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Monthly Archives: March 2007

Ghetto Blaster Mobile Spotted At CTIA


By David Ponce

Yeah, so CTIA 2007 is on, in case you didn’t hear, and mobiles of all shapes and orientations are parading around, willy-nilly. One interesting specimen is the Thunder Super Radio HiFi phone. On one side you have what looks like a normal phone with an average sized screen, but flip it around and the party’s on like it’s 1989. That’s a massive speaker on the back, with an old school ghetto blaster grille to protect it and an AM/FM tuner. Apparently, it sounds pretty darn good.

Specs-wise, you’ve got a 1.3 megapixel camera, large 2.4″ TFT screen, MicroSD expansion and it can play MP3 and MP4 files. Pretty vanilla for a mobile these days, but dude, check out that speaker! It’s dualband GSM, and is likely to stay in Taiwan, pretty much for good.

Keep reading for a bunch more pictures and links.

Continue Reading

RelaxOne Human-Eating Relaxation Chair Looks Stupid, Doesn’t Do Much


By David Ponce

The RelaxOne from company Relaxman is a relaxation chair. Simple as that. You sit in it, looking like an imbecile, and surround yourself with soothing sounds. There’s an entire sound system in there that bounces sound waves around in a special way so that the music waves themselves give you a sort of massage. Yeah, sounds kind of trippy, so maybe the company’s description sounds better:

The active relaxation is essentially provoked by listening to the especially composed music, through the acoustic system of the chair. The music is not only perceived by the ears, but also throughout the whole body. The low frequencies put the muscles in resonance to provoke a spontaneous relaxation. Conditions of listening are exceptional and will delight audiophiles.

Maybe not.

We’re not sure how much it is, nor whether it’s even available for purchase, but there you have it: an acoustical sensory immersion dome that looks like a giant human-swallowing egg.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ SciFi Tech ]

USB Radio Is Almost Totally Lame

By Evan Ackerman

USB Radio

This is a fine example of one of those USB devices that sounds vaguely cool until you realize that it only uses USB as a more-trendy-sounding power outlet. This USB radio is completely nondescript (picks up radio signals, has headphones, has a small antenna, has a LED, is black and plastic) except that you adjust the tuning by bending the egg-shaped top right and left, and adjust the volume by bending it forward and back. It’s almost, but not quite, 10 euros ($13) worth of interestingness.

[ USB Radio ] VIA [ Uber-Review ]

The Pillow Book For Multitasking Students

By Evan Ackerman

Pillow Book

Nope, this has nothing to do with the totally bizarre Japanese movie with Ewan McGregor in it. The Pillow Book is nothing more and nothing less than a book with a pillow inside it. It’s certainly a novel idea (score one!), but let’s face it (er, score two!): in the places you’re most likely to use one of these (i.e. class), most of the time no matter what you have to rest your head on, it’s comfortable enough for dozing off. Heck, even if you find yourself in a geology lab, you can probably manage to find a nice soft hunk of talc.

The Pillow Book costs around $102 from a store in Japan (that ships overseas), putting it about on par with most actual textbooks, although you may actually get your money’s worth out of this one.

[ Pillow Book ] VIA [ Uber-Review ]

CASIO fx-9860G Slim Graphing Calculator

CASIO fx-9860G Slim Graphic Calculator (Images courtesy CASIO) By Andrew Liszewski

I’m surprised to say that graphing calculators really haven’t come a long way since I last used one. CASIO has just introduced their latest model the fx-9860G which they’re touting as their slimmest model ever and at 7/8″ at its thickest part they’re probably right. It uses a folding clam shell design which means a small form factor when closed but allows for a wide display and keyboard layout when opened.

Other features include a natural display input option whereby equations can be input and viewed just as they are in a text book and PC and projector connectivity VIA a USB connection. By today’s standards the 1.5Mb of built-in flash memory is quite small but when you’re just storing formulas or equations it’s probably more than enough. However isn’t it about time they started including screens with just a bit more resolution? That menu looks just as pixelated as it did on my old graphic calculator from college!

