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New and old ways to take snapshots, plus other gadgetry for adults and kids

by Yukari Mitsuhashi

A ‘natural’ way to lifelog?

We take photos to capture the most memorable moments of our lives, but how spontaneous or “real” is that moment when you’re looking at it through a lens?

Neurocam, a wearable camera system, takes a different approach to snapshots. The device constantly analyzes your brainwave activity and marks it on a scale of 0-100. Whenever it detects high levels of activity, it automatically records a five-second video clip.

Co-developed by the Tokyo-based Neurowear team and Keio University professor Yasue Mitsukura, this prototype was recently unveiled at the Human Sensing conference 2013, held in Yokohama. It’s still a project in progress, but in the not-so-distant future, Neurocam could become a more “natural” way for us to digitally record our lifelogs.

neurowear.com/projects_detail/neurocam.html

Fujifilm brings on the nostalgia

Fujifilm’s Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic is for those who still yearn for Polaroids. Unlike Fujifilm’s already popular and cutely designed Cheki instant camera, the Neo Classic appears to be aimed at the more serious adult.

It’s designed to look like an analog single-lens reflex camera and is equipped with an advanced auto-adjust flash. It’s easy to use and also has several photo options, including party mode, nature mode and bulb mode. Holding down on the shutter button in bulb mode allows you to do some really fun photography at night.

Priced at ¥19,800 at Fujifilm Mall, the Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic comes with a rechargeable battery. Film, which is sold separately, costs ¥770 for a pack of 10 shots.

instax.jp/mini90/, fujifilmmall.jp/shop

Make sake a home comfort

Want to enjoy a nice glass of nihonshu sake without having to venture out to a bar? Sakelife is an affordable monthly subscription service that brings quality sake, carefully selected from more than 4,000 brands, right to your doorstep.

In addition to a bottle (or more) of sake each month, a subscription includes an original glass every two months, as well as a weekly newsletter with relevant information and stories behind the selected drinks. It also comes with an email sommelier service to answer any questions about sake culture.

There are two monthly subscription types available offering different qualities and quantities of sake at ¥3,000 and ¥5,000. In all, its a neat way of finding out more and enjoying one of Japan’s traditional beverages.

sakelife.jp

Tapme: A tablet you can trust kids with

Kids love playing with tablets. But they’re not toys, and some parents may worry about giving kids their own devices, especially since they offer them access to anything on the Web. Tapme, which won the Innovative Toy Prize at Toy Show 2013, is designed specifically for tech-savvy kids.

It has all the basic features of an ordinary tablet, such as wi-fi connection and a camera, and it comes with 30 pre-installed apps (with more available via its designated app store). But it also has other special features, including locks and timers, which should prevent kids from accessing inappropriate content or using if for too long.

Tapme comes in pink and light blue, costs ¥20,790 and will be available this December.

kidstablet.jp

Healthier living just a heartbeat away

These days, we are seeing more mobile-integrated, wearable health-care devices. This new belt-style fitness device was released last month by the mobile contents company MTI and is designed specifically to measure your heart rate, an important factor to monitor when determining whether your chosen exercise is having the aerobic effect needed for losing weight.

Karadafit Heart is small enough to wear discreetly and comes with a free iPhone app, Karadabeat, which records data and helps you manage your exercise regime. The app automatically receives data via Bluetooth and provides audio exercise advice based on your heart rate (though this feature requires a ¥400 monthly fee).

Karadafit Heart is available at a special introductory price of ¥2,980 until the end of this year. Estimated full price next year is around ¥4,800.

pc.karadabeat.jp