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Monthly Archives: September 2008

Carl Zeiss powerdomeVELVET Planetarium Projector Features a 2,500,000:1 Contrast Ratio

Carl Zeiss powerdomeVELVET Projector (Image courtesy Carl Zeiss)By Andrew Liszewski

While it’s been designed primarily for full-dome projections in places like planetariums, dome theaters and even simulator rides, that doesn’t stop the new powerdomeVELVET projector from Carl Zeiss from being any less impressive. It uses Texas Instruments BrilliantColor DLP technology to not only provide an internal 30bit color depth, but it also manages to pull off an amazing contrast ratio of 2,500,000:1. Compared to other high-end projectors that are capable of 30,000:1 contrast ratios, the powerdomeVELVET is the first to offer an absolutely black backdrop, which is vital for applications like a planetarium where guests are staring at particularly small dots of light. The projector’s expected to be available sometime in early 2009 for an undisclosed and most likely massive sum, so don’t expect to find it on the shelves at your local Best Buy.

[ Carl Zeiss powerdomeVELVET Planetarium Projector ] VIA [ SlashGear ]

Pet Care Clock Is Perfect For Those Who Can’t Multiply By 7

Pet Care Clock (Images courtesy
By Andrew Liszewski

Ok, so maybe simply multiplying by 7 isn’t the most accurate way to gauge your pet’s age. In fact, university studies have shown that depending on the size and breed of your cat or dog, they could be anywhere from 2x to 7x the equivalent human age, which complicates things a bit when it comes to crunching the numbers. Thankfully though, this Pet Care Clock from Sega Toys is designed to do the difficult math for you. It’s your standard LCD desk clock that shows the time and date, but once you enter your pet’s birth date and specify their approximate size, the clock will also show you their supposed age. (Calculated with a variety of different formulas.) And if you’re the type who likes to celebrate a pet’s birthday you’re in luck. In theory if your dog is aging 7x as fast as you, they should also have 7 birthdays a year, and this clock will actually alert you to every single one of them so you can remember to pick up a gift and a cake on the way home.

[ Pet Care Clock ] VIA [ Gearlog ]

Fish Tank Friday: Teach Your Fish Hollow Earth Geography

By Evan Ackerman

So maybe you’ve taught your fish all kinds of neat tricks. That’s great. But what about some old fashioned book learning? I mean, how’s your fish going to get a job without some smarts? This globe aquarium should do the trick, since Mr. Fishy will have absolutely nothing better to do than study the geography of the world that’s been stenciled onto his house, day and night (since it glows in the dark thanks to an LED lamp).

You might think that it would be a problem not to have a north pole when learning global geography. Not so, since in fact the Earth also has big hole up there, just like this fish tank. Where does the hole go? Why, inside the Earth, of course. It’s hollow in there. With people in it. The Garden of Eden is down there, apparently. And a monorail. You can go there, if you like… Just join the expedition.

Be sure not to forget your fish tank. You know, in case you get lost and need a map back to the surface. It’s $49.95.

[ Globe Aquarium ] VIA [ Nerd Approved ]

Listen To Music While Riding Your Bike And Not Crashing

By Jonathan Kimak

The iSound, designed by Seohyun Baek, is a set of headphones that allow you to listen to your mp3 player while still hearing the background noises around you. This is good for those of you that ride your bike to work and haven’t been able to listen to music because your current headphones block everything out making it harder to notice sounds of things like oncoming traffic.

The headphones use a semi-circular design so that they don’t cover your whole ear like other headphones. This allows some background noise to find its way into your ears making the experience more like listening to a stereo. Of course this will reduce the dynamic range of the sound but it’s a trade off for safety.

This is definitely a niche product as those of us who are allergic to spandex and bicycle seats are usually trying to drown out the sounds of everyone else’s mp3 players and cellphones blaring away during rush hour.

[ Yanko Design ] VIA [ TechEBlog ]

Video Friday: Internet-Mediated Chicken Fondling

By Evan Ackerman

Sometimes, you just need to squeeze a chicken. There’s no way around it, you just do. It’s a sad fact that most of us don’t have immediate access to chickens, which is not only frustrating to the human (the squeezer), but also upsetting for the chicken (the squeezee), since chickens, I guess, really really like to be squozen. The Mixed Reality Lab at the National University of Singapore has tackled this problem and developed a system that uses a chicken doll and a chicken jacket to let chicken owners interact with their dinner pets over the internet. Check it out:

This is a lot like the the hug shirt we covered last year (STILL not available, btw)… Just for, you know, chickens. Good times.

[ Poultry Internet ] VIA [ Neatorama ]

Add A Set Of Brakes To Your Skateboard

By Luke Anderson

When I see someone skating down a particularly large hill, I tend to wonder both if they are crazy, and how they manage to stop at the bottom. I kind of figure that if they don’t know the answer to the second question, then they are in fact, crazy. If you enjoy conquering steep hills, but need a little assistance in coming to a halt, you could always equip your board with a SkateBrake Kit.

This kit essentially adds a set of brakes to any skateboard. It also has the effect of getting you laughed at while using it. There’s nothing like skating along holding onto a hand brake. I’m also questioning just how effective a set of brakes would be on something to which you aren’t anchored in any way. Squeeze too hard and you’ll be rolling the rest of the way downhill.  If you’re convinced that this is what your board is missing, then it will set you back $110.

[ SkateBrake ] VIA [ CoolestGadgets ]

Metal Gear Solid Rubber Band Gun

By Luke Anderson

I’ve done a few DIY projects, but sometimes I am blown away by what some people will create in their spare time. Pictured above is one of the most awesome looking rubber band guns that I think I’ve ever seen. Part of what makes it look so good is that it was designed after the gun featured in Metal Gear Solid 4.

The entire thing is made from solid stainless steel, and has even been fitted with a laser sight to be extra precise. Almost as awesome as the gun itself is the video below which shows it in action. Now if only there were some instructions on how to make your own.

[ Kazkin ] VIA [ SlipperyBrick ]

Wear 192GB Worth Of Storage, For A Hefty Price

By Luke Anderson

I’ve seen plenty of gadgets that try to disguise themselves as some sort of jewelry. Most of the time it just comes off as tacky, but occasionally you see something that doesn’t look half bad. No, I wouldn’t ever wear one of these Gresso pendants (not exactly my style),  but they really don’t look half bad.

What is interesting is that they have chosen to make the pendant split into three separate 64GB USB flash drives. Of course if you thought that the flash drives themselves would be expensive, the 200-year old African wood, diamonds and gold crumbs will no doubt add to the price. If you have to ask how much it is, you can’t afford it. But if you really must know, it’s a little over $7,300.

[ Gresso ] VIA [ BornRich ]

Brick-Like USB Multi-Cellular Phone Charger

USB Multi-Cellular Phone Charger (Images courtesy
By Andrew Liszewski

If I owned and actively used 8 different cellphones from 8 different manufacturers I’d probably prefer to carry this multi-charger brick over a messy bundle of charging cables, but I don’t think I’m ever going to be in that position. The charger’s available from for just $18 and includes jacks for Motorola I, Motorola II/Mini USB, Nokia I, Nokia II, Samsung and Sony Ericsson I & II phones. While the product shots show it recharging a Nokia phone without any problems, it seems to me that things could get a bit awkward when connecting other models, not to mention the fact that you’ll probably need a flat place to put everything, which makes this problematic for use in places like airports where you’ll probably need it the most.

[ USB Multi-Cellular Phone Charger ] VIA [ The Red Ferret Journal ]