Mt. Vernon Register-News

Opinion

November 29, 2013

Seriously, a 'SmartWig'? It's the new gizmo

TOKYO — Just when you thought Sony couldn’t get any more pathetic, the company comes up with the “SmartWig.”

Just because your gizmo designers make a hairpiece that aims to help its wearer navigate roads, check blood pressure, flip through slides in a presentation or perhaps even take photos doesn’t mean a company should admit it, never mind seek a U.S. patent. I can see the marketing slogan now: “The high-tech wig that will make you wish you were bald!”

If this is just a ruse for some bored Sony staffers to win an Ig Nobel Prize, then fine. This American parody of the Nobel Prizes, which honors 10 odd and trivial advances annually that do more to inspire laughter than serve humankind, is quite a phenomenon in Japan. Winners, like the Japanese researchers honored this year for using mice to study how opera affects heart-transplant patients, often become local celebrities.

But Sony seems too serious for comfort about its high-tech toupee. While a spokeswoman told Bloomberg News that Sony hasn’t decided whether to commercialize this new technology, such publicity is often a trial balloon to see what the marketplace thinks. Analysts didn’t miss a beat, instantly framing the wig as Sony’s less-than-impressive answer to its competitors’ wearable-technology products — from Google’s eyeglasses, to Samsung’s smart watches and Apple’s, well, everything.

This is no time for Sony to be dropping hints about a product that inspires only eye-rolling. The mockery is but the latest reminder that Kazuo Hirai may have been a bad choice to restore Sony to relevance.

It’s easy to forget there was elation when Hirai replaced Howard Stringer in April 2012. Whereas Stringer, Sony’s first non-Japanese leader, was a businessman brought in to trim fat and shake up Sony’s insular culture, Hirai was a gadget man.

Text Only
Opinion
  • Remember the pledge Editor:The county board chairman is not being factual with his recent comments concerning the Public Safety Tax Pledge made by the 2004-2010 County Board.First of all, the debt we were facing was caused by the foolish actions of nine board members of

    July 31, 2014

  • Back to the future for death penalty? The surreal national debate over the death penalty reached a climax of sorts July 23 in a prison execution chamber in Florence, Arizona. Double murderer Joseph Wood was put to death by lethal injection shortly after his lawyers went to the Supreme Co

    July 31, 2014

  • Reduce property tax Editor:The regular July meeting of the Rend Lake Conservancy District Board of Trustees is always interesting, and this year was no different. It is at this meeting that the board makes the annual tax levy for the district. Like every year, the debat

    July 31, 2014

  • Away from the tyranny ‘Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency,” the late poet Maya Angelou reflected in an interview with USA Today in 1988. “We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous or honest.”What a poem Angelou might have written about

    July 31, 2014

  • No Headline Provided House and Senate conferees have agreed on a $17 billion bill to address the scandal over poor health-care service at the Department of Veterans Affairs. The legislation is now on a fast track to pass Congress before its August recess, showing that Re

    July 31, 2014

  • Shackled by 'dead men' In theory, the American people’s elected representatives decide every so often how much to tax the public and how to allocate the revenue among various priorities, both short-term and long-term. In practice, however, Congress and the president have a

    July 31, 2014

  • Close the tax loophole that sends US corporations overseas Since we last overhauled our federal tax code, in 1986, countries around the world have lowered their tax rates, leaving the United States with the highest corporate tax rate in the developed word. At the same time, the system has become full of inef

    July 29, 2014

  • Israel and the U.S.: Whose survival instinct is stronger? There’s something darkly coincidental in the fact that the latest weapon to be deployed against the survival instinct of both Israel and the United States is an alleged “heartlessness” when it comes to children. The people of Israel are castigated in

    July 29, 2014

  • College cost isn't big problem for poor students To judge by this summer’s banner policy proposals, the most important question for higher-education reform right now is giving students easier access to loans. But evidence from Canada suggests those changes won’t address the greater need: Getting mo

    July 29, 2014

  • Ducks, geese a blessing I would like to respond to the “Geese and ducks causing problems in Veterans Park” article that was published in the Mt. Vernon Register-News on July 16, 2014. I must share that I do understand that at times there have been a great number of the Cana

    July 29, 2014

Twitter Updates
Facebook
Stocks