All About Japan

Hot Gear from the 2014 Good Design Awards

Technology Sports

Every year since 1957, Japan’s Good Design Awards have honored products that are designed in such a way to have a positive impact on people’s lives. The award system, which is now operated by the Japan Institute of Design Promotion, released their list of 2015’s Good Design Best 100 award winners at the end of September.

Tangram Smart Rope

This year, 1,337 winning designs (submitted by 909 companies) were chosen from a total of 3,658 entries. Out of the winners, a further select few were chosen to be in the Best 100, and an even more select few will be named as Special Award Winners during the Good Design Exhibition 2015 to be held in Tokyo on October 30.

Upon the announcement, Japanese net users couldn’t stop buzzing about an LED-embedded jump rope: the “Smart Rope,” which is manufactured by Tangram Factory, Inc., with offices in Seoul and New Jersey, U.S.A.

The humble jump rope is a perennial favorite of both children and pro-athletes around the world, but Tangram’s Smart Rope is much more than a simple bit of woven cord. This fitness tool comes complete with 23 LEDs embedded inside the rope section that digitally display your number of jumps and calories burned in mid-air as you exercise. Furthermore, an app being developed by the same company allows you to track and customize your workout data, as well as to share it over social media.

Nike Rise 'House of Mamba' LED Basketball Court

Speaking of LEDs, did you hear about the Nike Rise ‘House of Mamba’ LED basketball court that was built in China and comes complete with custom motion-tracking capabilities? That also won a 2015 Good Design Best 100 Award!

Adidas miCoach Smart Ball

The next two products aren’t related to the Good Design Awards, but their pioneering use of technology was certainly enough to stop us in our tracks. First, there’s Adidas’ miCoach SMART BALL, which tracks the velocity, number of rotations, and even the projected course of the ball when you kick it.

Yoga SmartMat

Soccer (or football) not really your thing? Then how about yoga? The yoga SmartMat is being developed for yoga junkies who want individualized instruction with a virtual instructor in the privacy of their homes. Most impressively, the mat’s built-in pressure sensors provide specialized advice on your posture and position on the mat in real-time. It also comes with three modes—one for use at home, one for class, and one for Zen time (during which it essentially functions like a regular, non-talking yoga mat).

If these inspirational products have left you thirsting for even more creative ideas, be sure to check out the complete list of the Good Design Best 100 winning designs here!

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