3.17.2017

Japanese flea market app "Mercari" went into the U.K.


Japanese flea market app "Mercari" step forward abroad steadily. They released application in U.K. This is their overseas development following the U.S. and they aim at the European market. U.K. version site is here.

Mercari was released in Japan in July, 2013. Various flea market apps existed before this, but as for them, web service for PCs was the main constituent, and the mobile apps were late departure. However, Mercari was the "mobile-first" thoroughly and simple(they have web service for PCs now). If you want to sell something, you have only to take its photos with the camera of the smartphone and write its captions. If you have luck, it may sell in several seconds. I used Jp version of Mercari, and earned about 170,000yen(about 1,510USD) so far. In Japan, we must pay recycling fees when we discard large garbage and household appliance garbage. However, we can earn pocket money if we sell these in Mercari.

They released U.S. version in September, 2014, and apps broke through 20 million downloading now(40 million downloading in Japan). They established branch office "Mercari Europe" in the U.K. in 2016 and prepared for the advance to the European market.

Mercari was established in February, 2013 by Japanese serial entrepreneur Shintaro Yamada.

3.12.2017

Your fat relieves the earth

When spring comes, the people who work hard at diet to reduce the fat which they stored up in winter increase. It may become the charity by this application. Metavolunteer is NPO aiming at solving obesity and starvation at the same time, and they develop mobile application CHARITY DIET for charity that the calories that users burnt by exercise are converted into donations.


When users choose the charity groups which they want to support, and send data of calories to application, the sponsor companies perform contribution equivalent to those calories for charity groups. The application is free, and users only link CHARITY DIET to the partner application that can acquire data of calories-out and can participate in charity activity.


Médecins sans frontières, hunger free world, Save the Children, World Vision, WWF has already expressed participation and Metavoluntee gathers other charity groups and sponsor companies. Unfortunately this has not been yet released. Now, they invite the 500 precedent testers and start test service from this spring.

3.10.2017

Necessities of cherry-blossom picnic party

Sakura, the cherry-blossoms bloom at the end of this month in Japan. It signals the end of winter and coming of spring, and the Japanese celebrate this by holding picnic parties under trees of sakura. Parks having them are crowded with many people with picnic sheets, foods and a lot of liquors. Toy company Takara Tomy Arts released the gadget which is good to it this month.




Beerhour-Gokuawa-Portable closes the canned beers after opened and makes its forms creamy more. When users are attached this to the upper part of the canned beer which opened and pour beer into a glass while pushing the button, the supersonic wave occurs and make creamy foams. In addition, it keeps gas and taste of the beers. It supports any kinds of beers if the diameter of cans are 56~57mm. It works by two AAA alkaline batteries and size is 72mm x 65mm x 105mm. It's compact so as to enter pockets of clothes, and good to the outdoor. Color variations are black and white, and the price is 3,218yen(in tax).

2.12.2017

Your smartphone becomes the massage gadget

Beauty electric appliances are popular, but they are troublesome if size is big. Massage gadget NOFL Smart that link with smartphones solves this problem.


This is the small massage gadget which tightens a facial striated muscle by hitting the face with the electric current of the low frequency. We can attach it to smartphones like a clip lens. Users can control this by smartphone application, and can set parts of the face to massage, the timer, the level of the electric current, and frequency timing in detail. If it's annoying, users can choose an automatic mode.


Because it works in one coin cell battery(CR2032), it is available in foreign countries varying of the voltage. The size is 88mm x 30mm x 55mm and weight is about 46g. The price is 19,440yen(in tax), but this accepts advance reservations in Makuake of crowdfunding platform, and you can buy it more cheaply here.

2.02.2017

Programming study toy for kids

Programming class becomes the compulsory subject in elementary schools in Japan from 2020. This may help the programming study of children.


