Take A Picture That Can Fly

Ricoh's new digital camera delivers much more than pretty pictures. It ushers in a whole new era of wireless imaging by letting you post photos to the Web--then send them as e-mail to your friends

Some people get revelations in the shower. Others solve puzzles in their dreams. Yousuke Yamada, a lead engineer for the Japanese office-equipment and camera maker Ricoh Co. Ltd., gets his best ideas on Tokyo commuter trains. "I cannot create an idea at my desk," he says. "I like to walk around a crowded train, where nobody disturbs me."

Over the past three years, while his fellow commuters jostled for space or scanned the morning paper, Yamada, 55, devoted his four-hour daily commute to a higher cause--dreaming up the next great consumer gadget. In 1997 Ricoh president Masamitsu Sakurai commissioned Yamada to...

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