Panasonic Is Developing A Wrap-Around Device To Block Out Peripheral Vision In Offices

Alisha McKinney - Author
By

Oct. 17 2018, Updated 4:51 p.m. ET

Wear Shape is a new concept and prototype, originally created by Panasonic Corporation’s Future of Life design studio. The early version of this possible office-wear product was shown at SXSW earlier this year, where it won design awards; however makers are now raising money for the device by utilizing the crowdfunding site known as GreenFrog.

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Wear Shape is reported by The Verge as a lightweight, wrap-around, U-shaped screen made of soft fabric, concealing a pair of Bluetooth headphones. Its purpose is to cancel out noise and cut off horizontal view by about 60 percent, thereby creating a sense of concentration while working in a busy office environment. The crowdfunding site calls this capability “psychological personal space” for open-pan office spaces that can be otherwise distracting for employees.

According to Dezeen, the device can be adjusted for individual levels of comfort and in order to gain better viewing capabilities. This can be done by pulling or pushing the two ends of Wear Shape either together or apart, which would narrow or widen visibility depending on the preference for level of concentration.

Kang Hwayoung is a member of the team designing this high-tech product. He recently spoke with Japan Times, insinuating to journalists that popular open-pan offices have taken away the ability for some to concentrate on their work. As Japan Times put it, the fabric partition covering a person’s face would certainly stop any form of small talk or office communication between co-workers.

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“…everyone sometimes wants to be alone and concentrate. When someone is wearing the Wear Space, you can clearly see that the wearer wants to focus. We think this is quite important. As open offices and digital nomads are on the rise, workers are finding it ever more important to have personal space where they can focus. Wear Space instantly creates this kind of personal space – it’s as simple as putting on an article of clothing.”

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Reports show that Panasonic Corp is wishing to raise approximately $133,000 USD through Japan’s GreenFrog crowdfunding site, citing that each 330 gram unit of Wear Space will cost around $250 USD. Development is being sped up by not attaching Panasonic’s brand name directly to the device, since doing so could potentially increase internal procedures, claims the team of developers. Kang and Panasonic hope to send out 500 units for Wear Shape, shipped only within Japan. Decision to mass produce Wear Shape will be made after observing reactions to the crowdfunding site.

Despite all of the words being spoken about Wear Shape’s capabilities, Kang did notify reporters that as of yet, no research has been conducted to back up the claims for the device’s ability to improve concentration levels.

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