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Monthly Archives: April 2006

The Mosquito, A Youth Deterrent System

the mosquitoBy David Ponce

Well, Holy Jeevus and such. I saw this a while back, and at the time, thought it was some guy’s personal contraption. Little did I know that they were actually being sold!

I’m talking about The Mosquito, also known as the Ultrasonic Annoying-Emo-Teen Deterrent. It’s a special speaker that emits sounds at high frequencies. It’s ultimate goal: to annoy the crap out of those pesky kids hanging out in front of your store and scaring customers away. It works by broadcasting unpleasing sounds at a frequency that can be heard by younger people only. It has an effective range of about 20 meters.

It seems that as you age, you become unable to hear higher frequencies. This is called presbycusis or age related hearing loss, and is the key to this system’s success.

It’s been installed and used with great results in many places in the UK, and has been described as ?the most effective tool in our fight against anti social behaviour?. Oh, and it doesn’t bother dogs, apparently.

Uh huh. Well, annoying the kids away will cost you a pretty penny, though, with the system starting at ?495.

[The Mosquito] VIA [New Launches]

Qixen-P Design Zgiga TV

Qixen-P Design Zgiga TV (Image courtesy Qixen-P)

By Andrew Liszewski

I usually don’t like to post concept ideas because quite frankly, most of the time it’s something I really want and will never be able to buy. However I’ll make an exception for this concept TV/entertainment center because I think it brings some interesting ideas to the table.

While the designer won’t win any awards for an easily marketable product name, I think they’ve come up with a great solution to dealing with the multiple components that make up a usual entertainment centre. Instead of wasting floor space by stacking them in a piece of furniture, why not mount them to the wall like most LCD and Plasma TVs are these days? In this concept, the black box to the right of the screen houses a DVD player for example. As long as the individual components maintain a similar design aesthetic, the layout on the wall ends up being a piece of art in itself.

[Qixen-P Design] VIA [Fosfor Gadgets]

Third Wave’s Mini Killer (?)

thirdwave mini pcBy David Ponce

The “Prime Super Mini”, from Japanese company Third Wave is not the first contender to Apple’s Mac Mini. But I kind of like the way it looks. It has a slightly larger footprint than the Mini, at 17.2 x 22.6cm, where the Mini is 16.5 x 16.5cm, but it is slimmer, at 4.2cm, rather than 5.1cm.

Under the hood, you got a:

1.66GHz Intel Core Duo T2600 processor, Intel 945GM chipset, 80GB Serial ATA hard disk, 512MB of memory, Firewire 400, four USB 2.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet and 802.11a/b/g Wi-Fi. It also has DVI-I and S-video ports, but there’s no Bluetooth, unlike the Mini. There’s even a slot-loading multi-format optical drive

It’s coming out May 12th, though it’s likely to be Japan only. And, sadly, at ?122,580 ($1,043/?584/?845), it’s not even close to being as cheap as the Mini.

VIA [Reg’s Hardware]

The Hettlage Drive Puts Belts On Bikes

hettlage tooth driveBy David Ponce

I’ll admit it right away. I’m totally out of my depth on this one. But, I can read technolese, and here’s what I’m getting. The Hettlage drive is a completely different kind of traction system for bicycles. Instead of using a chain, you use a tooth belt (like on some motor bikes). The advantage, it seems, is that you never need to lubricate it, and is thus much cleaner.

But, you know what they say… When in doubt, cut and paste!

The concept of hettlage drive is called ?variable sprocket?. This is a rear cog that varies its diameter. This is achieved by ten toothed segments, which can slide along a set of radial tracks to form a larger or a smaller sprocket.

Each segment has a built-in mechanism that locks into eleven indexed positions on the radial track. So the strain of the belt or the chain is not taken by the gear-shifting unit. Actually the gear-shift is done where there is no load at all on the segments, since they do not engage with the tooth belt when shifted.

This gives:

– High efficiency, especially under high strain.
– Comparative tests prove 20% less friction than a chain drive under load.
– Allows gear-shifting under full strain.
– The tooth belt does not need to be lubricated. It is always clean and dry.
– The belt cannot fall off the gear.
– A tooth belt drive does not wear out. The belt can be used at least five times longer than a chain. (A tooth belt like ours is used in car engines for over 100,000 km / 62,000 miles.)

Now, I’m not saying this is anything new. Seems to have been around for a year or two, but it’s still rather cool.

Of course, it’s not cheap. The Hettlage drive enabled bikes start at 2,500 Euros.

[The Hettlage Drive]

Thanks, Clemens!

