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Monthly Archives: January 2011

Small Foot Inflatable Snow Shoes

Small Foot Inflatable Snow Shoes (Images courtesy AnyExit)
By Andrew Liszewski

They certainly don’t have enough surface area to permanently replace a full-sized set of snow shoes, but if you’re in the backwoods snowboarding or skiing and are trying to make your away across some deep powder, these Small Foot inflatable snow shoes look like they’re far more convenient to carry when not being worn.

When deflated they can easily be stashed inside a set of wearable pocket-like bags, with plenty of room left over for the included compact pump. And once inflated, a set of straps allows the Small Foot to be securely attached to your boots, supposedly providing enough surface area so that you don’t sink to your knees in a deep drift. No pricing or availability info just yet though.

[ Small Foot Inflatable Snow Shoes ] VIA [ The GearCaster ]

Shreddable Paper Shredder Lubricant

Shredder Lubricant Sheets (Images courtesy Aleratec)
By Andrew Liszewski

Apparently months of sending everything from junk mail to subpoenas to burnt toast through my shredder can really take a toll on its internal mechanisms. And the occasional tune-up with a bit of shredder lubricant is all that’s needed to keep it happily chewing away on all that currency I botched. (Photoshop is sorely lacking in a spell checker.) But why take the time to open up the unit to access those knifey bits when the act of shredding is so much more enjoyable?

The people at Aleratec clearly realize this and so have created these ingenious Lubricant Sheets which you just feed through your shredder and the maintenance work is done! Each sheet, which is composed of sugar pulp and recycled paper, encapsulates a non-toxic, biodegradable, soybean oil-based lubricant so you don’t have to feel bad about tossing the shredded aftermath in with the rest of the recycling. And since it prolongs the life of the shredder, less of them will end up in landfills. Best of all a 12-pack, which will probably last you several years, is available for just $11.99.

[ Aleratec Shredder Lubricant Sheets ]

Yurbuds Ironman Series Earphones

Yurbuds Ironman Series Earphones (Image property OhGizmo!)
By Andrew Liszewski

Every year at CES we tend to be drawn to the smaller booths where you can find some truly unique and innovative gadgets if you look hard enough. It’s not that we’re not impressed that Sony or Panasonic has managed to add a couple of extra inches to their flagship 3D TVs, it’s just that we like rooting for the smaller guys too. Like a company called Yurbuds which make silicone ‘earbud enhancers’ that not only vastly improve the performance of the stock earbuds you get with devices like the iPhone & iPod, but also provide a more comfortable in-ear listening experience with a comfortable design that avoids touching sensitive nerve endings in your ears.

Since the Yurbuds come in different sizes to be most effective for every user, we were mostly drawn to their booth last year after seeing a demo of their clever iPhone sizing app. But it turns out the Yurbuds actually work very, very well if you’re still using the stock iPhone/iPod earbuds, and one of our OhGizmo! writers has actually been using his set non-stop since last year’s show.

So this year we were happy to see the company has already grown quite a bit, and now offers an official Ironman-themed version of the Yurbuds featuring a matching set of red earbuds and enhancers. It makes sense too given the idea for the Yurbuds came from the company’s CEO, Seth Burgett, who’s an avid triathlete. In fact besides comfort and sound quality, the soft silicone design of the Yurbuds makes them damn near impossible to fall out, even during extreme physical activities like marathons, or in our case, battling for seats on the subway. Available now for $49.99.

[ Yurbuds Ironman Series Earphones ]

Headphone Jack Adapter Turns The iPhone Into A Remote For RC Toys

AppToyz Remote Adapter (Images courtesy Pocket-lint)
By Andrew Liszewski

While devices like Sphero or Parrot’s AR.Drone that use the iPhone or iPod Touch as a remote control usually just rely on the device’s built-in wifi or Bluetooth, these AppToyz, from a UK-based company called MediaSauce, use a cheap add-on dongle to communicate over RF I assume.

And instead of interfacing with the dock connector on the bottom of the iPhone or iPod Touch, the AppToyz dongle plugs into the headphone jack which seems to be standard procedure for third-party remote control hardware like this. As a result, when available sometime this year, they’ll be a bit more affordable than something like the AR.Drone with an RC helicopter selling for ~$80 (£50) and an RC car that’s a bit cheaper at ~$47 (£30).

[ Pocket-lint – Apple iPhone, now controller for your RC toys ]

Emoticon Keypad (Updated)

Emoticon Keypad (Image courtesy
By Andrew Liszewski

Random gems from CES keep trickling in, like this prototype emoticon keypad snapped by Spotted at the Lavatelli booth, the keypad sports a 4×4 grid of bubble buttons that serve as shortcuts to various emoticons. For the truly emotional emailer the keypad should shave precious microseconds off the act of adding a happy or sad face to the end of a sentence, which could add up to at least a couple of extra minutes at the end of their life. It will be customizable too, whenever it hits the market, and as points out, it’s a great way to use up an available USB port which we all have plenty of right?

