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Monthly Archives: June 2008

People Power

By Jonathan Kimak

So you want a portable charger for your phone or mp3 player but the solar powered iPod is years away from reality. Instead you could try the Dance Charge.

A company called GotWind worked with music company Orange to create the Dance Charge. Weighing 180 grams the charger wraps around your arm and uses the kinetic energy from your body’s movement to power the battery. You can then plug in your phone or other electronic device to the charger to power it up.

The Dance Charger isn’t available for sale yet, but a prototype is being used at the Glastonbury Festival and will hopefully survive the mosh pit.

When it does come out and you use this and can only charge your phone up to 1 bar of power after a day’s worth of movement, it’s probably a sign that you need to get out of the office more often.

VIA [ Crave.Cnet ]

Surround Sound Heaphones With Style

By Jonathan Kimak

Headphones have always been a good friend of the gamer. They keep the parents, girlfriend, neighbors or pets from ruining a perfect moment by shouting/barking “Turn that damn game down” just as you were about to execute a perfect headshot. Many times you had to sacrifice comfort for functionality or vice-versa. But the AudioFX Pro 5+1 gaming headset hopes to give you everything you need, including comfort.

They do look rather comfy and the 5.1 surround sound is a really nice feature. Bonuses to the design are the included force feedback effect and LED lights on the side that indicate the volume level. It’s a USB headset and has a price tag of $79.94. Be sure to use the mute mic button if you still live at home and you don’t want to be caught on YouTube being chastised by your mom and laughed at by millions of others.

[ eDimensional ] VIA [ Everything USB ]

Camera LCD Magnifier

UNX-8507 Magnifier (Images courtesy Uniden)
By Andrew Liszewski

I love my Nikon D70 as much as I did when I first took it out of the box the day it was released. But I have to admit that over the years I’ve become jealous of more recent Nikon DSLR models which feature considerably larger LCD displays. Rumors about the new D700 have got me itching to upgrade, but that’s unfortunately an expensive solution to the problem. If you’re in the same boat but can wait until tomorrow, Uniden will be releasing the UNX-8507 which is basically a 3X magnifying glass you can place over your camera’s LCD display allowing you to get a closer look at the image you just snapped.

The magnifier features a rubber housing which allows it to be placed over the LCD on the back of any digital camera (be it an SLR or a P&S) and also ensures it’s not going to scratch your display. While I don’t necessarily recommend relying on just the LCD preview to proof your shots (a DSLR can provide far more valuable image data with histograms and such) it could be particularly handy for those with poor vision. And like I already mentioned, it should be available tomorrow for about $47.

[ Uniden UNX-8507 Magnifier ] VIA [ CrunchGear ]

Jakks Eyeclops Night Vision Goggles

Jakks Eyeclops Night Vision Goggles (Image courtesy Gearlog)
By Andrew Liszewski

Of course, maybe you’re one of those people who thinks that a high-tech pair of night vision goggles strapped to your head actually makes you look cool. (See previous post.) But not necessarily cool enough to warrant dropping thousands of dollars on a pair, just so you can see who’s knocking over your garbage cans at night. In that case you might be interested in these Eyeclops Night Vision Goggles from Jakks Pacific. While they’re actually designed for kids, they apparently use real infra-red technology to provide up to 50 feet of visibility even in complete darkness. Now I’m sure they don’t perform as well as military-spec night vision gear, but with a supposed price tag of just $79.99 this Fall, who cares?

And seriously, if you thought The Great Office War couldn’t get any more awesome, imagine if all the lights were off and everyone had to play while wearing these.

[ Gearlog – Jakks Eyeclops Night Vision Goggles ]

Night Vision Viewer (Not Goggles)

DV Infra-Red Personal Night Viewer (Image courtesy Spycatcher)By Andrew Liszewski

Have you ever wanted the ability to see what’s going on at night, but without looking like a dork because you have a set of night vision goggles strapped to your head? Enter the Infra-Red Personal Night Viewer which seems to do everything your standard set of night vision goggles does, except that it can be carried in your hand.

In order to see the illuminated results the viewer has a built-in 3.5 inch, 500 line resolution display that shows things in black and white, instead of the green hue traditionally associated with night vision gear. Or, you can hook it up to an external monitor via a composite video connection. It has 32 brightness steps so the image an be adjusted based on the ambient light conditions and is powered by 8 AA batteries. (Or a Nickel Metal Hydride battery pack.)

It’s available from for about $800.

