Tag: ‘Household’

Rabbit-kun garbage bag + friends

27 Aug 2008

Rabbit-kun Garbage Bag Art Work -- Rabbit-kun Garbage Bag Art Work --

Meet Rabbit-kun, a plastic trash sack with pink eyes, an X-shaped mouth, and a pair of bunny ears that double as handles. Designed by Tokyo-based creative group MAQ, Inc., Rabbit-kun aims to inspire a more responsible attitude toward waste by providing a cute and stylish way for people to carry their trash home after a day outdoors. Whether it's a picnic in the park, a hike in the mountains, or a day at the beach -- or any place without public trash cans -- Rabbit-kun is charming enough that you might actually enjoy carting your garbage all the way home.

Rabbit-kun Garbage Bag Art Work -- Rabbit-kun Garbage Bag Art Work --

The bunny-shaped sack is the latest in a line of eye-pleasing Garbage Bag Art Work trash bags by MAQ. Their previous creations include a series of color-coded bags imprinted with patterns of trees, fish and flowers, which are designed to add convenience and character to neighborhood garbage collection points.

Another bag, which features a life-sized illustration (by Lily Franky) of trash-loving Oscar the Grouch, was designed in collaboration with Sesame Street as part of an environmental awareness campaign for children.

Oscar Garbage Bag Art Work --

For now, these bags are being distributed free of charge at select outdoor events, as well as to volunteer cleanup groups and schools.

Oscar Garbage Bag Art Work -- Oscar Garbage Bag Art Work --

And for animal lovers, MAQ offers the Mottainai series of bags featuring images of teary-eyed penguins, seals and polar bears, which turn the neighborhood trash heap into a friendly reminder of the fragility of our planet. A portion of the profits go to the Green Belt Movement (a grassroots environmental NGO established by Kenyan political activist, environmentalist and 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai), which has planted millions of trees across Kenya to prevent soil erosion.

Oscar Garbage Bag Art Work --

Garbage Bag Art Work trash bags are available at various locations in Tokyo or at the Mottainai online shop (Japanese).

Kage Roi idea acceleration system

26 Jun 2008

Kage Roi -- IT company Kayac has teamed up with researchers from Keio University to develop a high-tech brainstorming room that listens to its inhabitants and feeds them a barrage of related data and images in order to boost creativity and fuel the imagination.

The system -- called "Kage Roi" -- relies on a speech-recognition capable computer that monitors the brainstorming session via microphone, identifies keywords, and automatically crawls the web in search of related information and images. A ceiling-mounted projector then casts the retrieved data and imagery onto dark, human-shaped shadows on the table during the course of the meeting. The brainstormers can free-associate on the projected data, use it as a tool for discussion, or rely on it for helpful cues if ideas are running short.

Kage Roi also features an ambient, multi-colored LED lighting system designed to stimulate creativity by altering the mood of the room. The "half-day course" setting, for example, simulates the rising and setting of the sun over the course of a 2-hour brainstorming session, helping to create a gradual mood shift as the meeting progresses.

Kayac developed Kage Roi in cooperation with the Keio University Inakage Lab (imgl), whose research focuses on next-generation digital communication and entertainment. The system was installed in a meeting room at Kayac headquarters last month, and the company plans to begin field-testing it soon.

Kayac hopes to develop a practical version of the system in the near future, and they are considering marketing it to companies in the content creation industry.

[Source: Fuji Sankei, Kayac]

Emergency mask for office safety

19 Jun 2008

Smoke Block Emergency Mask --

In an unsettling sign of the times, the new "Smoke Block" emergency mask by Tokyo-based Rescuenow, Inc. is being touted as an effective means of protection against hydrogen sulfide, the trendy "detergent suicide" gas created by mixing household cleaners, which has claimed hundreds of lives across Japan in recent months. The mask has a special three-layer filter that keeps your lungs clean for up to 20 minutes, allowing you ample time to flee from smoke and/or toxic fumes. A full-face mask sells for 20,000 yen ($185) and a half-face version goes for 14,000 yen ($130).

