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Monthly Archives: November 2005

Reevu’s MSX1, Cheap HUD Goodness

By David Ponce

Holy crap! Now this is useful as hell. If you’re the motorcycling type, know that a UK company called Reevu has made an ingeniously designed helmet that actually increases your level of safety… well, aside from the usual preventing your head from plopping on impact, and such. The MSX1, manufactured in Italy, is a helmet with an integrated heads-up display that lets you see what’s going on behind your head. And the best part is that it’s very low cost, at only about $400. How does it do this? Well, it uses a system of unbreakable mirrors constructed out of ABS, rather than a more expensive camera and projector setup.

Ten years in the making, the helmet has been designed to ensure it meets all international safety standards, and is of a similar size and weight to conventional helmets. It should be available early 2006.

More at the website. Story VIA

“Survival” Kit In A Sardine Can

By David Ponce

This walks the line between the moderately useful and gimmicky. But as long as there’s no fish smell, I can think of worse ways to spend $10. It’s a “survival kit” packed into a can of sardines. It’s designed for hikers, campers, climbers, boaters, skiers, fishermen, travelers, and cyclists. It’s small, watertight and packs over 25 items with varying degrees of use.

Go fish with the hook and line, find your way home with the compass, boil water in the can for your tea and sugar, use the first aid supplies to survive the wilderness. Even duct tape, matches, whistle, signal mirror, razor blade, fire starter cube, chewing gum, salt and a safety pin are included. And the list goes on.

So, you know that annoying uncle you’re considering only buying a Christmas card for? Yeah. Well, I’m sure he’d like this better.

Get it here.

Captain Muddy’s Little Learners: “Dirty” Candy

By David Ponce

Here’s an idea. Take a young impressionable child, barely able to tell fact from fiction, and give him this: Captain Muddy’s Little Learners. It’s candy made to look like a bucket of mud/dirt and bugs.

The dirt of course is chocolate cookie crumbs, while the worms are gummy and the ants are of the firebreathing, young-children’s-soul-eating sugary variety. The kit comes with magnifying glass and bug catcher.

Now, just don’t be surprised if little Jimmy, having eaten through the harmless sweet, delicious candy, comes home with little roachie legs stuck between his teeth, or something.

It looks like the stuff is sold at Toys R’ Us, though I’m not sure at what price. You can also order in bulk through their website if you want to sell the stuff yourself.

Story VIA SNP.

Fostex Speaker Uses Surfaces, Not Diaphragms, To Render Sound

By David Ponce

Aside from looking a little like a giant pimped-out Hershey Kiss, this prototype speaker from Fostex seems really promising for those of use who really like to feel our music (for another such speaker, check this one out). Instead of using a paper cone and inducing vibrations in the air, this particular speaker shakes the living snot out of whatever surface it happens to be sitting on (like your table). The technology behind it sounds quite esoteric:

It features an actuator using a super magnetostrictor that extends and shrinks in line with magnetic field changes. The actuator converts input sound into the vibration and conveys it to the tabletop thus rendering sound. To ensure the conveyance of vibration, the system itself is as heavy as 1.8 kg.

Super magnetostrictor. Right. The only somewhat useful stuff I found in Google on this is here, though it’s much too lengthy for me to read through.

But whatever. The point is that Fostex plans to release this in the first half of 2006, and then you (or your friends in Japan, rather) will be able to get your hands on a speaker that shakes your table, rather than your air. More here. Story VIA

Bluetooth for Women

The Toy More and more people are finding very interesting ways to utilize the emerging Bluetooth wireless technology. UK based Cool and Groovy Toy Company has actually integrated Bluetooth technology into a vibrator. Aren’t vibrators wireless anyway?

Well, whoever came up with this idea is pretty creative. Known as The Toy, this high tech bullet actually connects to a mobile phone via Bluetooth. You and your significant other can be intimate regardless of distance. All you have to do is send a text message. Depending on what is written, different vibrations occur. Each letter that you type has a different effect.

