|TASKEL is a reflector safety product helping to protect pedestrians from accidents.|
|With the introduction of anti-lock braking systems and other safety features, state of the art technology has been added to automobiles in recent years. However, these and many others are designed to protect the driver and occupants in an accident, and are not always meant to protect others, such as pedestrians and cyclists.
|According to the traffic safety report released by the Cabinet of Japan, the number of casualties and deaths resulting from traffic accidents has recently increased. Specifically during the evening, many of the main causes of likely accidents involve:
- Congested roads,
- Drivers fatigued from work,
- And many pedestrians and cyclists, such as children walking to school or exercising adults.
|In areas of northern Europe, where the hours of daylight can become quite short during parts of the year, various reflectors are used on childrenŐs clothing and bicycles as a pedestrian safety measure.
Because reflectors can be obtained inexpensively and do not require a power source, they have become very convenient to use for such safety concerns.
However, in Japan, this widespread usage of reflectors has not materialised.
Thus, in recognizing that reflectors are inexpensive and can possibly save lives, TASKEL was devised with a concept centred on obtaining optimum effect with minimal investment.
In allowing the reflector on every TASKEL product to be available, we hope to prevent even one pedestrian accident from occurring.
|Reasoning Based in Traditional Japanese Culture
When designing TASKEL with its reflector strap, we thought of the project as a sort of "new sash," re-examining the sash, or /tasuki/, belonging to traditional Japanese culture.
While the historical beginning of the traditional sash is unclear, it has appeared in /Man'y?sh?/, the oldest existing collection of Japanese
poetry, as the word /tama-tasuki/ or "ball sash," and as such, has been familiar to Japanese life for over a millennium.
In the /Kojien/, a Japanese dictionary often regarded as most authoritative, /tasuki/ is defined as "a band tied around the shoulder and underarm in order to pull up long sleeves of traditional clothing."
The act of tying has been a staple in Japanese society, as one finds that in ancient Japan, people often tied blades of grass and thin tree branches in knots as a form of prayer for safety in life and great happiness.
Furthermore, the existence of a Japanese proverb loosely translated as, "Tighten your helmet strings after winning the war" means that the word "tie" must also have implied focusing or closing oneŐs own mind such that he is always on guard.
Put simply, because of the prevalence of "tying" in Japanese history and culture, we came to understand a pedestrian safety product in the form of a sash suggesting a tying action as the form most suitable to adapt to the daily life and customs of Japanese people.
|"Luminescent Sash" Model
When creating a sash or strap that illuminates at night, many products simply add a reflector and go straight to market. We feel that this is not an entirely functional design.
Because a sash-like design in and of itself is rather simple, this approach tends to favour the addition of decorative and ornamental elements over achieving ultimate functionality.
In recognizing this, we decided to put together a simple list of basic functionality requirements for our product.
These 3 requirements are listed below:
1) An adjustable size that accommodates children as well as adults.
2) The ability to put small items (such as keys or cell phone) in an included pocket while walking.
3) The ability to store out of the way when not in use.
During the development stage of our product, we looked closely at using various other types of luminescent technology, but due to our commitment to simple design and function, we ultimately decided against their use.
We aimed for a design such that in the future should luminescent technology continue to be improved, we can use TASKEL as a model foundation for future designs.
TASKEL is currently applying for a patent (Patent application 2006-222870).
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