Emoticon Keypad (Image courtesy Bajca) Update: It turns out the Emoticon Keypad is NOT just a prototype but is indeed a real product and is available for purchase from BAJCA’s online store.

The basic keypad pictured to the left is just $16 (€12) while more elaborate versions featuring buttons with different colors and faces, and a slick polished silver finish, will set you back a bit more at $40. (€29.90)

All of the keypads appear to be compatible with popular messaging apps like Skype or Messenger, and are even OS X friendly.

[ – The Emoticon… Keypad? ] VIA [ DVICE ]

Panasonic’s New Rugged Lumix TS3 Gets A Little Tougher – Loses Some Features Where It Counts

By Andrew Liszewski

Panasonic announced a bevy of new compact P&S digital cameras today, including an update to last year’s rugged TS2, not surprisingly dubbed the TS3, which improves some of its outdoorsy-ness. But what has me most excited is that Panasonic has chosen to bump the TS3’s resolution down to 12.1 MP, compared to the TS2’s 14 MP sensor, which should obviously improve the camera’s low-light performance. And hopefully it’s a sign that the MP wars might finally be coming to an end.

But back to what the TS3 does best. In addition to snapping photos that 12.1 MP sensor is also able to capture full 1920×1080 HD videos in the worst of conditions. It’s now waterproof down to 40 feet, 7 more than the TS2, able to survive a drop from around 6.6 feet, can survive and keep snapping away to temperatures as cold as 14ºF and on top of all that since the housing is completely sealed it’s even dustproof. And since it’s designed to accompany those who are particularly adventurous there’s also built-in GPS for geo-tagging your shots, as well as a compass, altimeter and barometer.

Not surprisingly in this day and age the TS3 even has a 3D photo mode, which gets around the fact there’s only a single fixed lens by rapidly snapping 20 consecutive photos, overlaying the 2 best shots to create a 3D photo that can be enjoyed on your Panasonic VIERA 3D HDTV. The images are also MPO, or Multi-Picture Object, compatible, which means they can be viewed on any hardware that supports that open format. The Lumix TS3 will be available sometime in March of this year, with pricing still to be announced. Though you can probably expect it to fall somewhere below $300 like the currently available TS2.

[ PR – Panasonic’s Newest Rugged LUMIX Digital Camera, Complete with GPS & Compass is Perfect for Capturing Stunning Photos and HD Videos During Outdoor Activities ]

IT Clips & IT Hooks Upcycle Inner Tubes Into Tie-Down Straps

IT Clips & IT Hooks (Images courtesy IT Clips)
By Andrew Liszewski

Unless you’re an avid cyclist you probably don’t have a readily available supply of used or punctured inner tubes. So these IT Clips and IT Hooks, which let you roll your own tie-down bungee straps from discarded tubes, probably aren’t going to be that useful to everyone. But if your bike is your main mode of transport for commuting or even work, these are a great way to upcycle old tubes into something useful again, keeping them out of the trash.

Using the IT Clips and Hooks appears to be as easy as threading a standard belt buckle, and since you make them yourself, you can always ensure they’re going to be just the exact length you need. They also run about $5/pair, making them priced as the perfect impulse buy at bike shops and the like, and are available for tubes sized 1.5 to 2.5 inches wide.

[ IT Clips & IT Hooks ] VIA [ Better Living Through Design ]

Can A Uniquely Designed Bowl Improve Your Hand Mixer’s Performance? The MixerMate Claims It Can

MixerMate Bowls (Image courtesy New Metro Design)
By Andrew Liszewski

While I prefer the smell of fresh baked cookies coming from the kitchen, I think right now I might actually be picking up the distinct aroma of snake oil. For a mere $22.29 you can procure one of these 3-quart MixerMate bowls (in one of four different colors) that promises to reduce mixing time by up to 30% thanks to its unique funnel design which creates a “tornado-like action.”

There’s a couple of videos of the MixerMate in action on YouTube, but to be honest I’m not seeing their claimed tornado-like effect. However, I’ll admit the design of the bowl alone could actually justify its price if you tend to get food all over the place when your hand mixer comes out to play. It’s got extra high walls to keep everything contained and a footed non-slip base so there’s less chance of the bowl toppling when ingredients are spinning about inside. And the fact that all four sides are contoured into pouring spouts is pretty handy too. Just maybe not $22 handy…

[ MixerMate Bowls ] VIA [ Inventor Spot ]

Inflow Table – Hey Has Anyone Seen My Keys?

Inflow Table (Images courtesy Animi Causa)
By Andrew Liszewski

On one hand, if you’re prone to losing your keys, change or even the remote control in the cracks and crevices of your couch, you’ll probably want to avoid this Inflow coffee table which is made from a steel frame wrapped in ~3,300 feet of elastic string. But on the other hand, if you’re not so keen on cleaning up messes when company calls-a-calling, it looks like this table will happily swallow all your crap for you. Unfortunately it’s also $2,285 from Animi Causa, so you better start scrounging around in those couch cushions for misplaced change.

[ Inflow Table ] VIA [ 7Gadgets ]