[Source: Iza!]

Zero Emission House

17 Jun 2008

Zero Emissions House --

Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) has released a few details about the "Zero Emission House," a state-of-the-art green home under construction at the site of the upcoming Hokkaido Toyako G8 Summit, where environmental issues will be high on the agenda.

Incorporating the latest in sustainable building technology, the 280-square-meter (3,000 sq ft) Japanese-style home is designed to have a small carbon footprint. A 14.5-kilowatt solar array and a small 1-kilowatt wind generator provide power to the home, which is equipped with next-generation energy-saving appliances, thermal insulation glass, vacuum insulated panels and a green roof. The interior is illuminated by a system of light ducts and OLED lamps.

Zero Emissions House --

Honda's Asimo humanoid robot -- whose exact carbon footprint size is unknown -- will be on hand to serve tea to guests, who are welcome to test-drive the electric vehicles in the driveway and soak their feet in the fuel cell-powered foot bath.

Construction of the 200 million yen ($2 million) home is scheduled for completion at the end of June, at which time it will be unveiled to the foreign press. After the summit, plans are to transport the house to another location, where it will be opened to the general public.

[Source: METI]

Industrial-strength dog bath

13 Jun 2008

Wan Love Yu --

Control device manufacturer IDEC has developed a high-tech dog bath system called Wan Love Yu ("Dog Love Bath"), which eliminates the need for shampoo by relying on technology typically found in industrial water treatment systems. Wan Love Yu features a special shower head that discharges water containing approximately 600,000 tiny air bubbles per cubic centimeter. At 20 microns in diameter (5 times smaller than the width of a human hair), the air bubbles are small enough to penetrate the dog's skin and hair follicles to effectively remove dirt and odor. The high-tech jacuzzi system, which consists of a special shower head and suction hose attached to a 27.5 x 27.5 x 43 centimeter main unit, is designed for use with ordinary bathtubs. The system will go on sale June 20 at a price of between 600,000 and 700,000 yen (around $6,000 to $7,000).

[Source: Fuji Sankei]

Funwari Milk-chan: Breast-shaped plushies

19 Oct 2007

FunwariMilkChan --

From character goods maker JUN Planning comes a series of mammary-shaped plush toys known as Funwari Milk-chan ("Fluffy Milk") and friends. According to the official Funwari Milk-chan website, these mildly naughty plushies are modeled after the palm-sized inhabitants of Milk Village, a quiet southern hamlet the size of Tokyo Dome.

Each character has a distinct personality and background. Funwari Milk-chan (pictured above, center) is easygoing. Despite her dream of growing large, she remains small. She loves collagen, and napping is her favorite pastime. Can Milk-san (top left) is a celebrity entertainer, always aglitter. She has an American boyfriend and loves going to beauty salons. Ganguro Milk-chan (bottom left), despite being a gyaru with a pierced nipple, is mature and level-headed. She spends all her time practicing para-para dance, and she enjoys purikura. Peach Milk-chan (top right), a spider-hating fashionista who is scary when angry, is well-informed and into anything lowbrow. Milko-chan (bottom right) is still a baby -- but a genius. She loves to invent things, and her pacifier apparently holds the secret to her smarts.

FunwariMilkChan --

The inhabitants of Milk Village speak the Milk language, a tongue understood by all living creatures. While the size of the population is unknown, we do know that the milk-chans tend to live together as couples and raise families in milk houses, where they enjoy a variety of TV shows, including those produced by humans. Milk Village is built on forested land created long ago by an ancient volcanic eruption of Mt. Milk. The mountain is regarded as the symbol of the village.

Milk Village also enjoys four distinct seasons. In spring, everyone likes to eat dango (skewered rice dumplings) and gaze at cherry blossoms. In summer, they enjoy the beach. In autumn, they eat dango and gaze at the moon. In winter, it is customary to hole up with family in snow caves and eat mochi rice cake.

