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Monthly Archives: July 2008

Cantor Gaming eDeck For Gambling On-The-Go

Cantor Gaming eDeck (Image courtesy Cantor Gaming)
By Andrew Liszewski

In Las Vegas the casinos do everything they can to keep you on the gaming floor so that you’re spending as much time as possible emptying your pockets during your stay. But a company called Cantor Gaming has realized there are still a lot of missed opportunities where a casino guest might be away from the poker tables and slot machines. (Eating at a restaurant, lounging by the pool etc.) So the company spent 5 years developing the eDeck which is a wifi equipped portable gaming device that allows casino patrons to gamble and play for real money wherever they happen to be.

Once you’ve setup an account, and have logged in on the device, you’ll be able to play casino favorites like blackjack, baccarat, slots, video poker and roulette. In the future the company hopes to offer new games including live-action poker, sports betting and even proprietary games. (Imagine Tetris played head-to-head for real money.) The eDeck is currently being tested by the Venetian, but at the moment the wireless network restricts the device to only working in the high-stakes slots lounge. But eventually, if the preliminary tests go well, you’ll be able to use the device everywhere in the hotel, even in your own room.

[ Cantor Gaming eDeck ] VIA [ Thrillist ]

Remote Controlled Outdoor Camera And Floodlight

Remote Controlled Outdoor Camera And Floodlight (Image courtesy Hammacher Schlemmer)By Andrew Liszewski

Worried about those no-good neighborhood kids crashing your pool at night? Just install a bunch of these RC surveillance camera + floodlight combos around your backyard and you’ll be one step ahead of them, even in the middle of the night. Other than requiring a power cable, the camera is completely wireless and will broadcast a 510×492 pixel video signal right to the TV in your living room (via an A/V receiver) as long as it’s within 300 feet. The camera also includes a light sensor which will automatically switch on a night vision mode allowing you to see what’s going on up to 23 feet away in complete darkness, or a bright 150-watt halogen bulb which also serves as a deterrent to unwanted visitors.

You can actually install and monitor up to 4 different cameras from a single TV, with each camera being assigned its own channel, or having them all cycle through on a single channel in 5 second intervals. It even includes a remote allowing you to dim, brighten or flash the floodlight as well as pan the camera 330° or tilt it 110° providing a greater view of your property. You can get it from Hammacher Schlemmer for $399.95.

[ Remote Controlled Outdoor Camera And Floodlight ]

Let The Dog Out Without Ever Getting Up

By Jonathan Kimak

I love my dogs, I really do. But sometimes when it’s quite late and I’m tired I would much rather let the dogs go out themselves and come back on their own. Dog flaps in the door aren’t an ideal choice since any critter can come in through something like that.

But this electronic dog flap from Pet Doors USA looks interesting. The flap is made of shatter proof materials and an aluminum frame. You put a RFID tag on your dog’s collar that will send a digital code to the doggy door to open when they approach it. It will close once the dog is no longer near it. It won’t close if there is anything obstructing it which means no snagged tails or paws.

These go for $697 and additional RFID tags cost $30 per unit in case you need extras for multiple dogs. Just be sure your dog is trained to come back when it’s finished its business and not wander off through the neighborhood.

[ Pet Doors USA ] VIA [ Locks and Hardware ]

Fish Scales, The Armor Of The Future

By Jonathan Kimak

A new type of armor is being researched by engineers at MIT and will try to emulate the scale armor of a fish. The fish species Polypterus senegalus is believed to have been around for 100 million years and has evolved a very durable armor to withstand attacks from predators. The armor is so effective because the scales have the right chemicals in the right amounts that make each scale very sturdy.

The research was funded by the U.S. Army and when developed is hoped to be used for soldiers, first-responders and even on military vehicles. The analysis of the fish scales is detailed in the July 27 issue of the journal Nature Materials.

So instead of sneaking into abandoned mines with misguided dreams of finding mithril, we should have been out fishing.

VIA [ Live Science ]

Empi Select TENS Pain Management System

Select TENS Pain Management System (Image courtesy Empi)By Andrew Liszewski

Since sitting in an office chair in front of a computer doesn’t seem to be the most natural position for the human body, it’s not surprising that so many people suffer from back pain these days. But instead of popping pain killers all day, or sitting on a large inflatable ball to ease the pain, you might want to see if your doctor will prescribe you a TENS unit from Empi.

TENS stands for Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation, and that’s basically what the device does. It uses a set of electrodes attached to the skin that deliver up to 60 milliamps of current into the nerves where the pain occurs. This jolt serves to disrupt the pain signals coming from those nerves, and instead of hurting, the area ends up feeling tingly or even numb.

