A new spring-time offering -- a mobile phone application to cure hayfever, has been brought out by the Japanese firm behind a dog-bark translation machine and cellphone ring tones meant to attract members of the opposite sex.
The Japan Ringing Tone Laboratory has released its latest invention just in time for the cherry blossom season, when white and pink petals shower the country and pollen allergies and sinus problems cause misery for millions.
The Tokyo-based high-tech gadget maker promises its newest cellphone ringtone can bring relief when users hold the handsets under their noses.
According to the developer, Dr Matsumi Suzuki, who says on his website that he studies acoustics and analyses voiceprints, the ring tone unleashes waves that will shake out pollen stuck in the user's nose.
Index Corporation, which markets the ring tone, warned that the effectiveness may vary among users.
"There is no guarantee that this has real health benefits," warned a company spokeswoman. She added that the number of downloads has been three times that of their other ringtones, without disclosing sales figures.
The company has also come up with ringtones it says help users attract members of the opposite sex, lose weight, quit smoking, digest food and relieve shoulder aches.
It also developed the 'Bowlingual' gadget that can "translate" dog barks into human language, sold by toymaker Takara Tomy since 2002.
The gadget has a handset and a microphone attached to a dog collar that is billed as analysing six emotions including joy, sadness and frustration, and utters phrases such as "Play with me!" A version also exists for cats.