Yoshiro Nakamatsu, or Dr NakaMats as he is more widely known, is one of the world's leading inventors with over 3,500 patents to his name. We sat down with the cult hero to find out how we can all come up with better ideas…
It’s not easy to forget Dr NakaMats’ most famous invention, the Floppy Disk, with the entrance to his Tokyo residence set inside a door-sized replica of the idea which he claims to have come up with in 1952, before later licensing it to IBM in the late 1970s. Since then he has worked tirelessly to cement his positon as one of the world’s most prolific inventors, with his list of patents including a self-defence wig, a cigarette for activating the brain, jumping shoes, the 'Enerex System' for generating hydrogen and oxygen along with a condom that comes with an embedded magnate for "improving sensitivity in the female organs".
With a lifetime of weird and wonderful inventions behind him Dr NakaMats is now facing his biggest challenge to date, having recently being diagnosed with prostate cancer.
The Japanese inventor once claimed that he planned to live to 144 years by taking care of his health, a plan which is now being put to the ultimate test. "My next invention will be a cure for my cancer. The doctors have told me that there is no therapy available that will cure me and that I will not live past the end of 2015," explains Dr NakaMats.
"To cure the cancer I will need to invent a new therapy, it will not only help me but many others. In order to do this I am going to come up with 10 new inventions by the end of the year, I have already had ideas for two, I now need to come up with eight more. I need to do this as I have no option not to."
As a man with a lust for new ideas, as well as clear vision on how to develop them into fully functioning products, Dr NakaMats has been keen to share his methods in order to enable others to follow in his footsteps. "I have over 3,500 inventions, asking me which one is my favourite is like asking me to tell you which child is my favourite, it cannot be done. What can be done is to come up with a way to make sure that everyone can have good ideas, this is my creativity process.
"I am 87 years old and over the years I have been able to come up with a theory that will enable even average people to have good ideas. People always seem to make the same mistakes, but if you follow my theory then anybody is able to become an inventor."
Dr NakaMats' three step creativity process
1. Enter a Calm Room
"Step one of the process is to enter a Calm Room. The Calm Room has no nails used in it, no metal things whatsoever. In this room you need to be able to erase all of the bad and old ideas, being in the Calm Room cleans my mind and prepares it for creativity."
Dr NakaMats' own Calm Room is said to be tiled with 24 karat gold, it also blocks television and radio waves, which can apparently hinder creative thinking. Once the mind is clear, it is time for stage two of the process.
2. The Dynamic Room
"The next stage is to enter the Dynamic Room. This room is completely sealed off and it is also soundproof, I will enter the room and listen to music which can help with the creative process. The Dynamic Room is dark, with black and white striped walls and special audio-visual equipment."
Dr NakaMats’ choice of music for the Dynamic Room is always jazz to start with, before moving onto Beethoven’s Fifth - which he believes is good music to reach conclusions to. He has also constructed his own speakers which can reach frequencies of between 12,000 and 40,000 hertz.
3. Go underwater
"One thing I have learnt is that oxygen is the enemy of ideas, so to come up with the best ideas you need to get away from it. By diving underwater and holding your breath you can come up with the best ideas, they will come to you when you are 0.5 seconds away from death."
To help with the recording of ideas during this time, Dr NakaMats has even invented waterproof paper and pencils, claiming "an idea comes instantly and disappears instantly".
By getting as close to death as possible, Dr NakaMats believes we will have our greatest ideas. Let us hope that his theory is proven to be correct as he continues his mission to find his most important invention to date.