Digital | ON: TECH

Figurative and literal lifesavers

by Chiho Komoriya

Keep your ears open for BoCo

Bone-conduction earphones, a relatively new development in personal tech that allows users to listen to devices without blasting the eardrums, is finally being made small enough to be worn like earbuds. Up until now, virtually all bone-conduction earphones have been headsets designed to sit at the temples. BoCo’s Earsopen, however, clip to the earlobes, making them more discreet while still keeping the ear canals clear to pick up outside noise.

Originally a crowdfunding project, Earsopen is now available at major electronics retailers for just under ¥11,000. BoCo explain that their cylindrical vibrators produce a high-quality listening experience and that their compact size makes them ideal for active people who need to be aware of their surroundings. Since users aren’t using their eardrums to listen, they can also help prevent damage to ears and are useful for the hearing impaired. (Japanese only)

Made-to-measure shopping

Now that buying goods from online stores and flea-markets is so popular, it has become more important than ever for sellers to supply accurate sizing information. Measuring items, such as clothing, however, is a hassle, especially when it comes to finding ways to add those numbers to photos of the goods. Hakaruno looks like an ordinary tape measure but, created by Fujitsu Component, it has a little techy edge to it that can help.

This crowdfunding project has a starting price of ¥16,800, so it’s more for those serious about selling goods online. It makes use of a dedicated smartphone app that connects to the tape measure via Bluetooth. All you need to do is use the app to take a photo of your item, then draw lines on the photo of where you’ll be taking measurements. Next measure the sections needed, each time pushing the button on the tape measure when done. The measurements will automatically appear in the appropriate places on your photo. The Hakaruno can also be used for creating lists of object dimensions just by taking a photo of a document, then numbering it before taking measurements.

The advantages of the Hakaruno are that it’s not only convenient, but by taking the measurements directly from the device, you’re less likely to make a mistake while writing it down. Available for Android and iOS, visit the Makuake website for more information. (Japanese only)

That life-saving call

When someone has a heart attack, literally every second counts. Unfortunately, in Japan the average time it takes an ambulance to reach its destination is 8.6 minutes. That’s not long, but for someone in cardiac arrest, it could be the difference between life and death.

Coaido 119 is an iOS app designed to help people get assistance while waiting for the emergency services to arrive. When used, it calls 119 while also relaying an SOS message to nearby registered individuals who can help. Such people include medical staff, those with life-saving skills and those within close proximity of an AED device. The app also allows users to video chat or voice call to convey their situation, while nearby help can find the caller via GPS.

Though currently only available for the Ikebukuro district of Tokyo’s Toshima Ward, there is also an option to trigger an automated SOS phone call, detailing the incident and location, to dedicated local AED posts.

Coaido 119 has been on trial for just over a year and it is now being rolled out across Japan. It may be slightly limited in its areas with dedicated AEDs and is still collating registered help, but it’s early days yet — and as a lifesaving app, it’s bound to catch on. (Japanese only)