Designs for the Better World

Design

Product design of the ‘smartest’ smart lock robot

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The newest smart lock is finally released. I’m honored to have a chance again to design such great products of Photosynth Inc. This time I designed not only the smart lock itself and the door censor, but the brand new NFC reader, which allows your ID card compatible with the NFC to replace your physical door key.

https://akerun.com/

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New Company in 2016

Hi guys. How did you like 2015? This year was a preparation period for me to do a business I’m thinking of for a while. It’s almost ready and I guess it’s a good chance to let you know.

I’ll start a company to officially launch a new product, which will lead to a large framework in a later stage. The company’s mission is to create framework where creative ideas & inspirations are used for other people to increase the level of human intellect. Actually the new product to be launched soon is a brand-new version of the app I released in 2015 but this time it’s completely designed to work in the business scheme I’m planning.

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http://enfani.jp/en/original/

 

The first app will be released soon. This time adults, not only kids can very much enjoy playing I’m sure. I’ll let you all know when it’s ready for download.

Hope you all have a great year in 2016! Talk to you soon!


Got Good Design Award 2015!

I got the Good Design Award!

Good Design Award is the Japanese comprehensive design evaluation and commendation system, operated by the Japan Institute of Design Promotion.

Akerun” a smart lock robot I designed for Photosynth Inc. has received the Good Design Award 2015. I really appreciate the people of the company for the opportunity to embody such a great concept into a product. The value of this product, I believe, is not composed only of the superficial design, but of the great combination of the beautiful UX/UI designs of the app that realize a high degree of usability and comfort, polite and friendly customer support, etc. all for the purpose of “the most smooth experience at a door without keys”.

For Akerun, I made the product design of the smart lock as well as the brochures, packages, pamphlets etc. and worked on its branding. Together with the company, we’ll be creating great stuff for many years to come! Also I’m personally thinking of making sooooo exciting stuff (IoT).

http://www.g-mark.org/award/describe/42540?token=rLteXHGgoC&locale=en

 

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グッドデザイン賞獲りました!

この度、私がデザインした株式会社フォトシンス(Photosynth Inc.)のスマートロックロボット「Akerun」がグッドデザイン賞2015を受賞いたしました。受賞にあたっては、筐体デザインの機会を与えていただいた同社の皆様のご協力に非常に感謝しております。このプロダクトの価値は、『鍵を意識しない、最高の開閉体験』を実現すべく社員の方々が結集して作り上げられたものであり、使いやすさや心地よさを実現している素晴らしいアプリのUX/UIデザインや熱心で親切なサポートなどがあってのものだと信じています。

Akerunに関しては筐体だけではなくパッケージ、パンフレットのデザインやブランドを担当させていただきました。今後もプロダクトを中心にいいモノを作り出していきますので、応援お願い致します! 個人的にも超ワクワクするモノ創りを考えています。

http://www.g-mark.org/award/describe/42540?token=rLteXHGgoC


Akerun – Smart Lock Robot

Akerun is a smart lock system that enables you to unlock the door when you get close to it (with your smartphone with you) and share the key ‘digitally’ with specific people. Installation is simple; no need to detach the thumb turn.

I made the concept design of Akerun pretty quickly (and the websites, too).
http://akerun.com
https://anytimes.co.jp/smart-lock

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http://akerun.com/


WeOn Glasses Concept Designs Updates

WeON Glasses are the first-ever glasses — optical or sunglasses — which interact with your smartphone or tablet. They offer you several functions, such as notifications, remote control, alerts in case of loss and customization.

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As I mentioned in my previous post, I started concept designs for the second version of WeOn Glasses (the name has been changed from ion glasses). WeOn Glasses were on display on the Mobile World Congress 2014 in Barcelona and my designs have also been featured on TV. Here are some concept designs I worked on so far.

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http://reviews.cnet.com/cell-phones/weon-glasses/4505-6454_7-35835322.html


Aussie Beef Japan Infographic Animation

Created this fun animation clip to help understand the Australian beef.
Storyboarding, designing, total design direction.

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To Design Next Version of ION Glasses

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I’m very happy to announce that I’ll be designing the next version of ION Glasses, the first optical and sun smartglasses that interact with your devices! (The photos below are the current version.)

I’ll update the new design here when it’s ready to publish.

ION Glasses Project is receiving funds now until November 16, 2013.
http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/ion-glasses-first-optical-and-sun-smartglasses-that-interact-with-your-devices


Won reddot design award: best of the best!

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I won the red dot award: design concept 2013 and this time it’s ‘best of the best’ prize! The concept itself is the one I posted on this blog a few years ago, but I revised it based on some positive feedback from the readers for more practical use. I really appreciate everyone who helped this to happen. It’s now live on the red dot’s website.

