Illuminated wooden box for drinking Japanese sake launches crowdfunding campaign



See the original story in Japanese.

In central Japan’s Gifu Prefecture, there is a graduate university called the Institute of Advanced Media Arts and Sciences, or IAMAS, which has turned out many well known creators. Recently, a new product has been introduced by the university.

That product is the “Hikari Masu”, a wooden box for drinking Japanese sake featuring built-in LED lights that can be controlled through a special smartphone app to light up in different colors and patterns.

The crowdfunding campaign for the “Hikari Masu” project began on July 7th and has now reached 60% of their funding goal with 54 days remaining. Funding will go towards mass production of the product.

The “Hikari Masu” team was formed of graduates of IAMAS and professor Shigeru Kobayashi in September 2013 at an ideathon/hackathon aimed at new product development organized by established ventures in the area. It’s said that one day, when one member of the team who wanted to make a “masu” that lights up no matter what it took, suddenly built a prototype at home and brought it in, that was the deciding factor.

Manufacturing will be handled by Gifu-based hand-crafted wooden box manufacturer Ohashi Ryoki, design and photography by local printing company Sun Messe, hardware development by Trigger Device, and project management and software engineering by Pasona Tech.

The movement from ideathons and hackathons, to prototyping, to finally creating a finished product is a very interesting process to follow. The amount of companies carrying this kind of technological strength in Japan is quite impressive.

If we continue to see the spread of this pattern of using crowdfunding platforms to turn ideas into tangible things, surely we’ll be seeing more and more interesting products coming from many different areas of the country.

Translated by Connor Kirk
Edited by Masaru Ikeda