So many wireless headphones fall on the train tracks that Panasonic has invented a tool to collect them


A JR East operator uses the Panasonic tool to retrieve AirPods at a train station in Japan

Once a wasteland of fallen keys, dentures and trash, the train and subway tracks adjacent to the platform are now littered with wireless headphones that accidentally drop as passengers get on and off trains. The problem is so bad that East Japan Railway Co. has associated with Panasonic for develop a long-necked vacuum you can easily recover these precious artifacts.

According to East Japan Railway Co., better known as JR East by locals, between July and September this year alone, there were 950 reports of wireless headphones falling on the tracks at 78 different Tokyo stations. Considering that these devices can sometimes cost over $ 200, people often ask JR East employees to retrieve them immediately, rather than waiting for the cleaning staff to safely scan them once. they have finished. the last train of the day is gone.

Previously, stations relied on simple gripping devices with a claw on the end of a long pole that opened and closed to pick up large items like clothing, shoes, water bottles, and trash. But AirPods wireless earbuds are so small that they often end up falling into rocks and crevices, making them impossible to retrieve with these existing tools.

JR East’s solution was to partner with Panasonic to create a device that resembles a cordless handheld vacuum cleaner. An extended neck allows you to reach the rails while operating safely from the station platform. Instead of a claw at the end, it has a series of very tight hoses that grab a small object by suction, without actually sucking it into the tube.

The vacuum cleaner is being tested these days at JR East Ikebukuro Station and even though it was only proven that it can recover Apple AirPods, its design should allow for the safe retrieval and retrieval of any type of wireless handset that has been accidentally dropped from the base. If it eventually goes into service, Panasonic will launch the custom accessory that the cordless vacuum cleaner pickup tool is based on and sold directly to consumers, because subway and train platforms are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes. of headphones. . I heard they accidentally fell and got lost.

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