[ DV Infra-Red Personal Night Viewer ]

Twemco Flip Clocks Feature Retro Styling And Atomic Accuracy

Retro Flip Clock (Image courtesy Apartment Therapy Unplugged)
By Andrew Liszewski

Twemco Industries has been producing fully automatic perpetual calendar flip clocks for over 30 years, and to be in business with a name like Twemco for that long, you have to assume they make a great product. And since the company has over half a million clocks installed in banks, corporations and other commercial offices where keeping track of the exact date and time is very important, it’s not surprising that their latest models will automatically set and sync themselves to the various atomic time broadcasts around the world. In fact they’re so accurate they’ll only drift by about a second every million years.

The clocks are available in a variety of designs and layouts (with or without the date) and while the majority of them feature black and white schemes, there does appear to be at least one color model in their collection. And they’re all available from the equally retro-styled Twemco website.

[ Twemco Flip Clocks ] VIA [ Apartment Therapy Unplugged ]

Talking Intelligent First Aid Kid

Talking Intelligent First Aid Kid (Image courtesy IntelligentFirstAid)
By Andrew Liszewski

You probably already have a first aid kit at home, at work or even in your car, but do you really know how to use it effectively? In an emergency situation most people are probably not as calm and collected as they should be, and fumbling around a first aid kit trying to guess how to properly deal with an injury is not exactly an effective treatment. That’s why this first aid kit from IntelligentFirstAid is actually separated into individually labeled ‘kits’ that are color coded depending on the injury. Each kit includes the specific supplies you’ll need for the injury at hand, as well as an easy to follow set of instructions with steps and illustrations that are broken down in order of importance.

The kit even goes one step further by including a simple audio player on each injury card. Squeezing the audio icon button will start the playback of a narrated version of the step-by-step instructions in a calm female voice. The playback even pauses and repeats where necessary, allowing you to accurately follow and keep up with the instructions. At $129.99 the Talking Intelligent First Aid Kit definitely isn’t cheap, but it’s one of those investments you’ll probably be happy you made when you actually need it.

[ Talking Intelligent First Aid Kit ] VIA [ Cool Hunting ]

CheckTap Programmable Powerbar

CheckTap - Automatic Energy Saving Powerstrip
By Andrew Liszewski

There’s recently been a flood of new powerbars that are all designed to cut down on the amount of energy your electronics waste when they’re in standby mode. And while the CheckTap might seem like another drop in the bucket, it does bring some new ideas to the table. Its most unique feature is that it connects to your PC via USB and can be controlled or programmed using the included CheckManager software. The application allows you to set up schedules for when each socket is on or off, and provides feedback on how much energy you’re actually saving with your current configuration. It even features a virtual tree that grows at different rates depending on the CO2 emissions your setup has managed to reduce.

The CheckTap, which was designed by Lee Jeong-soo from Incasolution Ltd., won the Grand Prix at the 2008 Exhibition of Inventions in Geneva and the website claims it can actually reduce the power consumption of all the devices plugged into it by up to 70%. (Compared to leaving them all in standby mode.) While it’s not available for sale just yet, there is an official website for the CheckTap that features a couple of demonstration videos if you’re looking for more info.

[ CheckTap Powerbar ] VIA [ TreeHugger ]

The Roll-A-Bout – A Questionable Alternative To Crutches Or A Wheelchair

Roll-A-Boat (Images courtesy the Roll-A-Bout Corporation)
By Andrew Liszewski

The Roll-A-Bout SW-500 pictured above is the Roll-A-Bout Corporation’s flagship model and is designed to be used by people suffering from a lower leg injury in lieu of crutches or even a wheelchair. Not only can the SW-500 support up to 500 lbs, but it’s also the company’s first model that can actually be steered. (Which makes me wonder how you turn with their previous models.) Their website also claims that the ‘hopping’ motion you use to get around with the Roll-A-Bout is preferable to the ‘swinging’ motion you use with crutches. Now I don’t want to make light of anyone suffering from a lower leg injury, but is this really a better alternative to a set of crutches? I can see the advantage to using this over a wheelchair, since it keeps the rest of your body active while you recover, but if I ever had the chance to play around with a Roll-A-Bout, I’m pretty sure my antics would actually result in a lower leg injury.

And believe it or not the standard SW-500 model runs $599, while an ATV or ‘off-road’ version runs $739! The lovely wire basket you see in all the photos is included in that price, but the fancy cup holder seen in that last photo is actually a $15 option.

[ Roll-A-Bout ] VIA [ The Red Ferret Journal ]