Meet Japanese Companies with Quality
Category: IoT and Software
Art and technology merge in a stylish accessory/recorder
Sometimes, it is not enough to simply come up with a product or application that works well. For the devices that we keep closest to us, we often require a more personal connection to our technology. With that in mind AO, LLC, is developing a one-touch wireless recorder that can be worn as jewelry.
The owner of AO is h.Takumi Tanaka, who worked as a fashion designer in Europe before bringing his sense of style to a new product called CLIP VoICe, a tiny Bluetooth-connected voice recorder that can be worn as an attractive, and technologically functional, accessory.
“I didn’t just want to create something to wear but something more useful,” Tanaka says. “I wanted to contribute more to society through my work.”
One of the biggest strengths of Tanaka’s CLIP VoICe is its small size – it measures three by four centimeters and weighs only 19 grams, allowing it to be worn on a shirt or lapel. The current model of the device can record up to 40 minutes’ of messages. Connected via a low-energy Bluetooth connection and a companion app called CLIP, the system can upload and tag recordings with a user ID and GPS information. As Tanaka explains, these tags could allow the CLIP VoICe to link specific voice data to a variety of locations, which could then be played back to other users of the app when they come to those spots.
CLIP VoICe’s Function and Form
The look of CLIP VoICe speaks to Tanaka’s design background. Inspired by the geometric arrangement of rocks in one of the gardens of Kyoto’s Ryoan-ji Temple, the recorder’s surgical steel exterior is shaped like a multifaceted stone. Users are as likely to be drawn to the features of the device as they will to its unique looks.
Tanaka adds that future versions will look less like jewelry and more like shirt buttons, and the modularity of the device could give it the capability of connecting directly to the cloud. Thanks to its wearability, CLIP VoICe could be used in home nursing, for example, allowing caregivers to record patient details with one touch, with no need to hold a recorder in their hand. These recordings could be tagged with the GPS data of a patient’s home, giving substitute staff easy access to updated details about their patients.
AO’s Designs for the Future
The recorder is still in the prototype stage, and the company filed their first patents in 2015. However, Tanaka and his team were so inspired by the reaction to the product at San Francisco’s TechCrunch exhibition in September 2015 through JETRO’s Innovation Program, that they are now seeking investors to move on to full production. An online crowdfunding campaign has also raised more than ¥310,000. With support from overseas partners like the IBM Global Entrepreneur Program. AO had a product showcase in December 2015 at Tokyo’s Isetan Shinjuku department store. Their immediate goal is to have CLIP VoICe on the market by March 2016, and Tanaka hopes that AO can make a major impact not only as a device manufacturer, but as the administrator of new audio communications solutions.
Based on interview in December 2015