The fx-9860G Slim will be available in June for $99 or at a discounted rate of $91 for educators.

[ CASIO fx-9860G Slim Graphic Calculator ] VIA [ Fareastgizmos ]

Brilliant Car Safety Billboard – Belt Up!

Belt Up Billboard (Image courtesy CARSCOOP)
By Andrew Liszewski

So you think just because you’ve chosen to sit in the back seat of a car you don’t need to wear a seat belt? Well unless you’re some kind of indestructible superhero there’s really no place or time when you shouldn’t be buckled up while inside a moving vehicle.

And this billboard posted in Manukau City, Auckland, New Zealand pretty much sums up what’s going to happen if you’re sitting in the back seat of a car without a seatbelt and the vehicle is involved in an accident. Well it’s not entirely accurate. There are quite a few additional obstacles you’ll be hitting as you leave the vehicle including the front seats and windshield but you should be traveling at a similar velocity.

[ Nifty Billboard: Buckle up even if you’re in the back seat ] VIA [ Autoblog ]

USB Flash Drive With Solar Powered LCD

TRUS Flash Drive With Solar Powered LCD (Images courtesy AVING USA)
By Andrew Liszewski

At the CeBIT 2007 show in Germany a company called Shenzhen Truth Digital Technology (also for some reason known as TRUS) showed off these USB flash drives sporting a monochromatic LCD screen. Now the exact details are a bit sketchy at the moment but the flash drive apparently includes a built-in solar cell which is used to power the LCD display.

Given a lack of buttons or controls on the drive the screen is probably only used for displaying the available storage space remaining so a solar cell coupled with a small capacitor would probably provide enough power. As for a release date and storage capacity for these drives? I’ve no idea but somewhere between 512Mb to 4Gb is probably a safe guess.

[ TRUS to present USB memory with solar energy LCD ] VIA [ Ubergizmo ]

Make Your Soda Pop

By Evan Ackerman

Mentos Geyser TubeIf you’ve been living under a rock (a rock without an internet connection) and haven’t seen what happens when you mix coke and Mentos, it’s pretty dramatic. Basically, all the gas gets pulled out of the soda at once, creating a huge soda foam geyser. The more Mentos you can get into the bottle all at once, the more powerful the geyser becomes. This little toy from makes it nice and easy with a drop tube and remote trigger, allowing you to reach vertical soda volcano heights of up to 30 feet (without getting all sticky in the process). It costs 5 pounds plus shipping which is a little silly since you can do this for free… But with the custom tube and trigger you can point your coke bazooka at some punk and ask him how lucky he feels.

See the Mythbusters video exploring coke and Mentos geysers after the jump. Yeah, you’ve probably seen it before, but that doesn’t make it any less nifty (or any less Kari Byron-y).Continue Reading

Continuously Variable Planetary Drive Is For Bikes, Not Spaceships

By Evan Ackerman

The Ride

We’ve seen some bicycles recently with automatic transmissions, but a continuously variable transmission is something new. CVTs work without gears, or rather, they provide an infinite number of gears, increasing engine efficiency. In automobiles, CVTs are often pretty complicated, but the NuVinci transmission is simple and efficient, probably owing to the unrivaled genius of it’s original inventor, Leonardo da Vinci. It’s actually a CVP, or continuously variable planetary drive, owing to the rotating spheres that make up the heart of the transmission. Here’s how it works:

The NuVinci CVP is not automatic; you still have a shifter to adjust the bike’s power curve. But “there’s no hesitation, no noise, no waiting for the mechanism to “hunt” for the gear you’ve selected, nothing to synchronize, nothing to guess at, a simple twist of your wrist and you’re at a new ratio.”

You can currently buy bicycles featuring the NuVinci CVP drivetrain from Ellsworth; the base model is a shade under three thousand and the signature model (with some carbon fiber, a headlight, and a belt drive) will set you back another grand. A CVP kit should be available in the second half of 2007.

[ NuVinci ] VIA [ Core77 ]