Sleep aid device Mimipokka skips the tunes to focus on relaxation and destressing.

Whenever Japanese gadget maker Thanko comes up with a new idea, you can expect it to be baffling, brilliant, or maybe a little of both. The company describes its goal as to create useful, interesting solutions to everyday problems, like clip-on fans to keep your armpits from sweating or a personal kitchen appliance that just makes pies.

So here comes Thanko’s latest invention: a pair of what anyone looking at them would guess are earphones, but which play no music.

That’s because they’re actually a sleep aid device. “Oh, OK, so they play some sort of white noise to help you relax, right?” you might be guessing, but that’s not the case either, because these “earphones” don’t have any speakers at all. Instead, they have heaters.

Thanko calls them Mimipokka, a combination of mimi (“ears”) and pokapoka (“warm and cozy”). Pop them in before you lay your head on the pillow, and Thanko says their gentle warmth will help you relax and destress, letting you drift off into the sort of tranquil sleep necessary to recharge your body and mind.

▼ Thanko says the earpieces are compact and fit securely enough that you can even wear them while sleeping on your side with no discomfort.

You can adjust the setting for three levels of warmth, and a timer can be set to automatically power down the device after 30 minutes, so that it’s not running all night long. Power is routed to the earphone-style heaters via USB cable, although with no internal battery you’ll have to connect or plug in the Mimipokka to some other power source.

Of course, they’re usable during daylight hours too. In addition to overnight sleeping, Thanko recommends using the Mimipokka for afternoon naps, when traveling, on your commute to and from the office, or, as shown in the bottom-right photo below, during “pointless work meetings” (ムダな会議に).

▼ Though they’ll probably work best if you have long enough hair to hide the cords from your boss’ line of sight.

Mimipokka are available through Thanko’s online store here, priced at 4,980 yen (US$33). Just make sure not to drop them into the company’s rice-and-rice-bowl-topping cooker.

Source, images: PR Times
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