Infographic Coins are a set of coins whose values are easily recognized by anyone. By utilizing shapes of pie graphs, which are widely used around the world by a variety of ages of people, one can instantly figure out how much these infographic coins are worth. One more important aspect of this concept is that by making the empty space in a pie chart, it saves the usage of materials, which is environmentally friendly.

If I have a chance, I want to mention the reason why I chose this kind of non-digital, old fashioned concept this time somewhere.

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http://www.red-dot.sg/en/online-exhibition/concept/?code=808&y=2013&c=24&a=2

looking glassMy previous work that won the red dot concept award in 2009


New Career as Director

I started working for Japan Advertising Inc. as director from April 2013.
As matter of fact, I used to work for them before, but this time I decided to join them again because

  • Japan AD has a new company policy, challenging to push the boundary of technology forward, which completely fits my freelance direction
  • I’ve been feeling pretty limited when working on large projects as one freelance designer (I now have my own design teams), but I can have people to work on them
  • What I’ve been doing as a freelance designer can be continued (I’m already working on one big project that I’ve been involved in as a freelancer)
  • My craziness and out-of-the-box design direction have already been gotten an official go-ahead by them 🙂

So, here are what I can deal with now;

  • Web design / strategies
  • Smartphone / Tablet UX / UI design, planning, development
  • Branding / rebranding
  • Graphic, motion, digital signage, AR, display design
  • Design consulting
  • Future design concepts (futuristic gadgets, computer interface, etc.)
  • Fantasy User Interfaces (FUI) for concept movies/films
  • Industrial design concepts (mobile devices, etc.)

I’m very happy to be able to broaden and deepen my design career.
You might already know that I’ve been helping some start-ups and know their ‘stuff’ very much, so I’m thinking of working with them in order to get very interesting synergy effects for such as campaigns for big companies.

Please feel free to talk to me at my email address as before, when you want to wow the world!

Japan Advertising Inc. is near Shinjuku, Tokyo.
http://jpn-ad.co.jp/


Desktop Wallpaper for April 2013

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With Calendar
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So from this time I add designs with calendars, responding to the requests from some readers.
Also following the advise from I’ve added my stamp to identify my wallpapers.


‘Think-Positive’ Battery Icon

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Desktop Wallpaper for February 2013 #2

My quote this time (wow)!
Yeah it’s not the end/beginning of a month, but I just wanted to make another one.

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Desktop Wallpaper for February 2013

Dreams are today’s answers to tomorrow’s questions.
Edgar Cayce

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This time I tried Japanese calligraphy by myself (so I’m a bit shy). “叶” is one of my favorite characters that means ‘realize’. It must look different from the original character because I did it completely my way.

I’ve long wanted to collaborate with a calligrapher for my wallpaper art, but I couldn’t find any so I decided to do it myself. Bought a stylus, used the ‘Zen Brush‘ app and tried to awkwardly draw on my iPad 100 times. I was thinking of making a more artistic wallpaper with a Chinese character, but it didn’t turn out so. I’ll try at least a few more times to make it more like the way I want it to be.


Akamon Desk

I’m very excited to have a chance to work with MONO-LAB Japan, where I helped refine their desk called Akamon Desk.

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The idea was there and they already had prototypes when they called me. So what I did was to rethink the whole concept, make it simple and elegant and add some features based on the concept, which are all introduced on this page.

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http://www.mono-lab-japan-store.com/desk.html


Marco – Cleverest Digital Pet (Concept) That Loves You

Among so many gadgets that know you, which one of them loves you?

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Knows stuff around you

Smartens non-smart items

Ever wished you could do the ‘Search” for your lost item in the real world? Marco sees you and your room, remembers the locations of your belongings where Marco last saw them. Let Marco ‘sniff’ your car key to get him to memorize and trace it. When you lose it, ask him where it is. Marco takes you to the location and lets you know with his laser pointer. Nobody wants to plug everything to the internet. With Marco, you won’t need to.

marco3_image8bMake the item you want Marco to memorize close enough for him to ‘sniff’ it.

room_image2Marco points out the location of the item with his laser pointer.

Motion User Interface

Does more than words

Marco loves you. He does more than just ‘shows’ or ‘says’ that he does, but he moves his body to express his feelings. Also with his cute movements, Marco lets you know alerts and notifications. The movements of Marco depend on the types and importance of the alerts and notifications. Getting an email from your girlfriend with many angry exclamation marks, having a squall in 5 minutes, forgetting your meeting appointment, you notice it with Marco trying to tell you are having a situation.
Marco also recognizes your simple gestures and voice commands.

marco3_image10With its self-balancing system, Marco makes smooth and cute movements for 360 degrees.

room2_image1When you get home after a long absense, Marco will frantically welcome you.

