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Monthly Archives: August 2012

C.F.S. Eco-Friendly Cardboard Kids Furniture Set

C.F.S. Eco-Friendly Cardboard Kids Furniture Set (Images courtesy Emmo Home)
By Andrew Liszewski

I feel the same way about kid-sized furniture as I do about kid-sized designer clothes. Sure they both might look adorable, but what’s the point of spending all that money when your child is going to grow out of them in just a few months? But easy-to-assemble yet disposable cardboard furniture? Well that makes a lot more sense. This simple table and stools set can be put together without the need for any glue or adhesives, and when assembled the table can support up to 315lbs, while the stools can each support up to 750lbs! So adults are able to use them right alongside their kids.

As an added bonus, you have no reason to flip out if your progeny takes a black Sharpie to them to create their own custom designs, since refinishing cardboard furniture is a lot cheaper than refinishing the real thing. I just wish this set didn’t run $150 which pretty much cancels out all the advantages of buying cardboard furniture in the first place…

[ C.F.S. Eco-Friendly Cardboard Kids Furniture Set ] VIA [ Better Living Through Design ]

Now Those Nanodots Magnets Have Spawned Their Own Accessories Industry

Nanodots Nanopad & Accessories (Images courtesy Cnet Crave)
By Andrew Liszewski

An easy way to gauge how popular something has become is to look at the number of licensed (and unlicensed) accessories available for it. The iPod and iPhone are obviously the poster children for how hard an accessory market can be milked, but there’s plenty of other guilty products, like the Nintendo Wii, and now those small spherical Nanodots magnets you see for sale everywhere.

First shown at Toy Fair last week, the $20 Nanopad is made from dense woven iron so those Nanodots stick to it real good like without rolling around, and it serves as a sort of gameboard adding about 2 or 3 minutes of extra replay value to them. On one side you’ll find a checker/chessboard pattern allowing you to build your own playing pieces, while the other side is pretty much blank (except for a gauge making it easy to count how many are in a chain) for assembling whatever creation you can imagine.

But had I dropped $40 on about 0.60 cents worth of magnetized metal, I’d instead opt for another accessory the company will soon be hocking. It’s a simple plastic card designed to make it easy to separate or ‘slice’ a magnetic creation, but on one side is a layer of trapped gel embedded with iron particles that will show the magnetic field patterns of whatever you’ve assembled on the other side. I can’t say it makes the thought of playing with Nanodots an exciting prospect for me, but I’m all about toys that at least try to teach a little bit of science.

[ Crave – Nanopad: A board game kit for magnet geeks ] VIA [ Coolest-Gadgets ]

Panasonic DMP-B200 Portable Blu-ray Player

Panasonic DMP-B200 Portable Blu-ray Player (Image courtesy Panasonic)
By Andrew Liszewski

When we brought you Panasonic’s first portable Blu-ray player way back at CES 2009, we lamented at the fact its 1024×600 LCD display couldn’t even muster up a 720P resolution. But the company has just released the latest version of this player, and besides looking considerably more svelte than the original, it now boasts a display resolution of- …wait, 1024×600 still? Lame!

I can understand the reasoning behind not wanting to cram a 1080P display’s worth of pixels into an 8.9-inch screen, but you still can’t give us at least 720P Panasonic? You could even then start boasting about its high-def display! Anyways, like the original it seems to be more of a portable solution for playing Blu-ray movies on a big-screen HDTV since it includes an HDMI connection. When using it as a standalone player though the built-in rechargeable battery is good for about 4 hours of playback with the screen completely dimmed, and besides DVD and BR capabilities, the player also has an SD card slot for loading video content, or just letting it serve as an expensive digital photo frame. $299.99, available now.

[ Panasonic DMP-B200 Portable Blu-ray Player ] VIA [ Akihabara News ]

Finally! A Compact Submarine For All Your Vacation/Light Smuggling Needs

EGO Compact Submarine (Images courtesy Raonhaje Inc.)
By Andrew Liszewski

Getting your hands on a submarine isn’t as easy as just heading down to your local sub dealership. Unless you’re willing to build your own, or can find a Russian Navy Captain willing to defect with one, you’re kind of out of luck. But not if a company called Raonhaje has anything to say about it! While calling their GEO a bona-fide ‘submarine’ might be a bit of a stretch (glorified glass-bottomed boat might be more appropriate) it provides a similar underwater exploration experience, without the risk of ever plummeting to the bottom of the Marianas Trench.

