Could air-conditioned clothes be the next big thing? Japanese inventor Hirosho Ichigaya seems to think so. The former Sony engineer has created a company called Kuchofuku (“air-conditioned clothing” in Japanese) to help beat the heat of the Japanese summer. There is a shortage of power in Japan following the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis in March. Many offices and schools must not turn their air-conditioning below 27 degrees. Around 1,000 companies in Japan, including Toyota, have bought Kuchofuku for their staff.
Mr Ichigaya started Kuchofuku in 2004 after working on finding more energy-efficient alternatives to air conditioners. He wanted to find a way to reduce global warming. His company is now struggling to meet the orders for his clothes, which have become the must-have item of the summer. All of the clothes have small fans inside them. These make a non-stop breeze and evaporate sweat. Ichigaya said: "People ask me why I would want to wear a jacket when it's so hot. I tell them because it's cooler than being naked.”