Panasonic is working with one of Japan’s biggest railroads to tackle a new problem that has arisen in recent years: the rise of people dropping wireless headphones on trains.
JR East, a division of Japan’s former private rail conglomerate that covered the Tokyo and Tohoku regions of the country, said there had been 950 headphone crash crashes on 78 Tokyo train stations in the seventh quarter. 9, Jiji Press reported. This figure seems to account for a quarter of the total number of reduced items.
According to JR East, station attendants often use a pick-up “magic hand”; tool to pick up larger objects that fall on rails, such as hats or smartphones. But the gravel between the rails makes smaller objects – such as an AirPod Pro on the left – more difficult to pick up, meaning employees sometimes have to wait until after the last train.
To address this issue, Panasonic teamed up with JR East on a vacuum cleaner-style device deemed much better suited for picking up lost headphones. You can see it in the image above.
The device is being tested at Ikebukuro Station, a major hub north of Tokyo, and initial results suggest it works much faster than a traditional grabber.