Grand Idea Studio Hard Drive Coffee Table

Hard Drive Coffee Table (Image courtesy Grand Idea Studio)By Andrew Liszewski

Wow. While I really have no use for a coffee table, I would make sure to find one if I had this.

From Grand Idea Studio comes this coffee table made from an original 26-inch hard drive platter from a 1967 Control Data Corporation 6603 Disk File Controller. The center hub of the platter and the custom-made pedestal are both made from solid aluminum and the entire platter is covered with a 1/4-inch piece of table glass to protect its surface.

For the tech-heads out there, looking at the original manual (PDF) this drive could store 37,355,520 12-bit words which works out to be about 53 MB of total storage. (37,355,520 * 12 /8 = 56,033,280 bytes /1024 /1024 = 53.4 MB) Given this drive was made in 1967 I was expecting it to be far smaller than that so I’m quite impressed. Of course the entire drive would have probably consisted of at least 6 platters like this one so you can only imagine how big it was when completely assembled.

Unfortunately if you want a Hard Drive Coffee Table for your own home you’re out of luck, it’s a one-of-a-kind and is not available for sale.

[Grand Idea Studio Hard Drive Coffee Table]

Underwater Light Show for Pools

Underwater Light Show (Image courtesy Things You Never Knew Existed)By Andrew Liszewski

If you’re lucky enough to own or have regular access to an inground pool and find yourself bored with the drab, uninspired tiles on the bottom then this Underwater Light Show will definitely liven things up.

Just set the water-tight plastic globe afloat on the surface of your pool and it will flash its red, blue, green and orange lights in one of five different patterns. Using a button on top of the globe you can set it to display your favorite pattern or randomly cycle through the 5 of them. The floating globe also includes a 60 minute automatic shut-off and a tether to keep it moored at the pool’s center.

The Underwater Light Show is available from ‘Things You Never Knew Existed’ for $19.98.

[Underwater Light Show] VIA [The Red Ferret Journal]

World’s Largest Tetris Game

largest tetris game

By David Ponce

Let’s say you’ve done well for yourself, and are now the proud owner of a large (preferably 10 or more stories high) building. You wish to enliven things up a bit, for passersby. This is what you should do: build the (second) world’s largest Tetris game.

This is how you do it. Outfit all the windows with, say, 10,000 Christmas lights. Then take eleven custom-built circuit boards, a twelve-story data network, a personal computer running Linux, a radio-frequency video game controller, spend five months tweaking and planning, and before you know it, you’ll have the entire front of your building running Tetris. It’ll be just like this one, off Interstate 95, in Rhode Island.

Wonder how it works? Come inside for a groovy video.

VIA [TechEBlog]

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Offroading With The Tank Chair

tank chairBy David Ponce

Nothing like starting work, on a Monday morning, pondering just how awesome life would be if you got to get around on a tank chair. Like this one.

Of course, this particular chair is designed for people that actually need it, not just people who’d enjoy terrorising old ladies on the sidewalk. It appears to be the brainchild of a dad, who one day, while camping, realized his wheelchair-bound wife was unable to enjoy nature as much as she would have liked to, due to her current chair’s limitations. 2 years and lots of sweat later, the Tank Chair was born. With it, you can conquer snow, mud, sand, gravel or whatever else nature throws at you. Though, it seems you need to actually be disabled to own one.

And, well, no idea what the sticker on that thing could be.

[The Tank Chair] VIA [Digg]

Landrollers Take It Offroad

By Bruce Eaton

This one is for our readers that like eating asphalt, or dirt and such. The Landroller in-line skates bring a new (well, relatively new, I suppose) twist to rollerblading, one that allows you to skate offroad as well as on. Using LandRoller’s patented Angled Wheel Technology?, these babies provide all the benefits of large wheels, on your feet. Previous attempts at incorporating large wheels failed,

because the skates were either dangerously high off the ground, as in the case of Rollerblades’ Coyote skates, or unmaneuverable because of a long wheelbase, as with the TrailSkate and Crosskate,” states LandRoller co-inventor Bert Lovitt


The large wheels give you the ability to go on rough surfaces and even offroad while maintaining normal maneuverability, with a low center of gravity and short wheel base. The design even gives an improved glide time over conventional in-line skates.

Only problem is that they don’t come in large men’s sizes (above 13). Other than that, there seems to be nothing but rave reviews for the $249 skates. Landroller has several enhancements under development such as state of the art braking systems, a variety of wheels and tires (including pneumatic) and newer, more advanced options for the offroading crowd.

[Landroller] VIA [Gizmag]