Typing in Japanese can be a real pain. Whereas using the Roman alphabet to type on a keyboard is a relatively direct and easy issue, typing in Japanese usually involves a lot of converting (i.e. from the Japanese alphabet Hiragana to the Chinese characters called Kanji). Also, there sometimes are multiple Kanji to choose from which is nothing but an additional hassle.
So anything which makes it easier to enter Japanese characters on a PC should be highly welcomed. That is why I decided to blog about a device a friend of mine pointed me to.
New type of remote controller for PCs
The パソコンのリモコン (pasokon no rimokon/PC remote controller) is offered by a company called Tokyo Ergo Corp. and was already introduced at the CEATEC exhibition last year in Chiba. Although I was there, I didn’t see the product.
Tokyo Ergo says the device makes it possible to use a PC with one hand and claims it can fully substitute both a keyboard and a mouse (I haven’t tried it yet)! The remote controller is connected to a PC with a 2 meter cable (USB) and weighs 70 grams.
While mouse movements can be mimicked by just moving the button located on the top of the device, input of Japanese characters is a little trickier. To convert words written in the Roman alphabet or Hiragana to Kanji, it is necessary to observe the screen where a special control switch is displayed. The character which is to be typed in can then be chosen from by moving the button on the screen’s control panel (which is possible in 6 different directions).
While this sounds very cumbersome, Tokyo Ergo claims 1.5 Japanese characters can be written per second this way, given the user practiced a bit with the system!
I am not sure if the world needs this piece of hardware but it might be a cool gimmick for some hardcore geeks. The company says its product can be used on a private basis (i.e. for operating a PC while lying down), by handicapped/injurered persons, during business presentations or by sales clerks who don’t have to sit down to operate a PC for demonstrating products to customers.
The device is steeply priced at 13,650 Yen (128 USD/85 Euro) and is available through the company’s online shop.