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Monthly Archives: April 2013

Chicane Saddle Bike Seat Features Rollers For Easier Turns

Chicane Saddle Bike Seat (Images courtesy Brit Brothers)
By Andrew Liszewski

Now here’s an idea that’s just so crazy it’s actually brilliant! A company called Brit-Brothers have developed a new kind of seat for racing bikes that uses toothed belts and tapered rollers that rotate when the rider is sitting on them, instead of the traditional padded cushion. The design makes it considerably easier for riders to lean back and forth when navigating tight corners and chicanes during a race, but built-in adjustable friction controls ensure the rider doesn’t just easily slip off the bike.

Not only does the seat make for smoother transitions when leaning from side to side, it also makes it considerably easier on the riders since they’re not continuously lifting their bodies off the bike, which means they’re going to tire less quickly during a long race. Now I’m not sure if the new seat design has much application outside racing, but in a competitive field where seconds count, I’m sure there are plenty of professional racing teams who are ready and willing to adopt the new technology if it provides them with a competitive advantage. And while the images above are obviously just concept renders, in May of last year Brit-Brothers was awarded a patent for their Chicane Saddle seat, and are now working to see it go into production.

[ Brit-Brothers - Evolution of the Chicane Saddle ] VIA [ Gizmag & Asphalt and Rubber ]

Soyntec Wiffinder Bags Feature (You Guessed It) Built-in Wi-Fi Detectors

Soyntec Wiffinder Bags (Image courtesy Soyntec)
By Andrew Liszewski

Apparently there’s still a market for Wi-Fi detectors, so much so that a company called Soyntec actually builds them into the laptop bags and backpacks in their Wiffinder line. A small LCD on the outside of the bags usually shows just the current time, but a push of a button will tell you if there are any Wi-Fi networks nearby, and their signal strength. It doesn’t seem to indicate whether or not the Wi-Fi signals are encrypted, which is a pretty vital piece of info, so I’ll let you make the call on whether or not this feature makes the ~$47 bags worthwhile.

[ Soyntec Wiffinder Bags ] VIA [ Gear Diary ]

iHome iP39 iPhone/iPod Dock Designed For Kitchens And Epicureans

iHome iP39 iPhone/iPod Dock (Image courtesy iHome)
By Andrew Liszewski

You may question the need for an iPod/iPhone dock in your kitchen, but when you think about all the clever cooking related things you can do with either device, like downloading recipes, or following along with a cooking podcast, the idea does have some merit. Besides an alarm clock and an FM radio, which probably won’t see much use if you have an iDevice, the iP39 also has 2 independent cooking timers, a set of USB ports that can be used to charge other devices like a cellphone, a magnetic remote that sticks to the side so it doesn’t get misplaced, and of course a kitchen-friendly design with easy to clean membrane buttons.

At $99.99 I’d probably place it in the luxury category, since it’s far from being a must-have item for your kitchen. But if you have the counter space to waste, I guess it’s got enough functionality to not be accused of being a unitasker.

[ iHome iP39 iPhone/iPod Dock ] VIA [ 7Gadgets ]

Logitech Harmony 300 – “A Remote For Everyone”

Logitech Harmony 300 (Image courtesy Pocket-lint)

Finally realizing that the majority of universal remotes sold at big box electronic stores aren’t the $300+ variety, Logitech has launched the Harmony 300, which ditches the LCD display, but gains a more reasonable price point of around $49.99. And like its more elaborate siblings, the Harmony 300 is easy to program. All you need to do is hook it up to your PC, visit the MyHarmony website (which for some reason redirects to www.iis.net at the moment) and replacing up to 4 other remotes is as easy as telling the site which devices you’re using. Their online database covers over 225,000 devices from over 5,000 brands, and since that list is growing every day, there’s a good chance your equipment is covered.

And even though it is lacking the LCD display that makes the more expensive models in the Harmony line highly customizable, the 300 still has a set of programmable buttons for quickly accessing your favorite channels or other custom functions. The Harmony 300 is expected to be available in early April in the U.S. and Europe.

[ PR - A Remote for Everyone: Logitech Harmony 300 Remote Unveiled ] VIA [ Pocket-lint ]

Microsoft To Sell Official 8GB Xbox Flash Drives For $40

Xbox360-USB

By Chris Scott Barr

In case you hadn’t heard the big news, starting April 6th Xbox 360 owners will have a new way to add storage to their favorite console. They will be able to insert any USB drive, (be it a flash drive or hard drive) format it, and use it to store games and save files. The only downside is that they are limiting the usable space to 16GB. You can have larger drives, you just won’t be able to use more than 16GB on your 360.