Imagine if your friends find out about this device that you have. Can they send your significant other text messages too? Don’t worry, a six digit tag must be used in the text message to control the toy. Otherwise, would this be considered cheating, no?

First came Bluetooth breast implants and now this. The possibilities are endless. (I guess)

For more information on the Toy, visit the manufacturer’s website,

The iPod nano Wallet

By David Ponce

The iPod nano is so darn small, it could fit in your wallet. Literally. Although, that might be blasphemous for some of you. I mean, hey, putting the nano in such an… undedicated environment, that’s just wrong. So, of course, a company has come out and made a dedicated nano wallet.

A company called makes the CEO™ Billfold Wallet for iPod nano. Features include:

• Leather outer construction
• Leather-lined interior
• Credit card pockets
• Secure ID Pocket
• Full-size cash compartment
• Plastic screen and click wheel protector for nano
• Can charge nano in the billfold
• Easy access to hold button & earphone jack

For $35, there certainly are worse things to buy for Christmas.

Check out the product page. Story VIA Xataka.

WorkPartner, Funny Looking Robot From Finland

By David Ponce

Ok, either Finland is terribly behind the times in terms of robotic development, or else the WorkPartner robot has a bunch of ninja skills I didn’t manage to learn about in the twenty minutes I spent on the website. I’m not entirely sure what it is it’s supposed to do, or why it’s even cool. The only reason I really noticed it, to be honest, is that it has sleeves and a hard hat. And that’s got to count for something.

I think it’s a project form the Automation Technology Laboratory from the University of Finland. A funny project. One that’s supposed to, uh… well, here it is in their words

WorkPartner is a mobile service robot, which works interactively with people. It is intended for everyday life tasks in outdoor environment. Work is done by the aid of a human-like two hand manipulator. The hybrid locomotion system allows motion with legs and/or wheels at the same time. Tasks are learned and executed in close cooperation with the human operator.

Yeah, so the reason I’m a little tepid about it all, is because I saw the videos[check under the MPEG heading]. Yeah… well, maybe that’s exciting in Finland.

Anyway, the story is VIA Neatorama.

Stealth Audio Carbon Nanofibers Cables

By David Ponce

Last time I came across Stealth Audio, it was for their ridiculously expensive Indra line of audio cables that went for a mind-numbing $5750 a meter. Well, now there are news of a new set of cables that might actually end up being more expensive. They have

analog interconnects made entirely of carbon nano-fibers (including the connector shells and center pins); there is absolutely no metal of any kind in the signal carrying part of these cables: the conductive fibers directly transform into the center pins of the proprietary STEALTH RCA or XLR connectors at the ends of these cables, making the signal path free of any kind of joints, solder or crimp.

Seems interesting enough. No metal in the cable, less chance of interference, equal better sound.

There’s no word on price, but if the Indra is any indication, you not only better love your music, you better be in love with it if you’re considering these. Check it out here. Story VIA Sonicflare.

Alienware’s Sentia 3200’s Instant-On Goodness

By David Ponce

Alienware, in my mind, equates with unjustifiable expense. But hell, for some people, having the word “Alien” on their gear is worth paying the premium, I guess. That’s not to say the company doesn’t make fine products. Take this, the lovely Sentia m3200.

It’s aimed at users who value portability, weighing in at 4lbs. But that’s not why I find it interesting. I like the Instant-On functionality.

You can immediately access videos, music, digital photos and other multimedia content while conserving battery life on your notebook. How does this work? You instantly boot into a multimedia interface by pushing the instant-on button when the entire system is off. This bypasses loading Windows on the notebook and provides a dedicated environment for multimedia functions while conserving critical battery power.

Yeah, saving two or three minutes of Windows bootup time certainly sounds exciting to me.

Other features include:
-12.1 inch widescreen LCD with ClearView technology
– 4 hour battery life
– Integrated 4 in 1 media card reader
– 802.11a/b/g wireless support

They’re starting at, amazingly enough, $1000. More at the Alienware website. Story VIA Mobilewhack.