East Japan Railway developing vacuum to collect earphones dropped on tracks

After dealing with hundreds of dropped earphones — mostly AirPods — East Japan Railway has started development of a custom vacuum cleaner-type device to retrieve them faster than mechanical grabbers.

Truly wireless earbuds, like AirPods, are convenient to carry and comfortable to wear. However, these earbuds all share one well-known problem — the tendency to fall out at some of the worst times.

For many customers, that means relying on creative solutions for getting them should they drop into places that aren’t easily accessible.

In New York, customers who dropped their AirPods have been spotted retrieving them with broom handles and duct tape. One owner retrieved theirs with dental floss and an e-cig charger that contained a magnet.

In Japan, East Japan Railway (“JR East”) had around 950 cases of dropped earphones at 78 train stations in the Tokyo area in a three month period. Dropped earphones make

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