Listen up, silence is golden

It seems that the more you need to concentrate on something, the more sensitive you become to surrounding distractions, particularly sounds. So to help people really focus, King Jim has come up with the Digital Mimisen MM1000 — high-tech earbud-like ear plugs that the company says can cancel out noises under 300Hz by 90 percent.

Digital Mimisen have an in-built microphone that picks up environmental sounds so that it can figure out and emit opposite wavelength sounds to cancel out the original noise. But this doesn’t mean you’ll be cut off in complete silence: Though the earplugs have been designed to cut unwanted noise, they still allow the wearer to hear specific sounds, including phone ringtones, people shouting out to you and train station announcements.

One thing they can’t do, however, is let you listen to music — these literally are just ear plugs — so there’s absolutely no excuse to get distracted.

Digital Mimisen are planned for release on March 7 and will be available for ¥4,980.


The Voxy Orechen facelift

Automaker Toyota clearly wants to express its fun side with its recently released Voxy Orechen smartphone app. The name roughly translates to “My change,” and is part of the company’s promotion campaign for its Voxy minivan, which underwent a full redesign back in January.

The app lets you “redesign” a photo of your face (or someone else’s) into a better-looking version by using different filters, or “looks.” Add a little bit of “wild” or “confident” to your avatar and watch your features change. It’s actually a bit weird.

If you enter a nickname for the new version of yourself, the app sends the image off to become part of a one-of-a-kind Voxy catalog. Guess who becomes that catalog’s cover model? You can then pick up the catalog at a nearby Toyota dealer.

Voxy Orechen is free and available for download on iTunes and Google Play.


Check out the Lifebook TH90/P — from all angles

This is the latest in ultrabooks from Fujitsu. As a new model for the FMV series, the Lifebook TH90/P has a convertible display that can revolve 180 degrees. This means you can shut it like a laptop or expose it like a tablet. Its most unique feature is its ability to have the screen face you from various angles and be used in “theater position” (with the keyboard behind it).

Powered by an Intel processor (i5-4200U) and with 500 GB HDD on-board, it’s quick to startup and has extra room for storage. And with a battery life of up to 12.5 hours, it’s ideal for people on the go. Also, it comes with a Wacom stylus.

The TH90/P will be released on Feb. 21 for around ¥210,000.


Literally wired to the mouse

If you’re worried about the lack of exercise you get sitting at a desk all day, Thanko has come up with a novel solution: The EMS (Electrical Muscle Stimulation) enabled computer mouse.

Though it sounds like a torture device, this mouse helps you tone up and work at the same time. The Wireless Kinniku Mouse has two “power-distribution” pads (small and large sizes are available), which you attach to the parts of your body that need a little work. There are six different EMS movement patterns as well as 10 levels of pressure strength, which are controlled by the mouse. It also automatically turns itself off after 15 minutes, so you don’t overdo it.

The Wireless Kinniku Mouse costs ¥5,980 and is available at the Thanko online shop.


Softbank keeps track of your health

Softbank Mobile is about to release a physical-activity measuring wrist band called Fitbit Force, a device designed to complement the Softbank HealthCare management service for smartphones.

Fitbit Force keeps track of health-related data, including the number of footsteps taken, distance traveled, calories burned, hours slept and steps climbed. The data is displayed on an organic EL display by pressing a side button.

The device comes in a small and large size, and can be used with iPhone models 5S, 5C, 5, 4S (iOS 6.0 and higher), as well as the Aquos Phone Xx 206SH. There’s an initial cost of ¥3,200 and then a monthly fee of ¥500.


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