Monitor Your House

When you are away

Yes, you can see your room through Marco with your smartphone when you are away. But, Marco is not just a moving monitor. He is clever enough to answer your verbal questions, such as “Did I turn off the heater?” Of course he makes a phone call for you right after you leave home, “you forgot to lock the door!”.
You can watch and talk with your kids at home when you are away. How about enjoying chasing your kid by remote-controlling Marco?

room2_image2bMarco not just waits for you alone at home. See things at home when you are away with his eyes, moving around with his foot.

marco_babyCan’t wait to see your little baby at home? You can not only see her, but also play with her.

Behaves Like a Pet & More

Apps for characters & skills

Customize the settings to make Marco behave the way you like it, but if you want it to do more tricks, download apps! Hip hop dance, little puppy tricks, snake movements, etc. You can also make settings on how he responds to certain gestures. Based on your choice, Marco will even hide and makes a surprise appearance on your birthday!
Download apps to enjoy AR games. See your Marco through your smartphone and have fun with games both in the digital and physical worlds!

marco3_image7bHave more fun by letting Marco move along with your gestures.

marco_personaThe personality of Marco is up to your choice.

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Desktop Wallpaper for January 2013

An empty canvas is a living wonder… far lovelier than certain pictures.
Wassily Kandinsky

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Happy new year! Hope you’re all having a wonderful year start.

From this year I’m making the desktop wallpaper even simpler than the past years; without a calendar! I rarely refer to the dates on my wallpaper, so this is to try to make things simple and efficient.

My resolution for 2013 is to “disseminate” my ideas and messages to the world more and more. First of all I’ll publish an ebook for Kindle soon (I need advice on technical and tax issues). I’m also working on a few products to be released this year (hopefully). In any case I always try to be passionate enough to do the above. In order to do so, I’ve been buying red items around me and try to wear at least one red thing every day. My favorite color is actually blue, but the color for 2013 is red.

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Calendar Desktop Wallpaper: December 2012

Even in winter an isolated patch of snow has a special quality.
Andy Goldsworthy

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Calendar Desktop Wallpaper: November 2012

The spirit of self-help is the root of all genuine growth in the individual.
Samuel Smiles

Inspired by the beauty of needle ice, which also has the power to raise the whole ground. It reminds me of the spirit of doing-by-myself to change myself.

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Calendar Desktop Wallpaper: October 2012

“Nature always wears the colors of the spirit.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Cake Server Development Project

Project code name “Shiro”

It’s been quite a while since I thought of this cake server concept and from last year I started developing it with a great help from Mono-Lab Japan.

And here are the first photos of the first prototype made just with their 3D printer.
I’ll update the development progress here on my blog and Facebook, so be sure to check it out though the update will be very slow.

I’m thinking of bringing it to public using crowd funding some day.


Sora – Simple Clock Concept

A clock for your desk.

There’s a magnet on the back of the clock, so it stays on the v-shaped stand.

The stand has 7 days printed on it.

Hide the other days with the clock so that only the day of today is revealed.

Only 3 days are printed on one side (I couldn’t arrange more than that), so how about using the back side of the stand for Sunday?

It’s a clock that changes its style every day.


Calendar Desktop Wallpaper: September 2012

Mr.Hollands Opus is one of my most favorite movies. I especially like this scene when he teaches how to play the clarinet.

“Play the sunset” he says to his student, who’s struggling to get the right tone. And that line is so memorable and inspiring that I just can’t forget.

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How to use CaseMyWay & Great News

I announced the beta launch of CaseMyWay Website the other day. Completely customisable cases. CaseMyWay provides an online platform for mobile phone and tablet users to achieve complete customization of their protective cases by creating or uploading their own, fully wrap-around images, from holiday snaps to original artwork, sporting moments to profile pics. Even Instagram, Flickr or Facebook images can be added.

You must have some beautiful photos on Instagram, Facebook etc. Put them together on CaseMyWay to create one original case for your phone!


The print quality is actually much much better than I expected thanks to the MT3 technology, embedding ink directly into the case itself. It is not a surface sticker and will not peel off or scrapeaway with daily use. And here are some photos of the cases of my design. Believe me, I did no photo-retouching.

CaseMyWay is starting with the most popular brands but eventually will offer personalized cases in different materials for every handheld device in popular use. The good news is after full launch in September, CaseMyWay will be offering fully customisable cases in different materials such as leather, neoprene (soft) and even wood with many more features and products, including MacBook cases!!!

