Panasonic wants to address Japan’s railways’ current issue with dropped earbuds. The electronics manufacturer developed a new vacuum gadget that can remove the earbuds, accidentally dropped by the commuters, from the train tracks.(Photo : (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images))
A train arrives at London Bridge Station June 30, 2003 in London. Network Rail, the railway infrastructure company, has confirmed 2,000 jobs will be axed over the next four years as part of a cost-cutting plan. Network Rail has also said trains might not run on time for years. Unions are now threatening strikes in protest over the job cuts.
According to The Verge‘s latest report, Japan is facing a rise in people dropping wireless earbuds onto the railroads. Panasonic collaborates with JR East, the part of Japan’s previously private railway group that covers the Tohoku and Tokyo regions of the Asian country.
The two companies are now creating a vacuum cleaner-style device. Panasonic claims that it is much better suited to picking up stray earbuds.
It is currently being tested at Ikebukuro station, a major train center in northern Tokyo. The early results suggest that it works quicker compared to the traditional grabber.
Japan’s JR East normally uses the ‘magic hand’ tool
As of the moment, JR East is still using a grabber-style “magic hand” tool to rescue smartphones, hats, and other large items from the train tracks.(Photo : Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
People wait for a commuter train at the Alexanderplatz railway station on June 12, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. Alexanderplatz, a crossing point of tourists, commuters, shoppers, lovers, artists, bums and petty criminals, was built from the rubble of World War II by the communist authorities of former East Germany and today is the nexus of the reunified city.
However, smaller items, such as AirPod Pro, are much harder to retrieve because of the gravel between the rails.
Because of this issue, the train staff will have to wait until the last train made its last round up.
Officials say that earbuds in trail tracks are ‘burdensome’
Japan Times reported that 78 stations in the Tokyo area suffer from about 950 cases of dropped earphones. The incident was recorded from July until September.
JR East or East Japan Railway Co. said that the current record makes up one-quarter of all cases of dropped items. The train railway company said that collecting dropped earbuds is “burdensome” since the train officials have to conduct the search after the last trains of the day.
Aside from JR East, there are also other companies that experience the same issue. These include Keio Corp., Tokyu Corp., West Japan Railway Co., and other railway operators in the country.