Touring the Sony Archives in Tokyo: Walkmans, robotic canine and a golden guinea pig

Touring the Sony Archives in Tokyo: Walkmans, robot dogs and a golden guinea pig

Sony has had some robust occasions lately, and whereas it is lastly began to make some troublesome modifications in a bid to show its fortunes round, the Archives constructing is the place the corporate’s success tales stay perpetually. A good distance from most of Sony’s excessive-rise buildings in Shinagawa, it is a nicely-stocked pantheon to every little thing that made the electronics maker what it’s at the moment. It is open to the general public (as lengthy you make an appointment), and the tour features a rousing TV presentation from Sony co-founders Masaru Ibuka and Akio Morita, and a stroll via 60 years within the electronics enterprise. An AIBO robotic will greet you on the door, and should you’ve spent any time round tech, there’s sure to be one thing right here to make you smile — even when it is simply the Billy Joel CD. Our personal highlights are proper after the gallery.

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Sony Archives tour

Touring the Sony Archives in Tokyo: Walkmans, robot dogs and a golden guinea pig

If something, the Archives are somewhat missing in merchandise from the previous few many years. There’s only a single, lonely PlayStation sitting within the 意外 (“sudden”) part and the corporate’s telephone presence (it began collaborating with Ericsson in 1987 earlier than shopping for the arm wholly in 2012) is nearly nonexistent.

Touring the Sony Archives in Tokyo: Walkmans, robot dogs and a golden guinea pig

Our tour information sometimes jumps in with tales and colour, even when our group was very happy to wander away alone and stare at merchandise like a zero.three-megapixel digital digital camera (the DSC-F1: “Sony’s first!”). We quickly attain arguably Sony’s largest product ever, the Walkman, and listen to what number of executives at Sony simply could not get the attraction of a transportable music participant — not to mention one that did not have a document perform.

Thankfully, Sony co-chairman Morita acquired his approach. The Sony exec was apparently by no means fairly glad with the identify, though there should have been one thing to it. Its Japanese rivals, the Walky, the CassetteBoy and the MiJockey (from Toshiba, Aiwa and Panasonic, respectively) are a bit of more durable to recall. Subsequent Walkman iterations are additionally displayed in glass cupboards elsewhere, from the preliminary mannequin, via these sporty yellow variations, into the (much less epoch-defining) MP3 iterations.

Touring the Sony Archives in Tokyo: Walkmans, robot dogs and a golden guinea pig

Sharing shelf-area close by, you will discover Sony’s AIBO vary, with numerous prototypes and mannequin numbers. Beneath these, the much less properly-recognized QRIO bipedal robotic stares out impassively — it by no means made it to shops.

Touring the Sony Archives in Tokyo: Walkmans, robot dogs and a golden guinea pig

Again to the primary exhibit, there’s additionally area devoted to the cassette participant’s alternative: Sony’s first compact disc participant… with a Billy Joel CD jacket, for any guests who forgot what CDs have been. A couple of steps farther down, and the aforementioned digital cameras take their place in Sony historical past, with a quick point out of the now-divorced VAIO PC vary. Within the middle of the Archives, there’s area given to Sony’s transistor radios, skilled recording innovations and its TV developments, together with loads of Trinitron units, which used a brand new aperture grille to supply finer image high quality. Alongside the growth in shade TVs, properly, Sony did OK — it even gained an Emmy for them, which is encased right here with the prize-profitable set.

Touring the Sony Archives in Tokyo: Walkmans, robot dogs and a golden guinea pig

A smaller room, off to the aspect of the primary route, homes a number of the most fascinating stuff, together with a prototype electrical rice cooker from 1946, whose outcomes assorted relying on electrical energy fluctuations, and an electrical cushion so primary (its wires have been between strengthened paper) that Sony truly marketed it underneath a special firm, the “Ginza Heating Firm.”

Touring the Sony Archives in Tokyo: Walkmans, robot dogs and a golden guinea pig

Close by, Sony’s unwell-fated premium QUALIA miniature digital digital camera is laid to relaxation, replete with an entire enterprise case of lenses and add-ons. There’s additionally the Chorocco: an lovable toy-sized van that by no means made it to retail. Meant to encourage creativity inside Sony, it was a promotional gadget that “drove” round vinyl data, enjoying the music out of its constructed-in audio system.

Touring the Sony Archives in Tokyo: Walkmans, robot dogs and a golden guinea pig

It is a signal of the occasions, however the archive might quickly be the one Sony constructing left on this neighborhood. The corporate, having housed its HQ right here for greater than six many years, is reportedly trying to promote the encompassing buildings and land.

However what concerning the golden guinea pig? A gift to Sony co-founder Ibuka from his staff, it was in response to an article that stated Sony was a guinea pig for transistors, and that (in 1958) many corporations have been now besting them in manufacturing quantity. In a radio interview years later, Ibuka stated in response:

“If the guinea pig spirit means creating revolutionary concepts and embodying them in new merchandise, then I feel that is an admirable spirit.”

Touring the Sony Archives in Tokyo: Walkmans, robot dogs and a golden guinea pig

This is to extra guinea pig spirit.

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