CaseMyWay – Press Release


Akebono Room Lamp Concepts

This set of concepts was actually more than 2 years old. I decided to make a post of it before it’s buried under other new ideas.

Presentation PDF

Akebono Lamp Set Concept Introduction

“Makurano-Soshi” is an essay written by Sei-Shonagon, a little more than 1,000 years ago in Japan. The simple and succinct description of it impresses us with its deeply analyzed beauty in a daily life. The essay is referred to as one of the jewels of literature written in the Heian Period. It is so popular that almost all the Japanese people know it and are expected to learn it by heart, the first chart of the essay at school. Therefore, most of Japanese adults still remember at least the first few sentences.

This set of room lamps, “Akebono” has the concept of the beauty of the four seasons described by the writer of Makurano-Soshi.

“Akebono” or dawn in spring
“Yoru” or night in summer
“Yugure” or evening in autumn
“Tsutomete” or early morning in winter

Each of the beauty is crisply depicted with very impressive items found only in the season. There are four lamps with the same concepts in this set. The very reason of choosing these concepts is to bring what is happening outside into the house and to enable those most beautiful moments to be everlasting.
Essentially I tried to bring back:

  • the subtle feeling of happiness that is rarely felt in busy modern daily lives
  • the comfort you can get after long patience
  • Those feelings have long disappeared thanks to technologies that instantly satisfy out needs. I would be delighted if I could experience the same feeling by using the lamps.

    “Akebono” floor lamp

    Mountain Skyline at sunrise in Spring

    春は、あけぼの。やうやう白くなりゆく山ぎは 少し明りて紫だちたる雲の細くたなびきたる。
    “In spring, the dawn with mountain skylines gradually whitening along with thin lines of purple clouds floating in the sky.”

    The mountain rim is expressed by the curved frame. It is lit by a gentle light behind it, just like a mountain at sunrise. In order to see the real view of this, you have to patiently wait for the sun rise in the cold.
    It is a floor lamp used against or close to a wall. The light is thrown towards the wall behind it, so you can see the wall lit upwards, with the shade of a curved body. By using a few of this lamp put side by side, you can enjoy a panoramic view of mountains.

    “Yoru” lamp stand

    Full Moon on a Lake in Summer

    夏は、夜。月の頃はさらなり。
    “In summer, the night. Needless to say a full moonlit night.”

    As can be easily imagined, this represents the moon. Seen from right in front of it, it looks just like the crescent, but you can also see “earthshine”, which is sunlight reflected from the earth, causing the dark side of the crescent dimly visible. It is also known as “the old moon in the new moon’s arms” and this bright and dark combination of the lights makes the moon even more beautiful.
    This dark side of the lamp is made slightly transparent so that it lights up very dimly just like the earthshine. In the modern world it is rare to take time looking up at the moon, much less this dimly lit part of it, but in ancient Japan, it must have been very often watched and fully enjoyed. This lamp brings the precious evening moment to your room.

    “Yugure” floor lamp

    Autumn sunset melting into the earth

    秋は、夕暮。夕日のさして、山の端(は)いと近うなりたるに
    “In autumn, the evening of a sinking sun approaching very close to mountain lines.”

    The sunset in autumn is as red as the sun can be. When it approaches the horizon, it looks like the sun is melting into the earth. With its shape like a half melting ball, this lamp embodies the beauty of the sunset at the same moment. The lamp shade is made of opaque acrylic, but towards the bottom, it gradually becomes transparent. With this shade, the light reaches far longer around the lamp than towards above, so when the lamp is lit, it looks as if the shining ball is sinking into the floor, leaving the floor around brightly lit. The other secret of this brightness is the curved cylinder shaped mirror under the light bulb in the shade, which efficiently reflects the light from the light bulb and throws back towards sides.

    “Tsutomete” lamps

    Charcoal Fire Warmth in early winter morning

    冬は、つとめて。雪の降りたるはいふべきにもあらず。霜のいと白きも、またさらでも、いと寒きに、火など急ぎ熾して、炭もて渡るも、いとつきづきし。
    “In winter, the early morning. Falling snow makes us speechless. It perfectly fits this season to see a whitest frost, or people hastening to carry charcoals with freshly built fires in the braziers.”

    A brazier, which was widely used in ancient Japan in winter to warm up a room, has charcoals on it. The brightly but gently burning red and orange charcoal was the only warmth back then. The atmosphere it creates can never felt by a modern heater that instantly heats up to the temperature you adjust.
    This lamp revives the reddish orange light just like a charcoal does: clumsily tinted in a corner as if it finally caught fire.