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Monthly Archives: May 2008

Eball Inflatable Golf Simulator

Eball Inflatable Golf Simulator (Images courtesy Eball Games)
By Andrew Liszewski

So you really liked that Full Swing Golf Simulator we wrote about a few months ago, but don’t particularly feel like completely renovating your home just to have one installed. Well as long as you have a big enough backyard, you can opt for this inflatable golf simulator setup from Eball Games instead. It also uses a large projection screen and a series of sensors to detect the motion and speed of a real golf ball, which is then translated to a virtual ball on a 3D course. It’s no where near as portable as a Nintendo DS or a PSP, but since it’s inflatable, it collapses down to an easily transportable package. The simulator only works with woods and irons, so you won’t be able to practice your putting game, but it is weatherproof allowing you to play in all but the worst of storms.

[ Eball Inflatable Golf Simulator ] VIA [ Born Rich ]

From The Road: Sony’s Rolly… Not Quite A Robot, Just Barely A Speaker

Sony Rolly (Image property of OhGizmo!)
By Andrew Liszewski

After a multi-month renovation my local Sony Store was just reborn as the ‘Sony Style’ store. At the grand re-opening there was the usual hoopla with Sony reps giving demos of various products which gave me my first chance to spend some real one-on-one time with the Rolly. I can’t say I was disappointed, because quite frankly I wasn’t expecting much, but I’m having trouble seeing why someone would pay $400 for one. When you see it rolling it around with the flaps moving about you might think the Rolly was being positioned as a sort of interactive musical companion, but it’s just not. While the Rolly’s dance moves can be synced to whatever music it’s playing (or streaming) or even custom programmed on a PC, that’s about as interactive as it gets. A few store patrons seemed to think it was a robot along the lines of Aibo based on how it was moving about, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

So I guess we should just think of the Rolly as a ‘funky’ set of speakers right? Well unfortunately that was the one area where I can say I was disappointed. The Rolly is about the size of a soda can, so when you consider that has to fit a 5 hour battery, the motors to drive the ‘wheels’ and other electronic components, there’s not much room left for the speakers. As a result I was definitely unimpressed with the Rolly’s sound quality, and I don’t think I’d want to spend 5 hours listening to my music through Rolly’s speakers. As a party gimmick it might be cool for a few minutes, but I think there are far better ways to blow $400.

Sticky Lamp Comes In Reusable Packaging

Sticky Lamp (Image courtesy the Design Museum Shop)
By Andrew Liszewski

Designed by Chris Kabel, the Sticky Lamp comes in what appears to be the standard plastic bubble packaging you’d normally throw away once it was opened. However, the plastic packaging is actually meant to be a part of the lamp itself. On the back you’ll find a self-adhesive fixing that allows you to stick the lamp wherever you need an extra bit of light. Not surprisingly you’re not supposed to use a bulb that’s greater than 15W, and I assume an energy efficient fluorescent or LED model that gives off minimal heat would be the best choice.

You can find the Sticky Lamp at the Design Museum Shop for about $48.

[ Sticky Lamp ]

Brando Card Reader Drive Dock

Brando HD Dock

By Evan Ackerman

When I need more storage nowadays, I’m too cheap and/or lazy to bother with external drive enclosures. I just find a sexy, naked HD, plug her in, and go to town. Brando streamlines the connection process with this SATA drive dock, which is able to read any 2.5″ or 3.5″ SATA HD you shove into its maw. It also reads all of the trendiest varieties of memory cards, and includes two USB ports to boot. Connect it to your computer with either a USB cable or an eSata cable, and you’ll have the only storage media reader you’ll ever need. Except for CDs and DVDs, that is. And IDE drives. And floppy disks. And holodisks. You’re getting close, Brando, but you’re not all the way there yet.

The SATA HDD Multi-Function Dock will run you just under $80, including shipping.

