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Monthly Archives: June 2006

Innovative Pizza Advertising

Papa John's Pizza Flier (Image courtesy The Raw Feed)
By Andrew Liszewski

Ok so this doesn’t exactly score high marks in the gadget department but in terms of design and innovation it definitely ranks up there on the list. From ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi this new take on the pizza flier is sure to get noticed as long as you glance out your peephole that is.

Looking at the second image there I can only assume that Papa John’s is hoping the novelty of the flier is enough to distract people from the sticker that has been semi-permanently adhered to their nicely finished front door. And thinking back to my many trips to Vegas and the ‘variety’ of fliers that were stuck to my motel door each night promoting local ‘freelancers’ I can only begin to imagine how this idea will be adopted by others.

[Papa John’s Innovative Pizza Flier VIA The Raw Feed]

Car-To-Car Communications

Car-To-Car Communications (Image courtesy JB Car Pages)By Andrew Liszewski

Sure the Drive-e-mocion is a novel but limited way to communicate with other drivers (or at least those other drivers currently behind your own vehicle) but it’s really lacking in the high-tech department.

Sony is currently patenting a more elaborate means to get your message across to nearby drivers. The system uses high-powered LEDs built into a vehicle’s headlights that appear to produce a continuous beam of light but in fact are rapidly flashing an encoded message. A light sensor on the target vehicle would then decode the message and deliver it to the other driver. Other interesting applications include the ability for a traffic light to beam out a countdown of how long it will remain on red and police cars or ambulances being able to beam out emergency messages to many different vehicles.

While the traffic light application is something I’d love to see I still think it’s not the greatest of ideas to make it easier for drivers to communicate with each other. Being able to easily ‘express’ ones feelings towards another motorist seems like a quick path to more road rage in my opinion.

[Car-to-car chit-chat VIA New Scientist Invention Blog]

World’s Smallest Color Wireless Camera

World's Smallest Color Wireless Camera (Image courtesy Amazon)By Andrew Liszewski

I have to admit that I doubt this is the actual ‘World’s Smallest’ color wireless camera as I’m sure the FBI the NSA or even MI6 have even smaller versions. However this is most likely the smallest color wireless camera readily available to consumers.

At approximately only 1 inch by a half inch in size this camera can be mounted or hidden almost anywhere. It will run for up to 10 hours on a single 9V battery and wirelessly transmits full color video to TV channel 59. The camera has an impressive 1000 foot range but unfortunately the transmitter requires a direct line-of-site for the signal to be picked up so while this may be perfect for attaching to RC cars or wild monkeys it probably won’t work so well for spy-related activities.

The ‘World’s Smallest’ color wireless camera is available on Amazon for $259.99.

[World’s Smallest Color Wireless Camera] VIA []

Supersonic Shape-Shifter

Supersonic Shape-Shifting Bomber (Image courtesy Popular Science)
By Andrew Liszewski

Here’s the dilemma. Planes that travel at supersonic speeds can’t fly for extended periods of time without having to refuel. At the same time planes that are capable of staying aloft for half a day or longer can’t achieve supersonic speeds since they rely on large wingspans for fuel-efficient flight. The U.S. military of course wants a plane that is capable of both.

Darpa (the real inventors of the internet) have just given Northrop Grumman $10.3 million to design a plane that can loiter outside enemy territory for hours at a time but can also achieve supersonic speeds in order to safely attack and escape from hostile targets. Northrop plans to achieve this with a uniquely designed aircraft that is capable of changing shape. During normal flight the plane’s 200 foot wing will sit perpendicular to the engines like on a normal aircraft. To achieve supersonic flight the wing will swivel 60 degrees so that one end of the wing points forward while the other points back which allows the plane to deal with the shockwaves caused by supersonic speeds.

A detailed blueprint of the plane should be finished by November of 2007 with an actual flying prototype to be delivered 4 years later. I’m pretty surprised that this plane would be capable of flying at all with the wing pivoted like that, let alone at supersonic speeds but then again that’s probably why I wasn’t hired to build it.