Sony Global Education and Artec released building toy "KOOV" for the programming learning for children. It is comprised of colorful blocks, electronic parts and application, and children put them together and can make various moving toys. The recipe that showed how to make 22 kinds of toys is included in this set. Vehicles such as s locomotive and a fire engine, creatures such as a crab and a crocodile, musical instruments such as a violin and a guitar, children can learn even the structure of motors, LED, and sensors while playing. In the application, children can learn basics of the programming by visual programming tool. Of course it supports Japanese, even if children do not understand English words, they can study using it. Operating environments of the application are Windows 7(64bit), MacOS 10.9, and iOS 9(iPad).


Packages of KOOV are three kinds, "KOOV starter kit" which has 172 blocks and 16 electronic parts is 39,830yen(in tax), "KOOV expansion parts set" which has 130 blocks and 8 electronic parts is 23,630yen(in tax), and "KOOV advance kit" which has 302 blocks and 4 electronic parts is 53,870yen(in tax).

1.26.2017

Stuffed robot which watches families

The appearance of robots is important. In particular, when they are used by children and elderly people, the cute appearance rouses their attachment. NTT DoCoMo, IWAYA, Vitec and MOOREdoll released the communication robot with the appearance such as the stuffed toy "Cocokuma".


The target users are people who live apart from their family. Cocokuma holds buttons in both hands one by one and when users push the button of the left hand of the stuffed toy and talk to this, they can send a voice message to the smartphone of the family living apart. In addition, users can hear the voice message that families sent from smartphone application by pushing the button in the right hand of this.



Furthermore, this has a sensor and speaks the topic of weather and season when users get closer to this. Families of users can confirm the safety of users by checking the use situation of this through smartphone application. The size is 210mm x 200mm x 280mm and weight is about 760g. The price is 37,584yen(in tax) and The service fee is 1,980yen/month.

1.13.2017

This lantern emits light with water and salt

It is difficult to get lights in emergency. Particularly, it is life-threatening at the time of a disaster. For such an unexpected situation, HITACHI MAXELL released LED lantern "MIZUSION" which emits light only with water and salt.


This has the magnesium alloy called the power-bar, this becomes negative electrode, oxygen becomes positive electrode, salt water becomes electrolye ,they generate electricity and an LED light emit light. The usage is easy and only pours salt and water into the lantern. The illumination of the LED light is 2,000 luxes and it's available for continuously lighting about 80 hours. Because we can use this repeatedly by changing power-bar, we can utilize this in not only the emergency but also the outdoor leisure. The size is 95mm x 215mm x 95mm and weight is about 350g. The price is 3,218yen(in tax).

1.12.2017

Japanese local city enlivens lonely dinner in VR

Minamiawaji-shi (南あわじ市), a city in the southern part of Awaji Island in Hyōgo Prefecture released interesting VR contents. It enlivens lonely mealtimes by VR.



Modern people are busy and people living alone increase. They eat alone, but it is not good for mental health. Therefore Minamiawaji-shi reproduces the scenery of the country mealtimes in VR.




The title of this contents is "Verchan Reality", well, it's "Verchan", not Virtual. "Bāchan" means grandmother or old woman in Japanese slang, ”Verchan” is the coined word that parodied it.
When they look in mobile VR goggles, the 360-degree video of the mealtime of the country opens there, and lonely mealtimes become the mealtime of the lively country.



This is one of the projects of Japan's Hometown tax(ふるさと納税). Minamiawaji-shi presents mobile VR goggles "Hacosco" to the people who paid tax to them. Of course this is half something like joke, but it's cool that a Japanese local city uses VR for a joke. Besides, for a tax payment system!

1.05.2017

MR-like brainstorming application "Brastory"

Mixed Reality(MR) attracts attention in the Japanese tech industry as same as virtual reality. User interface design company Up arrows released the brainstorming application "Brastory" that users can experience MR easily.



When users run the application, dry-erase board where some stickies were put on appears on the real scenery. Furthermore, users can change screen size and positions of stickies, choose stickies of own favorite colors, write comment in them and put them on dry-erase board. In other words, this is an MR version of bulletin-board-system, but creative user interface may draw creative ideas from users. We can use this application from Android mobiles and Web browser. The downloading from Google Play is free.