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Monthly Archives: June 2007

CD Hole Art: One Reason To Buy A CD

CD Art

By Evan Ackerman

Even with designs like these, I probably wouldn’t buy a music CD for $15 or whatever albums cost now (I haven’t bothered to check in oh, I dunno, 10 years). But I would absolutely pay a premium for some artsy and clever blanks. I only wish I could figure out where these came from… A bunch more designs after the jump.

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Bubble Wrap Simulator Misses Point Completely

Bubble Wrap

By Evan Ackerman

Don’t get me wrong, I love the whole digital revolution concept, but some things just aren’t reproducible with electronics. Bubble wrap is one of those things, but that didn’t stop Bandai from trying with their PutiPuti bubble wrap toy. The buttons are supposed to emulate the feel of bubble wrap, and when you push one, you’ll hear a popping noise. Every 100 pops, just for variety (?), you might hear a door chime, barking dog, fart, or “sexy voice.”

I readily admit that I haven’t tried this thing. But I honestly don’t see how the tactile experience of popping bubble wrap can be reproduced in a satisfying manner by a little plastic box. Part of the fun of popping bubble wrap is the act of destruction, and the knowledge that once you’ve popped the last bubble, there’s none left. If this happens to you, and you’re desperate for more bubble wrap, you can buy a PutiPuti in any of 5 colors in September for about $7. Or, you can spend that $7 on something like 30 square feet of the real thing.

[ PutiPuti (In Japanese) ] VIA [ Trends In Japan ]

Schroers & Schroers Uranus & Cosmos Glass LCD Or Plasma Stands

Schroers & Schroers Uranus & Cosmos Glass LCD Stands (Images courtesy Visionary AV Solutions Ltd.)
By Andrew Liszewski

Since LCD and plasma displays have become more common having one hanging on your wall is less likely to impress your friends when they come over. But I guarantee these all glass ‘floating’ stands are sure to impress anyone and everyone who stops by. While glass shelving and displays are nothing new the Uranus and Cosmos models made by Schroers & Schroers have no visible metal pieces and look like they’re ready to shatter at any moment under the weight of the display.

The Uranus model (on the left) is designed to hold an LCD or plasma display up to 38 inches in size or about 30 kilograms in weight. On the bottom is a rotary base that can actually be swiveled thanks to a series of hardened steel balls that roll along a milled groove. The Cosmos (on the right) is the larger of the two and can accommodate screens up to 60 inches in size and includes an integrated shelf for holding up to 4 AV components. While they look really cool in the product shots I can’t help but wonder if they’ll look as cool once you’ve got all the wiring hooked up between devices.

You can expect to pay just over $3,000 for the Uranus stand while the Cosmos is actually available in 2 sizes depending on the size of your screen and runs between $5,900 and $6,600. Personally I think I’ll stick with my IKEA stuff for the time being.

[ Schroers & Schroers Uranus & Cosmos Glass LCD Stands ] VIA [ Cribcandy ]

Whirlpool centralpark Connection – Not Just A Fridge Anymore

Whirlpool centralpark Connection (Image courtey Whirlpool)
By Andrew Liszewski

From what I’ve seen having an LCD display built into a fridge hasn’t really caught on as a mainstream option just yet. I think they’re still waiting for their ‘killer app’ but in the meantime they’re just a solution looking for a problem. Whirlpool seems to be thinking the same way when they came up with their centralpark Connection idea. The new feature will be available on their side-by-side fridge models and will add a special plug to the top of the door that’s compatible with custom made removable plastic cradles.

The general idea is for the cradles to hold something like a DVD player or LCD picture frame allowing them to be ‘parked’ on the fridge as needed. But unlike a built-in display the devices can easily be removed and used elsewhere in the home as needed. At a recent trade show Whirlpool showed off cradles holding a portable Panasonic DVD player and a Philips LCD picture frame and apparently more electronics manufacturers have expressed interest in the concept. Ideally the centralpark feature will use a single standardized cradle and third-party manufacturers will produce devices specifically designed to fit the cradle and be used on a fridge.

Whirlpool hopes to have the centralpark Connection feature available on some of their fridge models sometime in 2008 with a starting price of about $899.

[ Whirlpool centralpark Connection ]

Bikeboard Water – A Scooter For The Lake

Swiss Bikeboard Water (Images courtesy Swissbikeboard)
By Andrew Liszewski

I’ve never in my life tried to water ski but that doesn’t stop me from laughing at those who have and particularly those who fall. I guess I just like walking around not completely covered in bruises. I would however jump at the chance to take a spin on this thing. The Bikeboard Water from Swissbikeboard is kind of a cross between water skiing and those stand-up type jet skis, but without the motor.

Like with water skiing you need to be towed by a boat but unlike water skiing the tow rope is connected directly to the Bikeboard apparently making it far easier for beginner riders to get going. It also has a set of handlebars that can be used for steering though I’m not entirely sure how that works unless there’s a small rudder on the underside I’m not seeing. If anything the Bikeboard Water at least looks far safer than other towed toys like say the Wego Kite Tube.