[Supersonic Shape-Shifting Bomber VIA Popular Science]

American Express Butterfly Card

American Express Butterfly Card (Images courtesy American Express)
By Andrew Liszewski

The AMEX Butterfly card is supposed to make it easier to carry and use your AMEX Gold Card but personally I don’t see it. The main ‘innovation’ here is that the card itself can fold in half and fit into a metallic keychain-sized case. You can even leave the magnetic stripe side of the card sticking out so that it can be easily swiped without having to completely remove the card from the case.

The card is available to any American Express Gold Card members for no additional fees and while it will come with a different number than your standard AMEX Gold Card, any charges made with the Butterfly will be linked to your primary card’s account. (And will appear in a seperate section on your bill.)

I’ve never really had much difficuly in fitting a single credit card into any of my pockets but I guess if whipping out the Gold card doesn’t attract as much attention as you’d like this might be a way to turn heads.

[AMEX Butterfly Card] VIA [Cool Hunting]

The Datasound

datasound turntable

By David Ponce

The Datasound does pretty much what the name implies: it takes data, all sorts of data, and automagically turns it into “music”. Now, when it comes to these types of products, I do a pretty bad job of explaining, so let me introduce my friend Copy&Paste:

Datasound offers an alternative and more sensual interpretation of electronic data by exploring their musical potential. Datasound is a fully functional musical instrument that enables you to hear, mix, scratch and perform digital data signals, from a picture, an old program floppy, a computer virus, a love letter, or a drawing?

On the right side of the deck stands a turntable that plays 5.25? floppy disks.The datasound mixing deck is completed with a sampler that reproduces in real time samples obtained from a variety of objects that contain or generate data: a Winchester hard drive, a neon light, a 3.5? floppy disk drive, a flatbed scanner, data cartriges, travel cards?

Looks like this may be a one of a kind instrument, so your money may not be any good this time around.

[The Datasound] VIA [Ounae]

The Record Runner

record runner

By David Ponce

Why make the record spin on the needle, when you can make the needle spin on the record? I’m guessing this is the logic that prompted the creation of the amusing Record Runner. It’s a little truck that houses two things: a record playing needle (I bet there’s a technical term for it, and I’m just too stupid to know it) and some speakers. You then place the truck on the record, and set it loose. It goes round and round, all the while playing your music.

What is the practical use for such a thing? The benefit? Well, none probably, other than the fact that you can entertain your guests for about five minutes from the sheer novelty of it.

And, tell you what, why don’t you come inside and check out a nifty video?

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The Zypad WL 1000, A Wrist-Worn PC

zypadBy David Ponce

I refrained from posting about this some time ago, because back then this thing looked like vaporware. The website was full of nonsensical copy, and all the CG glory didn’t inspire my confidence. Now, at least, we have what looks like a live shot, so here goes.

The Zypad WL 1000, from Eurotech, is a wrist-worn PC that runs Linux or Windows CE, and weighs 300 grams.

It is based on a Raza Microelectronics 32-bit MIPS-based AU 1100 processor (formerly offered by AMD) clocked at 400MHz. It has 64MB each of flash RAM and flash ROM, with expansion available through an SD card slot.

The Zypad WL 1000 has a 3.5-inch QVGA (240 x 320) touchscreen with automatic contrast adjust. It also features an 11-key backlit keypad.

Network interfaces include 802.11b/g, GPS, and PAN Bluetooth class 2 (32 feet), each with integral antennas. The device also includes USB 1.1 host and device ports, along with stereo audio I/O.

With an expected price tag around $2,500, the device is more likely to be picked up by the army, healthcare, Homeland Security and other industries, rather than average-joe consumer.

[The Zypad WL 1000] VIA [Technology Trends]

Tech Addict Privacy Scarf

privacy scarf
By Bruce Eaton

The bane of using technology in public is the chance that someone might see what you are doing. Joe Malia has designed at the Royal College of Art a privacy scarf for those of us that wish to use our gadgets in public without fear of having it being seen. With this you can compose private text messages about important business meetings or use a computer at work and deal with highly sensitive data. [You’re also quite likely to attract the attention of any nearby mental health facility. -Ed.]

Who are we kidding? PRON PRON PRON!! That is all we would use it for…. at least I am truthful about what I would do with it…

[Tech Addict Privacy Scarf] VIA [We Make Money Not Art]