Digital | ON: TECH

Staying in doesn't mean you need to stop working out

Japanese apps and devices are aiming to make the COVID-19 outbreak a little healthier for all of us

by Chiho Komoriya

Contributing writer

With the coronavirus pandemic far from over, and the number of infections increasing daily, technology is becoming ever more essential to staying healthy.

Yahoo! Map's congestion slider |
Yahoo! Map’s congestion slider

Checking crowd levels before going out

Local governments across Japan have issued requests for people to refrain from nonessential trips outdoors, but we still need to shop for food and daily necessities, or may even need to visit a hospital. In light of this, Yahoo! Japan has rereleased its crowd radar function to help visualize the degree of human congestion in a given area via its smartphone app Yahoo! Map.

The new congestion radar calculates crowd levels based on the data of users who allow the use of location information in apps provided by Yahoo! Japan. The degree of congestion is indicated by colors on a “heat map,” and you can check the level of congestion at various time periods by moving a slider at the bottom of the screen. If you tap the play button, the change in crowd level is shown as an animation. If you have to go out, you can use this feature to determine crowd levels at your destination and avoid heavy pedestrian traffic. The Yahoo! Map app is free to download.

BeatFit has you covered for fitness |
BeatFit has you covered for fitness

A trainer at your fingertips

Requests for people to stay indoors due to the spread of coronavirus means a lot of people can no longer get to the gym. To counter this, the BeatFit app proposes exercises that can be done while at home or on solo trips outdoors.

BeatFit acts as your very own personal trainer, covering 11 types of activity that include walking, running, aerobics and yoga. It covers 11 areas, such as walking, running, aerobics and yoga, and features more than 600 classes in Japanese — so you can work out your brain while you’re on the go.

If you’re not sure which class to choose, the app can recommend one based on your user information, goals and mood. It also links to Apple Health, which allows you to record your fitness daily data. BeatFit offers a 30-day free trial, after which the subscription plan is ¥1,480 per month, or ¥9,800 per year.

Matech's AirCase |
Matech’s AirCase

Get ultra clean with ultraviolet rays

Disposable masks are becoming increasingly scarce and as a result some people are making cloth ones by hand. These masks, however, need to be thoroughly disinfected. AirCase is a gadget that disinfects masks, smartphones and other items within 30 minutes by using ultraviolet light (UV) and ozone.

The UV rays that AirCase uses are on the UV-C wavelength, and have been used for years in sterilizing medical facilities. The ozone further enhances its antibacterial properties. The AirCase also has a compartment in which you can drop aromatic oil that will ensure your belongings have a pleasant smell as well as coming out clean.

In addition to disinfecting, the device also functions as a wireless charger that allows you to charge your smartphone while you sterilize it.

Gadget maker Matech began accepting pre-orders for the AirCase on Amazon from April 9, and the device will be shipped from late-May at the earliest. As of writing, the price on Amazon had risen to ¥5,980. However, if you want to get an AirCase at a cheaper price you are better off purchasing it through the company’s crowdfunding site (Japanese only). Those orders are expected to be shipped in June.

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