Gadgets: The IoT for Better Bike Security
A strong solid lock is required gear for any cyclist, especially if you have a decent bicycle, but is it really enough to keep your precious two-wheeler safe? The product we introduce in our "Gadgets" segment will protect your bike from theft using brains, not brawn. Created by NEXTSCAPE, it's a uniquely Japanese take on cycle security, taking it into the 21st century with an elegant and effective solution, and a substantial dash of high-tech magic.
"AlterLock" is a smart lock linked to the IoT. Easily installed behind the bike's bottle cage, it features a vibration-activated alarm to deter any would-be thief. But should the bicycle be taken away, the device also uses GPS to track its movement, which can be monitored via a smartphone with a dedicated app. And even if you're away at a location without Bluetooth reception, you can access the AlterLock's tracking record for about a month, so you can park your bicycle anywhere with peace of mind.
Special Report: Wood That Can Take the Heat
Although forests make up about 70% of Japan's land area, sadly, Japan's lumber resources have long been underutilized. In this "Special Report," we visit an interesting answer to this problem: the largest wooden concert hall in the world. Located in Yamagata Prefecture, it's made out of wood ... but it's fireproof! This is thanks to a new eco technique that could help revitalize the forestry industry and make good use of a valuable resource. Join reporter Yuka Matsumoto to find out more.
The Shelter Nanyo Hall was built with cedar grown in Yamagata Prefecture. Its supporting columns are made with a special technique called "COOL WOOD" consisting of a wooden core covered by a fireproof material with an extra outer layer of wood. In case of a fire, the outer layer burns off, but the fireproof material keeps the core untouched. Developed by manufacturer Shelter, the columns have been internationally patented as a fireproof building material.