The output current can be adjusted, so you really only want to dial in enough juice for the pain to disappear, and it seems to include individual settings for the knees, shoulders, lower back & hips, upper back, and your hands & wrists. Normally I’d raise an eyebrow or 2 at an electronic device that promises relief from pain, but according to Joel Durham Jr. who writes for ExtremeTech, the TENS was quite effective at relieving his own back pain. And while this doesn’t seem like the kind of device you should use without the approval of your doctor, they do appear to be available for sale online to the general public, but expect to pay upwards of $800 if you’re interested.

[ Empi Select TENS Pain Management System ] VIA [ ExtremeTech ]

Bloody Serial Killer Shower Curtain

Bloody Serial Killer Shower Curtain (Image courtesy Things You Never Knew Existed)By Andrew Liszewski

I don’t know about you, but as soon as the fireworks are extinguished at the beginning of July, I’m ready to haul out the Hallowe’en decorations. Sure pumpkins might be next to impossible to find in the middle of Summer, but if you plan ahead and throw a couple in the freezer come October, you’ll be ready for an early start next year. But why stop at just a pumpkin on the front porch when you can give your whole house the macabre treatment? Even your bathroom can now be dressed up for Hallowe’en with this Bloody Serial Killer Shower Curtain.

Taking a cue from Hitchcock’s Psycho, the curtain features the silhouette of a knife-wielding maniac (though without a wig) and enough blood splatters to take it well beyond the point of being a subtle gag. But there’s more! The shower curtain also features a sound and motion-activated speaker that plays the famous Psycho music as well as a clip of a woman screaming. It’s powered by 3 AA batteries which I’m sure you’ll be removing once the novelty wears off. (My guess is about 3 minutes into your first actual shower with it.)

The Bloody Serial Killer Shower Curtain is available from Things You Never Knew Existed for $19.98.

[ Bloody Serial Killer Shower Curtain ] VIA [ Nerd Approved ]

Flowlight Concept Might Be Lacking In Practical Applications, But I Still Want One

Flowlight (Images courtesy d-Vision Design)
By Andrew Liszewski

I’m sure we’ve all seen those long-exposure photos where someone is writing or drawing in the air with an LED which produces cool looking streaks of light in the final shot. Well that’s basically the same idea behind the Flowlight concept, except that it happens in real time without the need for a camera. The base of the unit tracks the tip of a special pen as it moves through the air, and by focusing a laser beam 100 times a second where that tip is located, the Flowlight creates small plasma points that appear to hang and glow in mid-air. As the pen moves, the laser creates a series of plasma points which are close enough together to look like glowing streaks. While the d-Vision Design website suggests the technology could be used in various applications from medicine to architecture, I don’t think it will be replacing the traditional whiteboard for sketching out ideas anytime soon. (Sadly.)

[ d-Vision Design Flowlight ] VIA [ DVICE ]

Knight Rider KITT Attack Mode Revealed

Knight Rider KITT Attack Mode (Images courtesy Shadowy Flight)
By Andrew Liszewski

I don’t know if any of you caught the 2-hour ‘pilot’ episode of NBC’s updated Knight Rider series, but I did, and all I can say is that it was pretty… pretty… terrible. When I was younger I occasionally watched the original series, but it wasn’t until the ratings started to dip and they introduced the ‘turbo boost’ mode that I really became a Knight Rider fan. There was just something about seeing KITT transform with all those extra fins and flaps that sucked me in as a kid. Well, clearly the producers of the new series felt the same way, and at this year’s Comic Con they unveiled the new KITT’s ‘Attack Mode’ which quite honestly makes the vehicle look like it just drove off the set of the latest Fast And The Furious film. I’m not going to pretend that the ‘turbo boost’ mode on the original KITT was practical or anything, but at least it kind of fit in with the design of the rest of the car, as opposed to this which looks like a random collection of after-market body accessories. Oh well, I guess there’s always Knightboat, the crime-solving boat!

[ Attack KITT Reveal – Knight Rider at Comic Con ] VIA [ Autoblog ]

NASA Image Library Now Available To The Public

Piers Sellers Spacewalk (Image courtesy Wikimedia)
By Andrew Liszewski

While National Geographic can easily be considered the place to go if you’re looking for photos of life on Earth, if you’re interested in what’s happening away from our planet you’ll have to turn to NASA. And thanks to a partnership with the non-profit Internet Archive, accessing NASA’s image and video libraries just got a whole lot easier. The NASA Images website went live this past week, and features 21 NASA image collections merged into a massive and easily searchable online resource.

Over the next 5 years the partnership will see millions of photos and thousands of hours of video added to the site including imagery from the Apollo missions, the Hubble Space Telescope and experimental aircraft and spacecraft spanning NASA’s history. Unfortunately while the site appears to be getting hit pretty hard at the moment (in other words it’s almost unusably slow) it does appear to be well laid out and will most likely end up occupying a good chunk of my weekend.

[ NASA Images ] VIA [ PC Authority ]