Cool Stuff & Geekery

The Weirdest Japanese Inventions in 2020

By Bea

Japan is well-known for its amazing advancements in the world of science and technology. Many of these include the electric rice cooker, karaoke, emojis, cassette players, blue LED lights, and 3D printing. All these inventions somehow changed the way we all live and made an impact on how the world works today. However, there are also some Japanese inventions that reflect the quirkiness and ingenuity of their people.

Don’t get me wrong. These inventions are still cool. However, these could also make you wonder how people came up with them. Here are some of the strangest, possibly coolest, and weirdest Japanese inventions to check out this 2020.

Robot Girlfriend Hand

Single people, alas! If you are feeling lonely or sad, this invention could be exactly what you need. A group of Japanese scientists from Gifu University invented a robot hand for men to hold when they feel lonely. The hand can also be used as a companion to hold hands with while walking. Called the “Osampo Kanojo”, the name translates to “My Girlfriend in Walk”.

According to the group, the robot feels and even smells like a girlfriend. The device is made of a soft gel-like material to simulate how a human hand really feels. Its fingers can detect pressure and “squeeze back” when held tightly. To make it even more realistic, the robot hand has a heating and sweating mechanism.

The idea came from the increase of mental health cases brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. Because of this, the robot offers companionship and comfort to those who need it.

Smart Mask Translator

The current pandemic has also brought about a new invention – a smart face mask that can translate up to 8 languages. As everyone knows, face masks have become an everyday essential. The timely gadget was invented by a Japanese startup, Donut Robotics, that saw an opportunity to make the ordinary face mask into a tool for communication and social distancing this pandemic.

The purpose of the smart mask sounds promising. However, it doesn’t seem like a useful tool right now since the mask doesn’t even provide protection against the Covid-19. According to its makers, the front of the mask has cutouts for breathability. This means, users will still have to wear another mask inside the gadget just to protect themselves, which is the very purpose of wearing a mask in the first place. This is definitely one of the weirdest Japanese inventions on this list.

Edible Plastic Bags

The invention of edible plastic bags makes you wonder who in their right minds would ever eat plastic. The idea of eating plastic just seems too crazy. Yes, we may be more environmentally conscious today, but I don’t think humans would go as far as eating plastic. Sadly enough, it’s not humans these edible plastics were made for, but rather for deer.

In 2019, several deer were found dead in Nara Park, Japan from eating plastic bags. Tourists of the park were already warned to avoid using and throwing plastics in the area. However, Hidetoshi Matsukawa had something different in mind. He teamed up with a Japanese paper manufacturer to come up with “Shikagami” which means deer paper. The edible material makes use of rice bran and milk cartons.

This invention may seem out there. However, I can see its potential in protecting not just deer, but all animals in the future.

Social Distancing Projector

Here’s another pandemic invention that also seems pretty crazy. If everyone were to use this, we’d all look like we came from a futuristic movie walking around with orbs surrounding us. The social distancing projector, invented by Hitachi, ensures social distancing using a projection system. The system has a sensor that senses whenever a person is close by and projects fish swimming around a circle. The fish turn yellow whenever someone crosses someone else’s circle. This device could potentially be helpful, but it’s also strange to walk around town with fish swimming around you.

Robo-Wolves

Imagine driving around the city and finding yourself face-to-face against a two-and-a-half feet tall wolf with blaring red eyes. This isn’t something someone wants to see, especially late at night. Well, in Japan’s Takikawa, local officials installed these robot wolves around the city. These wolves have dark fur, blaring red eyes, sharpened teeth, and even give off several growls.

Why, you may ask? According to reports, these monster robots are meant to scare away wild bears from the city’s populated areas. Apparently, wild bear-sightings are at an all-time high across the country, including Takikawa. Just this year, there were 10 sightings in the city. To give credit to its developer, Ohta Seiki, the robotic wolves are considered a success in another city Hiroki Kondo. According to a city official, the city has had no sightings since the robots were installed.

Want to see more crazy stuff from Japan?  Check this out!

Japan is surely every Geek’s haven. Find out why here!

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