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New Panasonic Wearable Mimics A Horse Blinder To Help Open Office Workers Minimize Distractions

Open offices, all the rage earlier in this cycle, are starting to lose their luster. Studies conducted in recent years have found modern open-plan office designs to actually limit employee engagement and productivity rather than foster team collaboration. 

One tech company thinks it has the solution for employees struggling to pay attention in an open office.


Electronics giant Panasonic Corp.’s design studio, Future Life Factory, has partnered with designer Kunihiko Morinaga to create wearable blinders called Wear Space to help with employee concentration and focus. 

The wearables, which resemble horse blinders, limit users' sense of sight and hearing with the use of noise-canceling technology. According to the Japanese company’s website, the headgear was made specifically for digital nomads and workers in open-office environments.

The device is wireless and Bluetooth-enabled and can be connected to users' smartphones, computers and tablets, Dezeen reports

“Workers are finding it ever more important to have personal space where they can focus. Wear Space instantly creates this kind of personal space — it’s as simple as putting on an article of clothing,” the company’s website states. “The device can be adjusted based on the level of concentration you desire, so it adapts to the various situations you’ll find yourself in.”

Open-plan offices are common in office design, particularly for millennial-dominated companies that favor teamwork and open communication. Though a popular and often cheaper design option, research shows the trend can detract from employee productivity.

While office design may never return to the cubicles and corner offices that once dominated office layouts, developers are responding to tenant needs by building more flexible, activity-driven offices with both closed and open workspaces available for whatever employees need, whether that be group collaboration sessions or private rooms in which to take conference calls and hold meetings.