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Monthly Archives: December 2007

Razer Mako 2.1 Speakers Use Your Desk As An ‘Aural Mirror’

Razer Mako 2.1 Speakers (Image courtesy Razer)
By Andrew Liszewski

While most game consoles can take advantage of an already existing home theater setup, the same can’t be said for gaming PCs. So Razer has created a set of PC-specific speakers that not only rival the sound of the ones in your living room, but can easily fit on almost any computer desk.

The Mako 2.1 desktop speakers consist of 2-100W satellites and a 200W woofer (with a built in amp) and were actually developed in collaboration with THX. The problem with most desktop speakers is that they blast the sound straight ahead, which means you have to find the sweet spot and stay in it to avoid unbalanced sound. The Mako’s satellite speakers however blast the sound downward and use the desk’s hard surface as an ‘aural mirror.’ The result is a small set of speakers that produce a spacious, omni directional and distortion free sound for anyone within about 200 sq. ft.

But at $399 I think I’m happy with my headphones.

[ Razer Mako 2.1 Speakers ] VIA [ Popular Mechanics ]

Custom Crocheted Super Mario Mushroom Scarf

Custom 1-UP Mushroom Crochet Scarf (Images courtesy Etsy)
By Andrew Liszewski

Here’s the perfect way to blow all that money you got for Christmas, stay warm, and make all of your Nintendo fanboy friends jealous. This 1-UP Mushroom Scarf is hand crocheted by someone calling themselves ‘UrbanPrincess’ on Etsy and is actually available for sale on a made-to-order basis.

The scarf is 5 1/2 inches wide and over 6 feet long, giving you a healthy chain of extra lives in case something were to happen. And since each one is made-to-order, you can actually request a different color mushroom if extra lives aren’t your thing. Just keep in mind this is a hand-made item that takes a long time to make, which is reflected in the price. While the scarves were originally sold at an introductory price of $95, they have since gone up to $150.

[ Custom 1-UP Mushroom Crochet Scarf ] VIA [ DS Fanboy ]

Titanium Insoles Put A Space-Age Spring In Your Step

Titanium Spring Loaded Insoles (Image courtesy Hammacher Schlemmer)By Andrew Liszewski

Hammacher Schlemmer claims these are the only titanium spring loaded insoles in the world, and I have no reason to doubt that. The 1/4 inch suspension coils are located directly underneath the heel, and not only do they provide extra support and cushioning, but they can apparently even turn some of the energy from your foot’s downward motion into a push-off effect on your next step.

Under the ball of your foot the insoles also include 7 smaller springs designed to further cushion and distribute your weight as you walk. Titanium was chosen for the springs because it ensures they won’t lose their shock-absorbing ability over time, and probably because we still associate titanium with rockets, fighter planes and other high-end technologies. Having the same material under the soles of your feet might even make you feel like a superhero or something.

You can find them on the Hammacher Schlemmer website for $29.95.

[ Titanium Spring Loaded Insoles ]

Omron Blood Pressure Monitor With Advanced Positioning Sensor

Omron HEM-650 Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor (Image courtesy Amazon)By Andrew Liszewski

Even though the cartoons make high blood pressure look like fun with all the steam blasting out of your ears and the pitch-red face, it turns out it can actually be bad for those of us who aren’t animated. So checking your BP on a regular basis is kind of important. The Omron HEM-650 allows you to do that from the comfort of your own home without a doctor, and has a couple of handy features to help make sure you’re doing it right.

First, it uses the company’s patented ‘Intellisense’ technology to automatically inflate the wrist cuff to the ideal level. Even though inflating it to the point where you cut off circulation might seem like fun, it’s apparently not the best way to do it. And because the HEM-650 uses a wrist cuff, it’s better suited for people with larger, python-like arms like yours truly. (They’re a blessing and a curse.) Another important factor in getting an accurate blood pressure reading from a wrist monitor is to ensure the cuff is at the same level as your heart. So the HEM-650 has an ‘Advanced Positioning Sensor’ that automatically confirms when the monitor has been placed at the correct level. I’m actually kind of interested how it knows it’s at the right level, but I guess that’s probably a trade secret.

You can find the Omron HEM-650 at Amazon for $61.03.

[ Omron HEM-650 Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor ] VIA [ GadgetGrid ]

Nagtags Help Your Kids Remember Stuff / Resent You More

Nagtags (Image courtesy Nagtags)By Andrew Liszewski

Nagtags work on the same principle of sewing a kids mittens to the sleeve of their coat, to ensure they’ll never be forgotten. But instead of being made of wool, the Nagtags are actually small, electronic to-do lists that should help reduce the number of things your kids forget to do or pack.