The Bikeboard Water is available directly from Swissbikeboard for $958 and can also be ordered in other configurations for use on land or snow. I just figured the water version was more appropriate for the summer time.

[ Bikeboard Water ] VIA [ The Gadgeteer ]

Dreamate Sleep Aid – A One Way Ticket To Dreamland

Dreamate Sleep Aid (Image courtesy Gaiam)By Andrew Liszewski

If life’s got you a bit too stressed to get a good night’s sleep you’ll be happy to know there’s a whole industry dedicated to helping you finally catch some Z’s. But if unnecessary medication isn’t your thing there are alternatives like the Dreamate Sleep Aid. It’s a special wrist band you’re supposed to wear when you’re ready to go to bed that delivers a “comfortable double-frequency micro-massage (via a vibration motor) to specific pulse points — called the Sleeping Golden Triangle in traditional Chinese medicine — to safely relieve stress and induce sleep.”

Apparently this ‘Sleeping Golden Triangle’ is three acupuncture points located on the wrist that are responsible for calming, relieving stress and sleep inducing and stimulating these points with vibration can actually help put you under. Of course if it doesn’t work you can always go back to downing a bottle of children’s cough medicine when it’s time to hit the hay. (Please note: OhGizmo does not officially recommend downing a bottle of children’s cough syrup for either medical or entertainment purposes.)

The Dreamate is currently available from Gaiam for $99.

[ Dreamate Sleep Aid ] VIA [ ThisNext ]

Craftsman CompuCarve For The Lazy Woodworker

Craftsman CompuCarve (Images courtesy Sears & CarveWright)
By Andrew Liszewski

Wood carving seems like it’s not that hard but the few times I’ve tried it the sharp knives and chisels took more off my fingers than the piece of wood. So I can see why the CompuCarve from Craftsman would be incredibly useful for any workshop. It’s basically a computer controlled router and milling machine that can produce complex 3D patterns on most soft materials like wood, plastics and even high-density foam.

It includes custom 3D software for creating your own designs and even though it’s claimed to be user friendly I imagine there’s a bit of a learning curve depending on how complex you want those designs to be. And while it does require a PC the designs are transferred to the machine via memory cards so that your computer doesn’t have to be in the same sawdust filled room. Of course given the CompuCarve’s relatively compact size it can only handle materials up to 5 inches high and 14 1/2 inches long meaning you’re somewhat limited to only producing stuff like 3D signs and ornate wooden boxes.

The Craftsman CompuCarve is available from Sears for $1,899.

[ Craftsman CompuCarve ] VIA [ Uber-Review ]

Weekend DIY Project – Digital Newsstand

DIY Digital Newsstand (Images courtesy Design on deadline)
By Andrew Liszewski

Using an old newspaper vending rack, a 17″ LG Flatron LCD monitor, a Mac mini and a bit of free time assistant newspaper editor Scott Walker created this brilliant digital newsstand. Now instead of having to walk to the driveway to fetch the newspaper the day’s headlines are automatically downloaded and displayed in his living room every morning.

Thanks to a few native Apple applications and a couple of cheap third-party ones the digital newsstand can not only deliver the day’s news (or I guess yesterday’s news) but can also be used to play photo slideshows, music and videos.

With a little AppleScript work, I trained my Mac to get the papers. The Mac Mini connects to the Internet and to my iTunes library through my home wireless network. Each morning the computer launches a script triggered by an iCal alarm. While cueing up a music playlist, the script automatically gathers images, crops them in half with GraphicConverter and launches a slideshow with PhotoPresenter, a nifty little $8 shareware program with lots of snazzy transitions. The remote can pause or cycle through the pages.

If you’re interested there’s also a video after the jump showing the digital newsstand in action as well as giving you a brief look inside the box.

[ The Digital Newsstand ] VIA [ MAKE: Blog ]

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A Ringtone For Your Doorbell

usb doorbellBy David Ponce

It’s entirely possible that you’re the type of person whose skin is translucent from spending every waking hour indoors (playing WoW?). That’s cool, we don’t judge. But if that’s the case, there’s a good chance you also get a barrage of visitors who come and dump stuff at your door all day, be it pizza, or pimple medication. Whoever it is, I bet you’d love it if they could get a taste of your fascinating personality when they ring your bell. With the USB Doorbell from Thinkgeek, you can do just that. Plug it into your PC’s USB port, upload any 30 second MP3 or WAV, and install it instead of your regular doorbell. Then, next time anyone rings, they’ll get an earful of Bjork getting strangled, or whatever stuff you’re into.

Please be aware that “The USB Doorbell is NOT a wireless doorbell. It is designed to be used in homes with pre-wired LOW VOLTAGE doorbell systems (which is the standard doorbell system). The USB Doorbell does not include a step down transformer, and is only designed to be used within a low voltage circuit (4-24 V).” It’s also in stock, and sells for $100.

If you read after the jump, we’ve included a dandy video.

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