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Universal Design in Japan

From: Ross Chambless
Length: 05:48

Why are household appliances and other machines talking in Japan? Read the full description.

Default-piece-image-2 Japan is a country adept to public announcements everywhere, and recently household appliances and other machines are talking automatically. Much of this phenomenon stems from Japanese social indirectness, but also because of the concept of Universal Design, a model for making buildings and public spaces compatible for everyone, regardless of physical ability or culture. But as talking bathtubs and rice cookers are becoming trendy, the line between practical and amusing is getting blurred. Finally, a British speech scientist heading a Japanese research team near Kyoto asks, as machines are working with people, why can't they also talk with people on a social level?

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Piece Description

Japan is a country adept to public announcements everywhere, and recently household appliances and other machines are talking automatically. Much of this phenomenon stems from Japanese social indirectness, but also because of the concept of Universal Design, a model for making buildings and public spaces compatible for everyone, regardless of physical ability or culture. But as talking bathtubs and rice cookers are becoming trendy, the line between practical and amusing is getting blurred. Finally, a British speech scientist heading a Japanese research team near Kyoto asks, as machines are working with people, why can't they also talk with people on a social level?

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Review of Universal Design in Japan

Universal Design is a nice soft feature piece about the increasing trend to use automated voices integrated into product design in Japan. In the piece, we hear automated voices at the train station, in vending machines, crosswalks, parking garages, ski lifts, and household appliances. It's a nice blend of natural sound and interviews, held together with narration from producer Ross Chambless. The piece covers a lot of ground, maybe too much for a single feature, and as a result it sometimes starts to lose focus. Overall, it is a nice, sound rich feature that would be compatible with a magazine program like All Things Considered.

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Review of Universal Design in Japan

Shows how and why Japan is the perfect place to develop this emerging technology that is bound to become more and more integrated into our lives.

I just hope there will always be a way to turn it off in case you prefer not to have your sneakers telling you which way and how fast to go on your morning jog!

Broadcast History

This piece has not been broadcasted

Transcript

UNIVERSAL DESIGN IN JAPAN
Producer: Ross Chambless
RossChambless@hotmail.com

HOST:
UNIVERSAL DESIGN IS A CONCEPT THAT?S BECOMING A TREND ALL OVER THE WORLD. IT?S AN APPROACH TO DESIGNING PRODUCTS, FACILITIES, SERVICES AND ENVIRONMENTS INTENDING TO MAKE THEM AS USABLE AS POSSIBLE FOR AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE, REGARDLESS OF AGE, GENDER, CULTURE, OR PHYSICAL CONDITION. THE IDEA IS ATTRIBUTED TO AN AMERICAN ARCHITECT NAMED RONALD MACE, WHO DEVELOPED SEVEN PRINCIPLES OF UNIVERSAL DESIGN IN THE 1980?S.
BUT ONE THING NOT OFTEN CONSIDERED ABOUT UNIVERSAL DESIGN, IS ITS AFFECT ON OUR EARS AND OUR EVERYDAY SOUND ENVIRONMENT. FACILITIES AND PRODUCTS ARE INCREASINGLY USING AUTOMATED VOICES OR SOUNDS TO HELP THE HARD-OF-HEARING OR THE BLIND. BUT IN JAPAN THESE FUNCTIONS REACH A WHOLE NEW LEVEL.

**********
(REPORTER) ROSS CHAMBLESS:
ABOUT THREE HOURS BY TRAIN FROM TOKYO IS MATSUMOTO,...
Read the full transcript

Timing and Cues

HOST:
UNIVERSAL DESIGN IS A CONCEPT THAT?S BECOMING A TREND ALL OVER THE WORLD. IT?S AN APPROACH TO DESIGNING PRODUCTS, FACILITIES, SERVICES AND ENVIRONMENTS INTENDING TO MAKE THEM AS USABLE AS POSSIBLE FOR AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE, REGARDLESS OF AGE, GENDER, CULTURE, OR PHYSICAL CONDITION. THE IDEA IS ATTRIBUTED TO AN AMERICAN ARCHITECT NAMED RONALD MACE, WHO DEVELOPED SEVEN PRINCIPLES OF UNIVERSAL DESIGN IN THE 1980?S.
BUT ONE THING NOT OFTEN CONSIDERED ABOUT UNIVERSAL DESIGN, IS ITS AFFECT ON OUR EARS AND OUR EVERYDAY SOUND ENVIRONMENT. FACILITIES AND PRODUCTS ARE INCREASINGLY USING AUTOMATED VOICES OR SOUNDS TO HELP THE HARD-OF-HEARING OR THE BLIND. BUT IN JAPAN THESE FUNCTIONS REACH A WHOLE NEW LEVEL.

Related Website

http://matsumotojournal.typepad.com/