From BabyMetal to Hello Kitty: 11 Wacky Japanese Trends to Love

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Image via Aldebaran

3. High Tech We Didn’t Know We Needed

There’s no doubt about Japan’s status as a high tech society. A lot of these inventions that really catch our eye are things that we didn’t know we needed. Admittedly some of them are things we probably still don’t need.

Nissan recently revealed their ProPILOT Chair. As you can see it’s a pretty nifty invention that uses cameras and sensors to avoid crashing into other objects and staying on path of the chair in front of it using some follow the leader technology. The suggested uses here are for people waiting in line and then you see some shots of the chairs being used for tours. I just can’t see this being more than a novelty for lines because they take up a lot of room and probably cost more than having people stand in line for free. However, it’s an interesting exercise in using technology that goes into the development of self-driving cars. Speaking of self-driving, some of the first will be on the street as delivery vans in Japan starting next year.

You’ve probably heard about high tech Japanese toilets before. The Rolls Royce of these fancy toilet companies is Toto whose products can cost up to $10,000. They have all sorts of options to cover anyone’s ideal bathroom experience. For those that find the sounds of using the toilet embarrassing, there are speakers to play the sound of running water to mask your activities. Apparently this silly sounding invention is a water saver because some people were getting the same effect from flushing multiple times. Then there’s the Washlet. It’s a toilet that includes a warm water spray to clean off your privates after you do your business.

We can’t talk about tech in Japan without at least one example of a robot. Pepper is the robotic product out of SoftBank that was created to be humanoid. It’s supposed to both detect and show emotions. The video above shows a Pepper in a European SoftBank lab learning how to play the ball-and-cup game. It’s not Pepper has learned to write Shakespeare, but in terms of machine learning it’s pretty cool. The deadeye stare though is something else.