An In­vent­ful Life

Bespoke - - VISION -

Yoshiro Naka­matsu, bet­ter known as Dr. Naka­mats, is an ec­cen­tric Ja­panese in­ven­tor with over 3,500 patents to his name. Best known for cre­at­ing the floppy disk and li­cens­ing it to IBM in the 1970s, he’s now in a race with time to find a cure to the cancer he has been af­flicted with.

It is said that you pos­sess more patents than Thomas Edi­son. Did you ever imag­ine you’d in­vent so many things? No, I just keep get­ting ideas. Thomas Edi­son died at the age of 84 and his to­tal num­ber was 1,093 in­ven­tions. That num­ber is fixed, but I’m still liv­ing, so my tally of 3,500 is still in­creas­ing.

When did it all be­gin for you? I made my first in­ven­tion at the age of five. It was a way to help a model plane self-ad­just its flight path in mid-air. I loved my mother so my next in­ven­tion was for her at the age of 14. It is what is now known as the kerosene pump and was de­signed to help my mother get the last drops of soy sauce out of a large bot­tle on cold morn­ings. It’s now used all over the world to get gas out of tanks in the same way. I wrote the patent for this and pre­sented it to the Ja­panese patent of­fice with­out any patent at­tor­ney present.

You’ll al­ways be re­mem­bered as the in­ven­tor of the floppy disk, won’t you? I in­vented it in 1952 when I was still at the Univer­sity of Tokyo. The first model was 8 inches and it was this size be­cause my note­book at univer­sity was 8 inches, and I used to trans­port it in my note­book. IBM de­vel­oped the ‘Diskette’ and li­censed ma­te­rial from me to make the floppy disk we know now. Peo­ple didn’t un­der­stand what it was meant to do at first, but some 20 years later, IBM pro­duced it and peo­ple re­alised how im­por­tant it was. It rev­o­lu­tionised the com­puter in­dus­try. This showed me in­ven­tions could take a while to take off. You’ve de­vel­oped some, shall we say, less revo­lu­tion­ary in­ven­tions as well? I have de­vel­oped a mu­si­cal put­ter that when you hit it and get a cer­tain note, you know you will get the golf ball in the hole. I’ve also de­vel­oped the Guard Wig, a self-de­fence wig to help pro­tec t you from po­ten­tial at­tack­ers. You throw it at them to dis­ori­ent ate them and then reel the wig back in with an at­tached piece of string. Of course, I’m plan­ning to send one to Don­ald Trump.

How do you go about in­vent­ing some­thing? What’s your cre­ative process? First I sit in my calm room, a room plated with gold to help re­move all the noise from my mind and block out TV sig­nals and mo­bile phone sig­nals. Once my mind is fo­cused, I go to my dy­namic room and play mu­sic, as mu­sic is key for the cre­ative process. It’s in this room that all my ideas come to life. Midn ight to 4am is the golden time for cre­ation – I use this room from 12pm to 4am and sleep from 4am to 8am. That way, I can use all the other hours for cre­ation. I have just a sin­gle meal per day, to save time that I can bet­ter use to make in­ven­tions. I’ve bee n do­ing this for 46 years.

What is your fo­cus now? Well, I was di­ag­nosed with cancer two and a half years ago and a fa­mous med­i­cal doc­tor said I would die at the end of 2015. At first, I didn’t ac­cept this and I con­sulted many, many fa­mous doc­tors, but they all agreed my cancer [duc­tal car­ci­noma, a ma­lig­nant

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