By OSAMU HIURA/ Staff Writer
August 12, 2022 at 07:00 JST
SAPPORO--Exhausted workers could soon get some rest without feeling self-conscious in a cocoon-like capsule in the corner of their office.
Koyoju Plywood Corp. is developing the Kamin Box (Power nap box), in which people can take a quick nap while standing upright, with technological assistance from Tokyo-based office furniture supplier Itoki Corp.
Recent years have seen a rise in the belief that taking breaks and naps are an important factor for improving productivity in offices.
“We want to make a product that meets the needs of our times,” Koyoju Plywood President Hironari Yamaguchi told a news conference in Sapporo on July 14.
The license agreement signed on the same day allows the plywood manufacturer based in Asahikawa, Hokkaido, to use Itoki’s patent-pending technology. The city is a regional hub of furniture manufacturers in Hokkaido.
According to Itoki’s design, the nap box is equipped with ledges to support the head, hips and knees to prevent the user from falling over.
“(Koyoju Plywood’s) advanced techniques were the decisive factor in the license agreement,” said Itoki President Koji Minato.
Koyoju Plywood will work out details of the product, such as the release date and price.
The two companies are working together through the mediation of North Pacific Bank, based in Sapporo.
The bank has been offering business matching services for intellectual properties since 2021.
It serves as a mediator between large corporations in and outside of Hokkaido that have patents and other rights and Hokkaido-based businesses looking for opportunities to utilize those companies’ expertise.
In addition to the nap box project, the bank said it is supporting similar matching negotiations for three companies.
There were 631 patent applications filed in Hokkaido in 2020, making it 27th among the nation’s 47 prefectures, according to the Hokkaido Bureau of Economy, Trade and Industry.
The figure has remained on the same level in recent years.
The bureau is calling on small and midsize businesses in Hokkaido to use subsidies and make use of intellectual properties.
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