We’ve covered many products developed by Thanko – that company always seems to have clever ideas and is never afraid to flirt with madness – in the past. Their upside-down desk, and upside-down cushion both look very tempting, whereas their more ambitious products such as camera glasses and the Fanbrella seem inherently flawed with poor battery performance.

Whether Thanko’s newest release, the USB Pollen Blocker crosses the crazy train tracks remains to be seen.

With allergy season in Japan just a few months away, many Japanese are likely already feeling pangs of despair in the pit of their stomach as they recall last year’s runny noses, itching eyes and fits of sneezing brought on by airborne pollen from the vast numbers of cedar trees planted in the country following World War II. Thankfully, USB Pollen Blocker is the next step in allergy relief technology.

It is well documented that Japanese citizens have deemed it culturally acceptable to walk around wearing surgical masks in order to escape the clouds of pollen around them, but face masks have their problems too. They don’t cover the face completely and can irritate the skin, especially for glasses wearers.

Thanko’s amazing biohazard-esque offering completely encases the user’s head in its protective nylon hood, yet actually makes little contact with it. This means your makeup is left undisturbed and even your hair will suffer minimal tousling. It’s also fashionably designed in school bus yellow, sure to work with any ensemble.

By now you might be wondering “How the heck am I supposed to breathe in that thing?” Well, Thanko took care of that by installing a filtered fan in the top which is powered by a USB cable. This allows you to keep fresh air circulating while you carry out any number of activities within a cable-length of an available USB port such as office work, hanging laundry, studying, or gardening (near a computer).

At this point you may also ask, “Well, how can I hear anything with that dang fan running?” To which Thanko might reply, “Geez, you ask a lot of questions. Fine, we’ll measure the sound levels inside the hood.

On the weakest setting it puts out between 50 and 60dB of noise which is about the level of a fridge, weak air conditioner, or pleasant conversation about where to buy tea. Even at its peak strength the fan only puts out around 65dB or a slightly more enthusiastic conversation about spoon collecting.

Still not satisfied? Why not listen to Thanko President and USB Pollen Blocker user “Tafuffun Anghughu.”

There, that should have cleared things up for any lingering USB Pollen Blocker cynics. Despite all of its apparent setbacks, I guarantee anyone who’s suffered through a Japanese hay fever season would give the 3,980 yen (US$38) purchase some deep consideration if it truly works as it says.

Source: Thanko via IT Media (Japanese)