Photo lovers, scan over this

Images have become a major part of social networking, but when it comes to getting a scan-quality shot of an old photograph or a drawing with a smartphone, it’s quite tricky to achieve.

SnapLite solves the problem — at least for the iPhone — by illuminating the subject with an LED and ensuring the phone is angled just right for a flat shot. It’s shaped like a desk lamp and uses the iPhone’s camera via an app.

To scan items, turn on the app and SnapLite, and place your iPhone on top of the stand. The phone switches to scan mode and projects guidelines indicating where to place your subject. Then either touch the SnapLite button or use its timer, which delays up to three seconds. For items larger than the guidelines, you can scan it in two parts and the app will automatically stitch it into one image.

Images are saved as JPEGs on the iPhone, where you can share it on your favorite social networks.

SnapLite is available for ¥12,800 and the app is free on the Japanese App store.


Get someone else to do the dirty work

With more married couples in Japan supporting themselves on a double income, outsourcing housework to save time is becoming a popular option.

At least that’s a lifestyle choice that startup White Plus hopes to cultivate. White Plus has set up an online cleaning service called Lenet. It’s very simple. You order cleaning online and then pack your dirty laundry into a box that gets picked up from your home, sometimes in as quickly as two hours. Clean clothing is then returned in two days.

For a monthly premium membership fee of ¥300, you also receive discounts between 20 percent and 35 percent off prices that compete with regular dry-cleaning stores. Around 70,000 people are already using the service, and the company plans to release a mobile app this summer.


Cleaning up on design

According to an original survey it took, Panasonic discovered that instead of storing vacuum cleaners in closets, 60 percent of people leave them out in rooms. The survey also found that although many said that when they made vacuum-cleaner purchase decisions, design was an important factor, most were dissatisfied with the options available.

In response, Panasonic are launching the MC-PA series of designer vacuum cleaners, available in five different decorative patterns, three of which are collaborations with design-related companies in Tokyo.

The cleaning power has been enhanced, too, with a round-tipped brush at the nozzle making it easier to pick up dirt, dust and hairs from all kinds of floors and carpets.

The MC-PA range comes out in stores on June 20 and will be priced at around ¥58,000.


Don’t take any heat

The scorching summer is approaching, which means dehydration and heatstroke are real dangers to be aware of, especially for young kids.

Necchu-kun, developed by the Japan Weather Association (JWA) in collaboration with Design Factory, could, with the touch of a button, help you avoid harmful situations.

A cute portable device that displays the temperature and humidity of your location, Necchu-kun also has a five-level light indicator that reports the risk of a developing a heat disorder. The JWA developed the way the risk is calculated, and the levels range from “Almost Safe” to “Dangerous.”

If you want to be extra careful, there is also a setting to measure heat conditions every 10 minutes, which should come in handy if the kids are playing outside. The Necchu-kun is priced at around ¥2,200.


Menswear suited to you

Suits can feel restricting if they don’t fit you right, and sometimes ordering a tailor-made one is the only way to get the exact fit and style you want. But that’s an expensive and time-consuming option.

Lifestyle Design’s LaFabrics website, however, allows men to design shirts and suits and have them delivered in a matter of weeks. With suits priced from ¥39,800 to ¥49,800 and shirts at ¥9,200, they are also affordable.

Click-through menus offer numerous options including button or French cuffs for shirts, slim or regular fits for jackets and your own personal monograms.


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