Japanese electronics manufacturer Sharp will sure hope that their new product will somehow hit it big, but it’s already a challenge to see if it is even going to be marked as practical – the company is coming out with a new… err, chopping board. For all intents and purposes, it will be an online gadget as well – with internet connectivity and other interactive things you can do with it (while chopping up the food, that is) – and a fully functional chopping board.
The prototype for this product is being called by Sharp as the Chop-Syc, and traces its roots six months back when Sharp Europe ran a competition called “#GetItDownOnPaper”. The competition allowed students and graduates in Europe to submit ideas for solutions to everyday problems by sharing them on Twitter. The winner of the competition was Siobhán Andrews, a student of Sustainable Product Design at Falmouth University, England, whose idea for an interactive cutting board apparently impressed the judges as well as the folks at Sharp Laboratories. This is not any ordinary cooking implement – it is also an interactive gadget with a WiFi connection that functions much like a tablet. It’s a tablet AND you can chop up things on it as the board is made from a special type of toughened scratch-resistant glass, but also employs the digital touch-sensitive screen that Sharp is famous for.
The Chop-Syc has its own browser, and can also serve as a weighing scale, a calculator, a recipe book, and even a place where you can order your vegetables and food items online when you’re running low. Managing Director of Sharp Laboratories of Europe, Ian Thompson, has commented that the Chop-Syc “solves a genuine human need to tackle the global issue of obesity through the integration of healthy recipes and portion sizes.” This is all well and good, but now that the product has been announced, the response from Japanese netizens is probably not what the people at Sharp were hoping to hear.
Many are questioning the idea of integrating the tablet with the board – nice as it is to be able to browse the Net while cutting up your greens for your lunch salad – as many people say that you can just as easily bring over your tablet with you while cooking. Another question is – can you wash it? It’s a pretty practical question, one that has not been answered by Sharp to date, but is something that you normally associate with kitchen implements and not one you associate with mobile gadgetry. We at JDP would also like to know if the strengthened glass can take the force that it needs to slice up frozen meat – we love our meat here. Our normal wooden chopping board can, and we are surely not thinking of browsing when we cut up our meat.
Comments Off on JDP Startup Corner: Pros & Cons of Working with a Partner in Japan