Naturally, with the release of this new feature, Microsoft has decided to start selling their own branded flash drives. Of course from a company that sells 512MB memory cards for $30 and 250GB hard drives for $130, do you really expect them to be reasonably priced? Of course not.

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Samurai Sword Handle Umbrella, Meet The Broadsword Handle Umbrella

Broadsword Handle Umbrella (Images courtesy ThinkGeek)
By Andrew Liszewski

Last year we brought you news of the Samurai Sword Handle Umbrella, but for those of you who prefer the tales of the knights of the round table instead of Samurais and Feudal Japan, there’s now a more appropriate option for you. The Broadsword Handle Umbrella will work just as well as its Samurai counterpart, but as the name implies, the handle is designed to look considerably more medieval.

The two-handed handle is made from injection molded plastic with a metal-like finish, and is wrapped with a “leatherette” grip. It opens with a simple push of a button, and it even comes with its own carrying case/scabbard complete with a shoulder strap. But you don’t have to worry about hunting down the lady of the lake to find one, you can just head over to ThinkGeek once again where it’s available for just $39.99.

[ Broadsword Handle Umbrella ]

Floppy Disk Ceramic Tiles Would Make For One Nerdy Backsplash

Floppy Disk Ceramic Tiles (Images courtesy ENESS)
By Andrew Liszewski

Let’s get this out of the way first. You can’t buy them, I don’t know why they were created, and they’re clearly 3 1/2″ floppies when the website refers to them as 5 1/4″, but I do know these ceramic tile floppies from Melbourne design shop ENESS (the same chaps who cooked up the Humble Telescope) would make for one nerdy kitchen or bathroom backsplash. They look a little thin and fragile to be used anywhere underfoot, but at the same time they seem to be far more useful than the real thing these days.

[ Floppy Disk Ceramic Tiles ] VIA [ Make ]

Amazing Real-Life Lunar Lander Arcade Machine

Lunar Lander Arcade Machine (Images courtesy Iain Sharp)
By Andrew Liszewski

After losing thousands of spacecraft in Atari’s Lunar Lander game (or at least the Commodore 64 port) I came to realize that I probably was not cut out to be an astronaut. But deep down the dream of piloting and landing a craft on the lunar surface is still alive, and it’s been rekindled after seeing Iain Sharp’s Lunar Lander arcade cabinet, which replaces the vector graphics of the original game with real life dials, gauges and a miniature model of the lander itself.

There’s plenty of details about the arcade machine on LushProjects.com and their build blog, including how it was engineered and put together, but those of us who are just interested in the game itself will find the following video more than satisfying.

[ LushProjects.com - Lunar Lander ] VIA [ Make ]

Hamilton Time Player Watch

Hamilton Time Player Watch (Image courtesy Hamilton)
By Andrew Liszewski

I think half the reason I wear a watch is so that I always have something to play with when I get bored, particularly during times when surfing on the iPhone or tapping away on a NintendoDS isn’t appropriate. So let me be the first to thank Hamilton for their new Time Player watch design which works like one of those sliding puzzles, except that there’s no ‘correct’ solution to the arrangement of the 8 tiles on its face.

Hamilton took inspiration for the Time Player from a design the company originally created for a clock in the Stanley Kubrick movie, 2001 : Space Odyssey and brought it back to earth. For centuries, man believed that the earth’s surface was flat. Hamilton playfully revisits this idea with the Time Player watch, in a design that is resolutely contemporary and inspired by a society constantly on the move, taking change in its stride. A totally flat 48 mm by 42 mm titanium case is split into nine squares, eight filled with movable counters and one left empty like a sliding puzzle. These counters, separated by lines symbolizing those of latitude and longitude, enable the wearer to set and measure time in the current location, plus three others.

To set any of the 4 miniature watches you simply move it to the central square and make your adjustments using one of the 4 crowns located on the top and bottom of the case. The watch will be available sometime in June for special order, and its Titanium case is no doubt partly to blame for its ~$2,700 price tag.

[ Hamilton Time Player Watch ] VIA [ Acquire ]