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Monthly Archives: May 2008

DigiWall Interactive Climbing Wall

DigiWall Interactive Climbing Wall (Image courtesy the Interactive Institute)
By Andrew Liszewski

You can think of the DigiWall as a gigantic version of the WiiFit. But instead of doing physical activities like pushups or skiing, you actually climb it like any other indoor climbing wall. The grips are equipped with individual sensors for hands and feet that allow a computer system running in the background to track the movements of various climbers on the wall. And like with the WiiFit, the DigiWall is designed to make physical activities more entertaining by disguising them as interactive games. On the DigiWall these include ‘Catch the grip’ where you try to touch as many climbing grips as possible in one minute, or even a giant version of Pong where your whole body is used as a paddle as you compete with a player on the other side of the wall.

The DigiWall doesn’t have a traditional video display like a computer monitor, but instead uses the light-up climbing grips to form a large but low-resolution monochrome display. It also relies on a seven channel speaker system for audio feedback, and can even be turned into a giant musical instrument if you wanted to let your creative juices flow. The DigiWall was originally developed at the Interactive Institute’s Sonic Studio in Sweden, but is now a real product that’s available for sale. It comes in 6 meter wide by 2.6 meter high sections that can be combined to create a larger wall, but if you want pricing info you’ll have to request a specific quote.

[ DigiWall ] VIA [ Interactive Architecture dot Org ]

Notepad Icon Notepad

Icon Notepad (Image courtesy Design Museum Shop)
By Andrew Liszewski

Well this one doesn’t need much explaining, it’s a simple paper notepad designed to look like a notepad icon. Perfect for those 5 or 6 item to-do lists. It was designed by Atypyk Paris and is available from the Design Museum Shop for about $10.

[ Icon Notepad ]

[email protected] Emoticon Keyboard

Look@Me Emoticon Keyboard (Images courtesy designboom)
By Andrew Liszewski

Earlier in the year, well-known electronics manufacturer Asus actually split into three separate divisions. One of those divisions (now known as Pegatron) has a dedicated design department called PEGA who recently created 8 different interactive concept products under the theme of ‘Between On&Off’. One of those concepts was this [email protected] keyboard for instant messaging which actually only has 40 keys containing various emoticon elements. (Basically an assortment of alphabet and punctuation keys.)

The compact layout and limited number of keys means the [email protected] can be used one-handed, but I’m not exactly sure why someone would want an extra keyboard that only includes emoticon elements. I mean the whole point of the emoticon was to use the standard characters on a regular keyboard to express your feelings. If you wanted to make adding emoticons to a conversation easier, why not just make each key its own emoticon? I realize there are far more than just 40 emoticons to choose from, but that should be more than enough to cover the basics.

[ PEGA Design – [email protected] Emoticon Keyboard ] VIA [ designboom ]

Control Your TV From A Pillow

By Luke Anderson

There’s nothing worse than watching TV when suddenly a really bad show or infomercial comes on and the remote is nowhere to be found. It is at this point you begin to ponder whether or not your couch can actually eat objects. The problem is that remotes are rather small, and can easily be misplaced or lost. Sure, you could buy a larger remote, but that’s no fun. So why not stick it inside something bigger, like a pillow?

This Remote Control Pillow Case  looks like an ordinary pillow with an extra piece of cloth sewn on. Drawn on this extra cloth is the outline of a universal remote. This allows you to supposedly use the remote while it is contained in this pouch. What I don’t understand is how this tiny scrap of cloth justifies the $116 price.

[ UncommonGoods ] VIA [ UberGizmo ]

Turn Your Can Into A Resealable Bottle

By Luke Anderson

Have you ever been outside on a hot Summer day and reached for your can of pop, only to see a bee crawling out the opening? While I’m sure that the bee isn’t going to ruin my drink, I just can’t bear to drink it after seeing that. I’ve seen a few devices meant to seal pop cans, however, this has to be my favorite so far.

Essentially this plastic contraption snaps to the top of your can and turns it into a bottle with a screw cap. While I wouldn’t use this when indoors, I’d definitely keep one on my can when doing stuff outdoors. You should be able to pick up 3-packs for around $10 at local stores.

[ SnapCapp ] VIA [ Coolest Gadgets ]

From The Road: Unplugging

By Luke Anderson

It’s finally warm again here in the Midwest and it is beautiful outside. I realized that I’ve been putting in some long hours in front of my computer for the last few weeks, so I decided it was time to unplug.

One of my favorite things to do is hike, which means I head to one of my favorite state parks. The great thing about this place is not only is the scenery beautiful, but I also can’t get a signal on my phone. That’s right, no matter how urgent the matter is, everyone is simply routed to my voicemail.

It’s been a great day, but unfortunately it’s already time to head back to civilization.

Brando USB Plasma Tube Combines Pretty With Useless

USB Plasma Tube

By Evan Ackerman

If you have $15 burning a hole in your pocket and a USB port burning a hole in your computer, leave it to Brando to put out the metaphorical fires with this, their most recent and perhaps most colorful USB accessory. This unspeakably phallic device has an 8.5″ plasma tube that lights up in one of three colors, and can be set to react to music or ambient noise. It looks like it’ll probably snap in half if you breathe on it, but what do you honestly expect for $15?

As much as I like to harsh on the useless USB junk, if you check out the video on Brando’s website, seeing a few of these things lighting up is actually kinda cool.

[ USB DJ Plasma Tube ] VIA [ Gizmodo ]

Red Diamond Bathtub Is A Good Place To Spend The Rest Of Your Life

Red Diamond Bathtub

By Evan Ackerman

Generally, I’m not much for baths. They take a while to get ready, it gets boring to just lie there, the water inevitably cools off, and when I get out I don’t feel especially clean. If I had a Red Diamond Bathtub, though, all of my problems would be solved and showers would be a thing of the past and it would take me about 2 hours to get ready for work in the morning. This is a serious, serious bathtub. The first thing you’ll notice are the two waterproof HDTVs that pop up out of concealed side panels. There’s also an integrated Champagne holder, fully electronic controls (including automatic temperature hold), solid gold highlighting, and a whole bunch of Swarovski crystals leaded amorphous solids.

Want more? Okay, how about comfortable seating for two, four color LED mood lighting, an “electric self extracting hand-held shower unit,” variable intensity whirlpool and airpool jets, a continuous automatic water disinfection system, and a GSM module that lets you call the bathtub (!) and order up a bath with the temperature and water level of your choice from anywhere in the world.

For the ultimate in bathtub luxury, expect to pay somewhere around $47,000.

[ WGT ] VIA [ Born Rich ]

From The Road: Pac-Man Invades A Transit Shelter

Pac-Man Invades A Public Transit Shelter (Image property of OhGizmo!)
By Andrew Liszewski

I’m not necessarily an advocate of graffiti, but when someone manages to turn a regular transit shelter into an awesome retro video-game-themed shelter, I can’t really find a reason to complain. For some reason, whether it be for decoration or to make the glass more visible, the streetcar transit shelters here are adorned with a strip of yellow dots running all the way around. So a local artist (and possibly gamer) added some strategically placed graphics to recreate a scene from Pac-Man.

But this isn’t the first video game themed graffiti I’ve come across here. A few months ago a local artist named Posterchild paid tribute to Valve’s Portal game with a 3D Weighted Companion Cube passing through a couple of buildings. Unfortunately by the time I got back with a real camera to snap a photo, it had already been taken down. But a photographer friend of mine did manage to take a few shots before it disappeared.