One of the drawbacks of TWS headphones is clearly how easy they go missing. Unlike wired headphones, or even wireless headphones that are connected via a neckband, TWS options like the AirPods Pro are made up of individual earbuds that can simply fall into crevices—and get lost forever. However, Panasonic is teaming up with a railway company in Japan to develop a solution of sorts.
In Japan, railway companies are working on ways to solve an issue, one that pertains to dropped headphones in railway tracks. According to JR East, there have been around 950 cases of dropped earphones across 78 railway stations in Tokyo between July and September 2020. These form a quarter of all dropped items in railway stations.
The objects are usually retrieved with manual grabber tools, but the small size of TWS headphones make this a challenge. As such, railway operators have been calling on passengers to be careful with their headphones, and to avoid dropping them when disembarking/embarking on trains. This is because of the “burdensome” method that officials have to employ to retrieve these devices—often after the last train of the day.
Meanwhile, Panasonic and JR East are teaming up to develop a device that will pick up these headphones—with a vacuum cleaner-like design. This supposedly picks up these lost headphones “much faster” than the manual alternative, although we don’t have much more information on the actual specs of the product.
JR East has, however, released a couple of images of the vacuum cleaner retriever:
For now, Panasonic’s new device is being tested at the Ikebukuro railway station in north Tokyo. Initial trials appear to be positive, although officials warn that customers should still ask railway staff to help with dropped items. The next time you’re in Tokyo, you might notice officials using a vacuum cleaner on the tracks—just don’t drop your AirPods by accident.
[ SOURCE , IMAGE SOURCE ]