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Monday, October 20, 2008

Wake me up at.... Subway Sleep Masks

The Japanese had to go one further than the "
Wake me up at XXXXX station", stickers that you might have seen on the London Underground. The stickers were for people, like me, who want to be woken up before they miss their stop. Manga artist Pyocotan has invented "Noriko-san," a sleep mask which has an electronic scrolling display fitted inside that tells fellow commuters where the wearer wants to get off.

Return of the Tube Fashion Victims

The video below shows the mask in action - but in this instance the Japanese haven't quite got it right:


Sadly it didn't work. The theory is that other passengers will feel compelled to wake you up so they can sit in the empty seat you leave behind or just wake you up out of courtesy. In this video above, passengers probably thought he looked like a weirdo and no one woke him.

Pink Tentacle said: "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.
" Thanks to Jon Justice for letting me know about this.


It's a lot cheaper, but possibly not much more effective, to spend four quid on a set of "Wake Me Up at .... Stickers" and hope that someone does indeed wake you up.


As the instructions above imply, the problem is getting the stickers off the sheet in the first place. I'd add to that being sober enough to write your station on them, that's if you don't live at one of the most frequently used Tube stops that are already printed on them. You also need to hope that you don't fall asleep with your head down or have long hair that covers up the sticker.

I still stupidly rely on my "luck" with the Tube fairies, who have the sense to wake me up at roughly the right time. But on a number of occasions they've really let me down badly and I've woken up near Heathrow airport too many times than I'd like to admit. I also have that 30 second confusion thing if I just about wake up right at the station I need. It takes 30 seconds to get to the side of the carriage where the doors are opening, collect my thoughts and make sure I have all my bits with me. Usually by then the doors are just closing and I'm off on another trip to Acton Town, hoping not to fall asleep yet again and end up in Hatton Cross.

Any techniques which don't involve spending four hundred quid on a proto type "future boy" looking sleep mask & people's good Samritaness would be most welcome.


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