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Monthly Archives: May 2008

This Week On BotJunkie

Haptic Creature

By Evan Ackerman

This week on BotJunkie, we saw some of the first exoplanetary images taken after the successful landing of the Phoenix robotic laboratory in the northern artic regions of Mars, found out that the perfect woman has been invented and can be yours as of June 11, tried hard to be impressed by a little robot who was able to climb the Grand Canyon on two AA batteries, watched an ABB robotic arm show off its spectacularly inhuman speed and accuracy, were introduced to a solar powered autonomous weed destroyer, saw some combat robots trying to tear each other to bits in super slow-mo, learned about some monkeys that have been trained to control a robot arm with their brain, were wowed by the latest and smartest incarnation of DEKA’s Luke robotic prosthetic arm, rejoiced that we can turn ourselves into cyborgs since the Berkeley Bionics HULC powered exoskeleton is now available for preorder, and ended the week on a fuzzy note with the squeezably soft and snuggably purrable Haptic Creature.

[ BotJunkie ]

Is This The Ocean 2?

By Luke Anderson

A while back I made the switch from a Helio Ocean to a Mysto. The Mysto is a great device, but I’ve been missing the full QWERTY keyboard like crazy. I keep telling myself that I’ll just wait for an Ocean 2 to come along, because I know that the minute I go and purchase another Ocean, they’ll release an upgrade.

It seems that the gang over at Engadget have spotted what they believe to be Ocean 2. The believed specs on this phone include a 3MP camera, dual-slider function, 1GB of internal storage (with a microSDHC for external storage) in-browser Flash support, 30fps video recording, touch-sensitive directional pad and the ability to sync with your PC.

Hopefully most of this rumor ends up having some truth behind it. Heck, maybe they can get around to releasing it before the 3G iPhone comes out. Here’s to hoping!

VIA [ Engadget Mobile ]

Dunhill Bulldog USB Key Lets You Pay More For Less

By Luke Anderson

Rich people scare me. Okay, so not all of them do, but the ones that feel the need to spend $300 extra for an item that anyone else would pick up for dirt cheap. One such item I’m referring to is the Dunhill Bulldog USB Key, which is made from stainless steel and have a bulldog on the tip. No other special functions or abilities, yet for some reason it will run you $350. I guess if you really love bulldogs or enjoy lighting cigars with $100 bills, you’ll love this drive.

[ Dunhill ] VIA [ EverythingUSB ]

A Simple Design For Carrying Coffee

By Luke Anderson

I don’t like coffee, so I rarely find myself in a situation where I’m attempting to carry several cups of Joe. I have gathered that it can be something of a difficult situation to coordinate all of those hot cups, even with the various carriers out there.

This cool design actually looks like it would make transporting hot coffee (or any other similarly-sized beverage) fairly easy with a simple device. It appears to be just a flat piece of cardboard with a well-designed shape which allows you to carry two cups and a few extra napkins. I’m sure we’ll see something like this popping up a coffee joints all over.

[ Sinn-Frei ] VIA [ Dvice ]

Digital Planter Lets Your Garden Taunt You

Digital Plant Pot

By Evan Ackerman

As if I don’t already feel bad enough when my houseplants that I pay so much attention to up and die on me, designer Junyi Heo has created a USB planter with an LED display that makes faces to convey the current emotional state of your leafy pal. The planter has sensors that measure soil conditions, temperature, humidity, and water, and based on the type of plant in the planter, some software will calculate how the plant is most likely, uh, feeling. There are a bunch of different facial expressions, including male and female ones, along with some simpler pictures that tell you if the plant is too hot, too cold, or thirsty. Seems like it could also use something to tell you if it’s getting the proper amount of light, which I think is how I manage to kill most of my foliage. Speaking of, you know what else it could use? A little tombstone icon a la Oregon Trail: “Here lies Wilt. He died from lack of sun.” Rest in peace, my chlorophyllic friend… Rest in peace.

VIA [ Yanko Design ]

Fish Tank Friday: Rhythmfish


By Evan Ackerman

I’m not sure what it is about fish that inspires people to create technologically bizarre fish tanks to try and elicit some sort of deeper meaning from their movements. This particular example is the Rhythmfish system, designed by Sangmin Bae. Webcams surrounding the tank record the movements of the fish, and the images are combined with data from flow sensors inside the tank which measure the currents generated by the swimming fish. The results are translated (somehow) into an audiovisual, uh, something, which is performed through an LCD screen and speakers mounted on the tank. The designer says: “even if the fish can’t speak and express its feelings in a human way, it has an energy and communication skill in its own way. Vibration is the medium of interaction, and I chose it for its universality in the physical, emotional, and spiritual realms.” Hm. I wonder if the fish feel the same way, or maybe they’re just trying to figure out what the heck all this weird electronic stuff is doing in their tank.