The Nagtag currently comes in two versions, a School and Sport model that each have custom lists of items to remember. For example, the School Nagtag includes options for everything from pens and binder paper to lunches and text books. The Sports Nagtag however includes lists for pretty much every sport your kid could be involved with, and covers everything from equipment to deodorant. And let’s be honest, while the Nagtag website seems to be targeting kids as their prime demographic, it’s not like your memory becomes 100% foolproof as you get older. So the Nagtags can be programmed with custom items allowing anyone to use them.

Both versions of the Nagtag are available on the company’s website for $19.99 each, though the School version seems to be sold out at the moment. (Seems like somebody forgot to restock I guess.)

[ Nagtags ]

Stanley Low-Tech Calculator/Ruler Watch

Stanley Ruler WatchBy Evan Ackerman

If you don’t pay close attention and don’t know what you’re looking at, the Stanley Calculator Ruler Watch sorta looks impressive. In fact, it looks like it’s got a giant antenna sicking out of it. Hey, is that a watch phone? Is it a GPS? Can you call in airstrikes on it? Control satellites? Alter the weather? Well, um, no. But you can measure stuff. Stuff that’s less than six inches long. If it’s more than six inches long, you’ll have to use the built-in calculator (which features, as the catalog takes pains to point out, a decimal point) to add up things in sub-six-inch increments. This watch costs $62, and is actually MORE expensive than a Stanley tape measure watch from like a year ago, which has a backlit display and is way less ugly. I guess it’s because it doesn’t have that sweet calculator. Oh well.

[ Stanley Calculator Ruler Watch ] VIA [ Gadgetizer ]

Sound And Light: Now With Invisibility

Transparent SpeakerBy Evan Ackerman

When I wrote about invisible speakers a few weeks ago, it was really somewhat of a misnomer… The speakers aren’t actually invisible, they’re just hidden. This speaker, from some researchers in Japan, is about as invisible as a speaker is going to get, since it’s completely transparent. Although there aren’t many details available, the speaker is supposed to be of decent quality, and is capable of creating virtual surround sound. Not only is it flexible and damn skinny, but the amplification comes from the panel itself, not from the mountings. It’s currently in the functional prototype stage. VIA [ DVICE ]

OSRAMAlso in the functional prototype stage are these transparent OLED light panels. The cool thing about these panels is that they are transparent even when they’re turned on (this effect doesn’t really come through in the pic). Between 55% and 75% transparent, in fact. The light they emit is somehow both diffuse and directional (don’t ask me how that works), and currently the output is about 20 lumen/W (more efficient than an incandescent bulb) at a brightness of 1000cd/m2. A typical LCD monitor outputs something like 500cd/m2 (if you’re lucky), so that’s not too bad. VIA [ Electronicstalk ]

It’s only a matter of time, I guess, before you’ll be able to wallpaper your entire house with a transparent film that’s both ambient lighting and surround sound. Probably a matter of a long, long time.

Clothing With Built-In Tourniquets May Save The Lives Of Many Soldiers


By Luke Anderson

I’ve never been a military guy, though several of my family members have served their time in the line of fire. Apparently one of the biggest causes for death on the battlefield comes from blood loss occurring from an injury. Tourniquets are a huge help in this department, but they aren’t always readily available, and if the soldier is alone, it can be difficult to administer depending on the injury. However, these new Tourniquet Pants could save countless lives with their unique way of storing them.

These pants, along with the matching top each feature four separate tourniquets which are strategically located to maximize their potential. The tourniquets can be constricted immediately with only the use of a single hand. The pants aren’t cheap, coming in at around $200, but in the line of duty, money really doesn’t much matter.

[ Blackhawk ] VIA [ Crave ]

Luxury Bed Features Retractable TV Stand

Chicago Bed

By Luke Anderson

Watching TV in bed seems like such a natural thing to do. I tend to turn on something rather random and set the sleep timer before I conk out, when I don’t read before bed that is. Since most people who watch TV in their bedroom do so from their bed, wouldn’t it make sense to have a TV built right into the bed frame? As long as it’s done right, I think it would be an excellent idea.

The Chicago bed from Mayflower Designs shows exactly how it should be done. Have a small LCD TV set in a rising stand at the foot of the bed. When not in use, it just retracts into the frame where it is out of sight. You can customize almost every detail of these beds from the upholstery to free standing ottomans and cabinets. This bit of luxury will no doubt set you back a hefty sum, though there’s no information currently regarding pricing.

[ Mayflower Designs ] VIA [ Born Rich ]