New device can instantly tell whether bullet train seats are wet

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A cleaning staff member checks seats with a new device on a Tokaido Shinkansen train at Tokyo Station on Friday.

Central Japan Railway Co. (JR Tokai) has developed a cleaning device that can immediately tell whether a seat is wet from a spilled drink, a tool that is expected to shorten how long it takes to clean a train.

The device will be used on Tokaido Shinkansen trains arriving at Tokyo Station from next month. In addition to reducing the time spent on cleaning, the device will more accurately ascertain when a seat is wet.

A camera at the end of a stick identifies the temperature of a wet area by its color when the camera is held up in front of a seat, showing the result on a smartphone. Wet seats or backrests will be replaced.

Cleaning staff used to utilize another device that directly touched a seat to check if it was wet.

According to JR Tokai, more than 100 Tokaido Shinkansen trains arrive at Tokyo Station each day, and two seats per train are wet on average.