[ Coroflot ]

Medinose Hayfever Treatment

Medisana Medinose (Image courtesy Health Innovations Ltd.)By Andrew Liszewski

While most people are happy to see the arrival of Spring after the cold Winter months, I’m a bit less welcoming since it means it’s time for me to stock up on allergy medications. Until now, the only other option was to simply never go outside in the Spring (actually a lot easier than it sounds) but a device called the Medinose could provide an alternative solution. It uses light therapy applied directly to the inside of the nose to ‘practically eliminate’ allergic symptoms like congestion, runny nose, watery eyes and headaches with just a couple of weeks use.

Using photo therapy, Medinose inhibits the release of histamine, relieving or even completely eliminating allergic reactions and complaints in a natural way. The body is not burdened by drugs and Medinose has no side effects. Medinose consists of a small power pack (about the size of cigarette packet) and two probes which are inserted into the nostrils.

Each treatment session with the Medinose takes just approx. 4.5 minutes 2-3 times a day. The Medinose can be used anywhere: at home, on the move or at work. With severe symptoms, treatment can be repeated several times without any side effects. As soon as the symptoms subside, the number of treatments can be reduced. The Medinose is, however, also suitable for prevention.

Photo therapy is a method developed in hospitals for treating allergic reactions. It uses visible red light that acts on the cellular metabolism, slowing down the immune reaction and reducing inflammation of the nasal mucous membranes. The light causes an overall reduction in allergic reactions and symptoms. The manufacturers of Medinose have taken this technology and developed a hand held, consumer friendly device.

While I actually wouldn’t be opposed to trying the device, I’m afraid there’s just no way I would use it anywhere except in the privacy of my own home. (On the move? Seriously?) It’s available from Health Innovations Ltd. for about $156, and if it works as claimed, in the long run it would probably be cheaper than buying medications.

[ Medisana Medinose ] VIA [ Shiny Shiny ]

If Nothing Else, Ghost Goblets Make For A Cool Effect

Ghost Goblet (Image courtesy CocktailVibe)By Andrew Liszewski

Let’s face it. If you’re the type of person who reads a gadget blog every morning (or 70) you’re also the type of person who likes to have the latest cool or unique gadgets to show off to your friends. So the next time your pals stop by and you’re serving up some refreshments, why not blow their minds with these Ghost Goblets.

Ok, while they’re not exactly ‘mind-blowing’ the goblet within a glass effect is still pretty cool, particularly when it’s filled with what appears to be a weird hybrid of Tang and V8. I think that cocktail is officially called ‘Sadness in my Mouth.’

A set of 4 Ghost Goblets is available from for $74.95.

[ Ghost Goblet ] VIA [ Nerd Approved ]

REDI MP3 Players Come Preloaded With Music

REDI MP3 Players (Images courtesy redi & Best Buy)
By Andrew Liszewski

While iTunes has made the process of legally acquiring MP3s a lot easier than it used to be, there are still plenty of people who have no idea how to even boot up a computer, let alone load music onto an MP3 player. And that’s pretty much the target market for the REDI. It’s a basic 1GB MP3 player that comes preloaded with about 250 tracks, which is equal to about 6 hours of music. Since everyone has different tastes, the REDI comes in a variety of different ‘themes’ depending on what you like. If you intend to use it for running or jogging you can go for the ‘Ultimate Workout Mix’ but if you’d prefer to relax you can choose the ‘Golden Classics’ version instead.

At the moment there appear to be about 8 different versions of the REDI, but it also features a USB mini jack allowing you to upload your own MP3 (or WMA) files at a later time. Other features include an FM radio tuner, a simple LCD display and playback controls and of course a pair of earbud headphones that you’ll probably want to immediately replace. Best Buy currently has 4 versions of the REDI for sale, including the Ultimate Workout Mix, the Ultimate Rock N’ Roll Collection, the R&B Soul Collection and Golden Classics for $39.99 each.

[ REDI MP3 Player ] VIA [ The Gadgeteer ]