Digital | ON: TECH

Portable and wearable gadgets, plus apps for anime and J-pop lovers

by Chiho Komoriya

An appetizing battery charger

Portable battery chargers are hardly the most attractive item to have in your bag at all times, but now you can stop fishing around for a cute one.

The Taiyakikun by mobile-goods maker Natural Design is a rechargeable 6,000mAh battery pack that looks like a taiyaki — the popular traditional Japanese fish-shaped waffle snack filled with sweet red-bean paste. Both Android and iOS devices can consume its energy and because the USB port is at its mouth, it looks a bit like you’re fishing while charging. The color of its eyes also lets you know how much power is left — from yellow for full to red for empty.

Taiyakikun is priced at ¥5,940.

natural-d.jp/taiyaki

When it’s good to be in a vacuum

This is being touted as the world’s first “vacuum” wireless portable speaker. Created by the flask maker Thermos, the Veclos speaker is made using the same technology used to make vacuum flasks. Since nothing can vibrate within a vacuum, the vacuum encasing around the Veclos ensures that the sound that comes out of its speaker has minimum distortion.

Users can play music via Bluetooth, and at 3 watts for the monaural model and 2.7 watts per stereo model, the sound should be pretty loud and far-reaching.

Available in black, white, red and blue, the Veclos is priced at ¥10,800 for the monaural and ¥19,440 for the stereo pair.

www.veclos.jp

Scouter out your running information

Sports equipment company Mizuno has utilized display technology by Sony to develop Scouter, a wearable information device for runners. These glasses provide the user with course maps and other useful data, including distances run, running times and number of calories burned. Mizuno also plan to have Scouter connected to social networking services to allow runners to rank themselves among other users.

The company is also looking into apps that can display real-time rankings, times and SNS messages for those running in marathons.

Not yet released, keep an eye out for Scouter toward the end of 2015.

mizunorunning.jp/wearableglass

Get into characters for the kids

Japan loves its mascots and characters — whether they are regional motifs, game heroes or anime protagonists — which makes character stage shows particularly popular with kids. But with so many events available, often on weekends and holidays, it’s difficult for parents to find the exact information they need.

Application developer Lifedge has released the iOS application Mama Tsuretette, which filters through information about character events. Users can find details of shows according to characters and areas, as use a keyword search.

More than 300 shows per month have already been registered from areas all over Japan, and the app is free to use.

bit.ly/0321charactershow

Raise some Cheerz for Japan’s pop idols

Just like it loves its mascots, Japan loves its girls bands, too — even if some of them haven’t quite made it big.

Application developer Fogg aims to give more bands a head start with its multi-lingual support app Cheerz.

Originally launched in English and Chinese last December, this social-networking app now also supports French. Girl-band pop idols upload selfies and snaps, while their fans offer direct support by giving images “Cheerz” (essentially “likes”). Fans can keep track of their favorite idol’s popularity and also tweet the images.

More than 200 idols from various bands have registered for the service, and Fogg is also collaborating with the multilingual pop-culture site Tokyo Girls’ Update and NHK’s Tokyo Girls’ Update TV.

The app is free, though the number of Cheerz per user is limited, so once you run out you have to either wait 20 minutes for a new one or purchase some.

bit.ly/0327cheerz