Electronic sleep mask
For drowsy train commuters afraid of sleeping past their stop, inventor and manga artist Pyocotan has developed “Noriko-san,” a sleep mask with an electronic scrolling display that communicates the wearer’s destination to fellow passengers.
Noriko-san is designed to give sleepyheads greater peace of mind (and thus a deeper level of sleep) by increasing the odds that a stranger will wake them in time. In theory, other passengers feel compelled to act either out of courtesy or simply so they can sit in the empty seat left behind. Here’s a video of Pyocotan testing a prototype on Tokyo’s Yamanote line.
The video shows Pyocotan board the Yamanote line at Nishi-Nippori station. When a seat becomes available, he sits down, slips on the mask and goes to sleep. The mask’s scrolling message reads: “I will get off at Mejiro station.” Unfortunately, nobody wakes him up when he arrives. The test fails.
Pyocotan admits that Noriko-san is not 100% effective, perhaps because the unusual appearance makes other passengers feel uncomfortable and prevents them from acting. But the device will likely grow more effective as it becomes more widespread, he suggests. Until then, the fact that the mask might encourage others to act makes it a little easier for the user to relax and sleep more soundly.
Noriko-san cost about 20,000 yen ($200) to develop.