Gadget Season

Technology Trends & Culture - June 21st, 2012

Be it smartphone dieting or hands free cleaning; most of us love gadgets and technology, whatever part of our life they fit into. Here Cameron Sampson, starting with something which may help you beat the heat, rounds up some of the latest items on his shopping list!

Summer is coming in Japan and that means it’s time to prepare for festivals and get groaning about the smoldering heat as we swelter in the humidity that will soon surround the islands. At times like this, when it is difficult to move, we all appreciate convenience. After all, summer should be about enjoying the fireworks, barbecues and the upcoming Olympic Games, not complaining. Hopefully a few of our recommended gadgets should help make your summer experience more enjoyable.

SANWA SUPPLY 2012 Model USB-powered Electric Fans

Sanwa Supply released two new models this past month, just in time for PC users to keep themselves cool while in the office, or the comfort of their own home. The USB-TOY69 model offers 60-degree rotation and can be positioned horizontally or vertically depending on where you like your airflow. If you seek a bit more oomph to your cooling, then the desk-mountable USB-TOY71 model should fit your needs.

At maximum it packs a powerful airflow of up to 2000 rpm and will surely sufficiently combat the dreaded summer heat. Both models come in black or white, should you wish to coordinate colours with your office desk.


COCOROBO Vacuum Cleaner from Sharp

Before summer really starts (well, even if it has already…), some very late spring-cleaning may help you really relax at home. Why not have it done with the simple touch of your smartphone? Or, better yet, just tell it what to do while you’re relaxing?

Sharp’s autonomous vacuum cleaner can do all those things and then some – there is no compromise on sucking power. Their higher end model, the RX-V100, will feature voice control, a camera and wi-fi capability.

Following that up with soon to be released, dedicated iOS and Android app to use as a remote control, the COCOROBO truly shapes up to be a cleaning device fit for a King, Queen, or Emperor!

Fuji FinePix XP170

Fuji FinePix XP170

Able to withstand water immersion up to 10 meters deep, the 14-megapixel CMOS Fuji FinePix XP170, which has 5x optical zoom and 10fps burst-mode for continual shooting, should do the job of capturing that special moment while you are surfing a wave or checking out some shallow sea life during a snorkeling excursion.

As well as being good for summer activities, this dust- and shock-proof camera is built to withstand winter, being freeze-proof up to -10C.

As is customary with today’s digital cameras, movie-recording features are the norm. The XP170 packs full HD 1080p movie-capturing capabilities along with an automatic movie mode optimized for filming the underwater environment.

The wireless transfer feature will allow you to send your images directly from the camera to any iOS or Android device – using the free Fujifilm Photo Receiver app – and share with friends. If you feel like showing off your summer adventures on the big screen, a micro-HDMI connection is included. This rugged, weatherproof camera is slated for release in late June.

Panasonic NE-R3500 oven

Panasonic Appliances and Summer Dieting with the Help of Smartphones

More and more appliances are getting into smartphone connectivity these days. Even Panasonic’s ovens and rice cookers are entering the market.

This NE-R3500 oven and SR-SX102 and SX182 brand of rice cookers will allow owners of FeliCa-enabled smartphones to set the cooking time and temperature for their dish by simply holding their phone above a sensor on the unit.

It’s like the IC cards we use to go in and out of the Metro, holding culinary rather than monetary information.

The feature can easily be enabled by downloading and installing a special smartphone application from Panasonic’s website and, utilizing cloud-based storage, users can store and download recipes and settings for up to 100 of their favourite dishes.

Perhaps less kitchen-savvy guys could receive cooking instructions (in an email from their mother or wife?) which will not be lost in translation on their way to the microwave!

When used in conjunction with Android-compatible Omron devices – their thermometers, scales and blood-pressure guages particularly – the new Rhythm Note and Yurupika Diet apps can help weight-watchers monitor such things as calorie-intake goals, weight-loss targets and blood pressure.

With all these smartphones in the kitchen, though, you’d better be careful where you put down that hotpot!

LG Smart TV 5 Series

Enjoy the Summer Olympics with LG’s Smart TV 5 Series

If you’re the type that wants to just kick back and enjoy the Olympics on a large cinematic-style television, then you will look forward to the latest models LG will release this month, in 47- and 55-inch models.

Using LGs glasses, which are far more stylish than those in the cinema, the TVs show 3D broadcasts, have an IPS panel with full LED backlighting and video-on-demand and online video services such as Hulu, Tsutaya TV and U-NEXT are built in to a user interface platform which also features an in-built web-browser. Added to all that, they look great.

Smart TV is, LG says, the future for the connected home. With Wifi connectivity, an ergonomic “Magic Wand” remote control and a sleek cinematic design—what more could a TV-junkie want?

All you need to do is grab some snacks and a beer, sit down, lean back and behold your personal theatre. Such is the clarity, you might almost feel you are in London with the athletes chasing gold come the end of July.

By Cameron Sampson