[ Brando ]

Golf Ball Mouse Won’t Improve Your Game

By Luke Anderson

I discovered long ago that golf is not my game. I used to go with some of my friends, mostly to make them feel better. No matter how bad they were doing, I was always doing far worse. I’ve since decided to stick with putt-putt, now that’s my game.  For those of you out there with golf on the mind at work, you might try out this Golf Ball Mouse and pad.

This mouse pad isn’t going to improve your short game, but you can pass the time putting around with a tiny ball and driver. The mouse doen’t exactly look like it would be too comfortable, and it kind of reminds me of those hockey puck mice that used to come with the old iMacs. No word on pricing or availability.

VIA [ SlipperyBrick ]

Let Other Drivers Know How You Really Feel With Drivemocion

By Luke Anderson

How many times have you had someone riding a bit too close to your bumper that you’ve wanted to tell off? Sure, you could always flip them the bird, but if they’re not paying enough attention to you, they might not notice. So why not put a nice light-up sign in the back of your car that can let them know how you really feel with the push of a button?

This little device goes in the back window of your car and can be made to emote things like “Thanks”, “Sorry” and well, flip them the bird for you. Of course there’s a good chance that when you flip this thing on, you’re going to make their driving even worse. Pick one of these up for around $50.

[ Drivemocion ] VIA [ Gearfuse ]

Cam-Trax Brings Gesture And Object Control To Your (Yes, Your) Webcam

By Evan Ackerman

New computer interfaces have been popping up all over the place recently, from touchable ones to magnetic ones to brain reading ones. However cool this new tech is, a far simpler and more effective interface is something we do naturally all the time: gesture. Cam-Trax is gesture and object recognition software that, unlike other systems, will run happily on your crappy webcam. It’s able to concurrently track multiple colors and shapes through three dimensions, allowing you to control your computer with objects or even yourself. As the video shows, it’s great for gaming, and even works in the context of a reasonably complicated first person shooter. It also looks like it’s easy to use and (most critically) works most of the time. I can think of about 20 uses for this software off the top of my head, and although there’s no specific information on price or availability, it’s somewhere around the beta stage so with luck, we’ll be seeing it available for download soonish.

[ Cam-Trax ] VIA [ Engadget ]

Wireless Floating Speaker

Wireless Floating Speaker (Image courtesy Brookstone)
By Andrew Liszewski

Unless your ‘pool’ happens to be a lake or other large body of water, I don’t understand why you’d need to have a speaker floating right next to you while you swim. Even a basic radio is loud enough to fill an entire backyard with music, so why add yet another item to a pool that’s probably already overcrowded with inflatable toys? On the other hand, when it comes to buying gadgets who really needs to ask why? Particularly when this floating speaker can wirelessly connect to and stream from an iPod dock ensuring your MP3 player doesn’t have to go anywhere near the water. For some reason I can’t find any info about the range of the wireless signal (besides that it operates at 915MHz) so I’m going to assume it will accommodate an average sized pool or backyard.

It’s available from Brookstone for $129.95.

[ Wireless Floating Speaker ] VIA [ Freshome ]

Hanging Alarm Clock Literally Makes You Rise, Maybe Not Shine

Hanging Alarm Clock (Image courtesy Crazy About Gadgets)
By Andrew Liszewski

They say if you build a better mousetrap the world will beat a path to your door. But given the variety of alarm clocks available on the market, I think the real money is in finding new and unique ways to wake people up in the morning. Like this hanging alarm clock for example. You attach the clock to your ceiling with the supplied cable so that it hangs just above your bed. Not so close that you’re going to hit it every time you roll over, but close enough to hit the buttons without having to reach too far.

When the alarm goes off in the morning (playing the theme from Close Encounters Of The Third Kind) you can simply reach up and hit the snooze button for some more shut eye. But that will also cause the alarm to climb up the cable 30cm every minute. So every time you hit the snooze button, that’s 30cm farther you’ll have to reach. Eventually the alarm will be so far that you have no choice but to physically get up to reach it, and at that point you’ll probably be wide awake.

You can find the Hanging Alarm Clock at Crazy About Gadgets for about $40.

[ Hanging Alarm Clock ] VIA [ GeekAlerts ]