Japan’s semi-functional air conditioner capsule toys promise to help us cope with the summer heat

Summer is a hot, humid time in Japan, so these days SoraNews24’s star reporter Mr. Sato is looking for ways to stay cool. His cheapness, however, is a year-round part of his personality, so that of course has to be incorporated into any of his plans to cope with the steamy weather. So when Mr. Sato spotted an air conditioner being offered for just 300 yen (US$2.75), he immediately knew this was an interior upgrade he couldn’t pass up, especially when its maker boasted that there were no installation or maintenance fees for the unit. Thoroughly sold, he tossed three hundred-yen coins into the capsule toy vending machine stocked with manufacturer Stasto’s In-Capsule Appliances-The Air Conditioner (or Capsule de Kaden The Cooler, to use its official Japanese product name). Some assembly was required, but it was no problem for a man who’s built both a house and a toilet inside his office. Everything snaps together, so there’s no need for glue, tape, or any other sort of adhesives. At this point you might be thinking that this miniature A.C. unit is entirely decorative, like the capsule toy rice cookers we bought a while back. But while quirky aesthetics are definitely a bi...

The strange, untold story of CES 2018, the trade show that refuses to die

Welcome to WIRED UK. This site uses cookies to improve your experience and deliver personalised advertising. You can opt out at any time or find out more by reading our cookie policy. Its downfall has been predicted for years, yet CES endures. Fifty years after its debut, this is the inside story of the greatest trade show on Earth A human dancer performs next to a “stripper robot” at the Sapphire Gentlemen’s Club on the sidelines of CES 2018 in Las Vegas on January 8, 2018 I was somewhere around the Aria, on the edge of Las Vegas Strip, when the drugs (two DayQuil tablets) began to take hold. I had been running around all day, lugging a brown leather satchel, a recorder, a notebook, and an acid-green lanyard from which dangled a badge with a photo of my face, my name, a QR code, and the label MEDIA. I had just left the Bellagio’s Monet Salon, where I had attended a 100-person China Night – a gala, really, complete with cream-coloured tablecloths, wrought-iron chandeliers, and liveried waiters. The men and women at the tables wore dark business suits and pantsuits. There was a stage at the bottom of the hall, where a presenter introduced a series of high-profile speakers....