Japanese designer electronics manufacturer Inter-Culture has introduced a trio of retrofuturistic nylon resin clock radios that combine cutting-edge 3D printing technology with the warm Cold War-era glow of high-voltage Nixie tubes.
The uniquely organic appearance of the radios' nylon resin bodies is a reflection of the 3D printing process, according to Inter-Culture, and cannot be achieved through the resin molding process commonly used to create mass-produced consumer products.
Another factor separating these clock radios from the rest is the use of Nixie tubes to display both the time and the radio frequency. Nixie tubes, or “cold cathode neon readout tubes” to use their technical name, look like old-school vacuum tubes but are actually filled with low-pressure Neon gas. They require high voltages in the range of 200 volts to operate but have lifetimes of up to 200,000 hours. Six Burroughs B5853 Nixie tubes are included with each radio in the series.
Now for the specs. The clock mechanism is equipped with a memory backup function using a real-time clock made by Seiko working through an electric double layer capacitor. The Si4735 radio modules direct stereo sound through 56mm full-range speakers buried in the body. Included is an FM antenna adapter, a 1.5m USB cable and a DC12V power adapter.
By now you must be thinking these radios cost a pretty penny and they do indeed.
Pricing increases as a function of how complex the body is to fabricate: the Type-T goes for 104,790 yen ($1,325), the Type-N lists at 134,400 yen ($1,695) and the wild child of the bunch, the swoopy type-S, maxes out at 155,400 yen ($1,965). Nosiree, you do NOT want to go all Phil Connors on your clock radio even if it wakes you up at 6am every morning with “I Got You Babe”.
Prospective purchasers should be aware that it takes several weeks to ship ordered clock radios because each one is produced upon receipt of an order, and as such your order cannot be canceled after being placed.