of your glass. Retailing for 3,990 yen (US$40), this little portable device creates superfine bubbles in any type of beer, guaranteeing a smooth, creamy head every time. Even if the Japanese do prefer their beer with an enormous amount of head sometimes…

The secret to the sonic foam is ultrasonic oscillation. Simply put your glass of beer on the tray, press the button and the ultrasonic vibrations disperse evenly at the bottom of the beer glass, creating a gush of bubbles that rise and form the perfect head in an instant. And if that’s not entertaining enough, it also comes equipped with an eight-colour LED light-up display. To see it in action, check out the video after the jump.

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Japanese Super Mario Fans’ Most Wished-For iPhone Accessory

Japanese Super Mario Fans’ Most Wished-For iPhone Accessory

With almost 40 percent of mobile phones in Japan now smart phones, people are constantly striving to find new ways to jazz up their iPhones and Android devices. As we’ve seen over the last few weeks here on RocketNews24, the popularity of character-based earphone jack plugs continues to rise, with even Disney hoping to cash in on the trend. The imaginative video game lovers over at Japan’s Gold Rush, however, have something better in mind.

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Edible iPhone 5 Case Made From Rice Cracker Protects Your Life but not Your iPhone

Edible iPhone 5 Case Made From Rice Cracker Protects Your Life but not Your iPhone

On the eve of a large-scale natural disaster, preparedness is everything. Sure smartphones can keep us in contact with the rest of world when traditional communication networks are down, but Twitter won’t help you much when food supplies start running low.

That’s where the “Survival Senbei iPhone 5 Case” comes in. This special case is made entirely from Japanese brown rice and salt, baked into a crispy golden-brown senbei rice cracker that fits snugly around your iPhone 5.

An iPhone that you can eat in times of crisis: this must be the future that Steve Jobs envisioned for the device! You just might want to avoid walking around with it your pocket…

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A gadget that turns your iPhone into a martial arts weapon? Well, not quite, but you’ll be able to swing your phone around like a nunchaku!

A gadget that turns your iPhone into a martial arts weapon? Well, not quite, but you’ll be able to swing your phone around like a nunchaku!

Have you ever had the urge to flip and swing around your iPhone and make it look cool like you’re a martial arts expert using a nunchaku? Well, this little gadget called the “iPhone Trick Cover” let’s you do just that, and judging from the manufacturer’s demonstration video, it looks like it may be a lot of fun! Read More

Eraser-Sized Retro Camera Perfect for the Discreet Photographer or Hipster Smurf

Eraser-Sized Retro Camera Perfect for the Discreet Photographer or Hipster Smurf

Japanese retailer JTT seems to be trying to cover all the bases with its CHOBi CAM series of fully-functional, itty bitty cameras. In addition to their standard model, they’ve put out a tiny water-proof camera, a tiny video recorder and even a tiny DSLR (well, in appearance only).

On March 16, the company announced their next camera, the “CHOBi CAM retro with magnet,” which went on sale the same for 3980 yen (US $47.50).

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