Panasonic’s Human Blinkers basically contradict themselves

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This extreme dystopia alert comes courtesy Panasonic. The blinkers you see above and below were designed by the company, allegedly to combat the distractions involved with open workspaces. Preferring a more compartmentalized office space, Panasonic’s design studio (titled Future Life Factory) partnered with Japanese designer Kunihiko Morinaga to create the Wear Space, a literal pair of blinkers to help cut out external buzz and distractions and get you to focus on your work in front of you by reducing your peripheral vision by 60%.

The idea, Panasonic says, is to allow employees to find their place of zen in an open workspace. However, the blinkers are designed to zero your vision on a screen, the very item most companies are trying to get you to look away from. The screen, be it the one in your workspace, or the one on your phone, can be an absolute attention grabber in its own right, and the open workspace was created to combat this very problem of being too absorbed by the wall of pixels in front of you. Open workspaces promote social interaction, often relieving your eyes and mind from the adverse effect of ‘too much screen time’. Panasonic believes that the users of the Wear Space will wear these blinkers of their own accord, in an attempt to focus. However, the blinkers seem like a step backward in forcing compartmentalization in the workspace (probably even defeating the purpose of allowing you to focus on your work by making you and your headgear the subject of everyone’s attention). Call me a skeptic, but I think screens are addictive enough… and if you still find yourself unable to focus, a good pair of noise-canceling headphones should definitely do the trick.

Designers: Panasonic Future Life Factory & Kunihiko Morinaga.

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Panasonic’s Any-Battery Flashlight is a great example of inclusive design

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While inclusive design would most ideally be about taking into consideration users of every walk of life, of every culture, race, economic status, whether they’re healthy or not, Panasonic’s Any-Battery Flashlight is inclusive in its own way. Rather than sticking to a single battery standard, this unusual flashlight works with quite literally any pencil battery.

With the ability to run on D, C, AA, and AAA batteries, the Any-Battery flashlight gives you the freedom to use any battery you may have lying around (making it a wonderful place to use spare batteries too). The flashlight shines at 200 lux, emitting a strong beam when needed, and even switches down to 3 lux, turning it into an ambient light for illuminating spaces much like a lantern would. The flashlight comes built with an LED too, allowing you to get as many as 86 hours of illumination at a time!

Designer: Panasonic

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