Funwari Milk Chan plushies sell for about 1,000 yen ($9) each at 8 locations in Japan (including a shop on the 1st floor of Radio Kaikan in Akihabara).

[Link: Funwari Milk-chan via Korokoro Zaeega]

Hot-rod bath

18 Sep 2007

Tetsuya Nakamura's Premium Unit Series --
(Premium Unit Bath)

Artist Tetsuya Nakamura’s Premium Unit Series of curvaceous, luxury bathroom fixtures -- a tub, a pair of sinks, a step designed for insertion into a stairwell, and a decorative column -- are sculpted from fiber-reinforced plastic and painted with colorful, fluid patterns meant to evoke a sense of speed. Nakamura, who created the Premium Unit Series with the DIY-er in mind, encourages the purchaser to add his or her own custom paint job, body modifications and part upgrades, despite the 3 million yen ($26,000) cost of the tub and 1.5 million yen ($13,000) price tag on each of the other items. According to the accompanying disclaimer, Nakamura's heavy emphasis on form -- and relative disregard for function -- means bathers should enter the tub at their own risk, as the artist and dealer assume no responsibility for injuries or accidents that may occur.

Tetsuya Nakamura's Premium Unit Series --
(Premium Unit Sink)

Tetsuya Nakamura's Premium Unit Series --
(Premium Unit Sink)

Tetsuya Nakamura's Premium Unit Series --
(Premium Unit Step/Premium Unit Pillar)

[Link: Nippon Style]

Garbage Bag Art Work

28 Aug 2007

Garbage Bag Art Work --

Garbage Bag Art Work trash bags aim to transform Japan's unsightly neighborhood garbage collection points into instant works of disposable art. Produced by design agency MAQ, the bags come in three patterns -- trees, fish and flowers -- and they are colored to match Japan's official color codes for various types of waste, each of which are collected on different days. Green is for recyclable trash, blue is for non-burnable and red is for burnable, so while livening up the appearance of trash heaps, the bags also remind neighbors about what trash day it is. Packs of ten 45-liter bags sell for 380 yen (about $3) at a select few Tokyu Hands and Loft outlets in Tokyo, or they can be purchased online here (Japanese).

SHiBA brand trash bags --

In a related project, MAQ has also teamed up with author/illustrator Lily Franky's SHiBA brand to plaster the unique dog logo on their trash bags. Now if they could come up with a design that would keep people from generating so much trash, they might have a masterpiece.

[Link: Garbage Bag Art Work]

Nanotech + aromatherapy = brain-boosting fragrant pencil lead

13 Jul 2007

Ain supplio, fragrant pencil lead ---

Wake up and smell the pencil lead, says Japanese stationery and writing instrument manufacturer Pentel, who has combined the power of nanotechnology with the knowledge of expert aromatherapists to develop a new type of fragrant pencil lead. Featuring a long-lasting aroma designed to enhance mental capacity, the pencil lead -- called "Ain supplio" -- recently won the coveted Stationery of the Year Award (2007).

Unlike previous types of fragrant lead, which use weak aromatic surface coatings that tend to lose their smell quickly, Ain supplio relies on fragrant ingredients trapped in nanocapsules, or tiny air bubbles, which are infused into the lead itself. The microscopic size of the nanocapsules gives them extra strength to hold their fragrance for long periods of time -- about 3 years if kept in the unopened package, 2 years if kept in their plastic case, and more than 3 months out in the open air.

Tentatively priced at 210 yen (under $2) per set, Ain supplio comes in three flavors -- Refresh, Healing and Positive -- each prepared by aromatherapists working with ingredients such as rosemary, mint, lemongrass and green tea. The aromatic blends are specially designed to boost the learning capacity of those in smelling range, says Pentel, who hopes the product will appeal to students. Ain supplio will hit shelves in September, just in time for the fall semester.

[Source: IT Media, Pentel press release]