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Get familiar with the ‘G Mark’ concept

by Edan Corkill

Earlier this month, Toyota wowed technology watchers when it launched its Winglet — a one-person standup motorized transporter similar to, though more compact than, a Segway. The public will get one of their first glimpses of the machine when it features at Tokyo Big Sight this weekend at Japan’s biggest event for industrial design, the Good Design Expo.

Winglet demonstrations will take place on Friday evening (from 6:10 p.m.) and on Sunday afternoon (from 1:30 p.m.), and will no doubt be two of the highlights of the event. But they are by no means the only things to see.

The Good Design Expo is an exhibition of entries in the internationally renowned annual Good Design Award. Consumers will be familiar with the “G Mark” sticker that can be found on products available in Japan that have been judged by a panel of experts to be well designed. Past winners include Toyota’s Prius (2003), Apple’s iPod mini (2004) and Nintendo’s movement-sensitive game-controller Wii last year. Some 2,000 products will be on display at the Expo, each vying for this year’s honors. (Just before the Expo opens to the public, the award judges will make a further selection that won’t be made public until September. The ultimate winners of this year’s Good Design Awards will be announced in October).

The event is open 6 till 9 p.m. on Friday, 10 a.m. till 9 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. till 4 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is ¥1,000. See www.g-mark.org for details.