The GEO technically never leaves the surface of the water, but the cockpit is located below the floating hull so while cruising about you always have a lovely view of what lies below. It’s electric powered too, meaning it’s going to be quiet and eco-friendly (relatively speaking) and at full speed (~5 knots) you can expect to get about 4 hours of cruising time on a 6-10 hour charge. Take things a bit more leisurely and you can expect to squeeze about 8 hours out of its 12 x 8-volt batteries. The pricing isn’t readily available on the EGO’s website, which means I wouldn’t be surprised if one of these topped the $100,000+ mark. But compare that to what the U.S. Navy has to pay for their subs, and it’s a downright bargain!

[ EGO Compact Submarine ] VIA [ Born Rich ]

GameCube Desktop Organizers

This post is syndicated with permission from GamerFront.net

Do you have trouble keeping your desk organized? Do you like GameCube and miss not having a need to use it anymore? After the Wii came into the picture, we lost a need for our beloved cubed shaped system. With so many a fancy squares lying about, it’s not a surprise that someone creative decided to make use out of them. There are now GameCubes that can help you keep your office space spick and span.

Seeing as the outdated consoles are just collecting space anymore, someone thought it would be better if they had a new purpose, and help us grieve the loss of new games for it. It was such a cool idea that they started selling it on Etsy under the name of GreenCub. The organizers have a magnet for staples, pencil and tack holders, and a tray for larger objects. They’ve even installed a little shelf for your phone or other compact gadgets. This is something that you could make at home, but costing only $39-49 a piece, I’d say it’s better to just buy the things.

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Cubelets – Modular Robotic Building Blocks

Cubelets - Modular Robotic Building Blocks (Image courtesy Modular Robotics)
By Andrew Liszewski

LEGO and its MINDSTORMS and TECHNICS counterparts allow you to build an infinite number of robotic contraptions, but they do require some level of engineering and programming know-how to bring your creations to life. Something most kids don’t have. So to make it easier for kids to hit the ground running/building, the Cubelets robotic building blocks already have all of that intelligence and functionality built-in. In fact each block is a simple robot in and of itself, but they can be combined to create something more complex and interactive than just a building block castle.

The standard Cubelets kit comes with 20 blocks that each have unique capabilities. Like action blocks (drive, rotate, speaker, flashlight & graph), sense blocks (knob, brightness, distance & temperature) and think/utility blocks (inverse, minimum, maximum, battery, passive & blocker) which sit in-between and affect how the action and sense blocks interact. So instead of having to specifically program your creation to behave a certain way, you just assemble the Cubelets you think it will need, and then watch how it behaves on its own. Now obviously you’re not going to be able to build something like a complex Rubik’s Cube solver with the Cubelets, but as a way to introduce kids to robotic concepts it seems like a fantastic learning tool.

Modular Robotics, the company behind the Cubelets, created 100 beta test kits as an initial introduction to the building toy, and even at $300 a set they’re already sold out. But more are in production, and they’re hoping to have them available in the very near future.

[ Cubelets – Modular Robotic Building Blocks ] VIA [ Core77 ]

Bicycle Anti-Theft Alarm

Bicycle Anti-Theft Alarm (Images courtesy VirtualVillage.com)
By Andrew Liszewski

Often times a chain or a bike lock is just a minor inconvenience to a bicycle thief who wants to pinch your ride. And while removing the wheels and your bike seat is a useful visual deterrent, it can also be a giant pain to deal with day in and day out. So like the blinking dashboard light of your car’s alarm system, this bike-specific anti-theft alarm is supposed to let would-be thieves know that they’d best move on to the next bike lest they set off an ear-piercing alarm while trying to steal yours.

It connects to your bike with a set of included nuts and bolts, and since it’s completely weatherproof it never needs to be removed, even if you leave it locked up outside. Arming it is as easy as pressing the ‘B’ button for just 2 seconds, at which point a motion-sensitive alarm is activated which can be set to one of 3 different sensitivity levels. If and when someone tries to tamper with your bike an 80db alarm will sound for 15 seconds, hopefully scaring them away. If they continue to tamper with it the alarm will continue to sound, requiring you to enter a custom 4 digit code using the three buttons to deactivate and disarm it. (i.e. BACA) It’s powered by a single 9V battery which will probably keep it powered for months on end with no incidences, and is available from VirtualVillage.com for just $3.99.

[ Bicycle Security Anti-Theft Alarm ] VIA [ The Red Ferret Journal ]

RC Bald Eagle With An Almost 10 Foot Wingspan

RC Bald Eagle (Images courtesy Hammacher Schlemmer)
By Andrew Liszewski

I still stand by my opinion that remote control inflatable fish balloons aren’t the most exciting flying toy you can buy these days. I mean there’s a reason there’s no clownfish appearing on the US $1 bill. But you know what you will find on there? A bald eagle! And you know what would make for an awesome flying toy? A remote control bald eagle of course!

This one features an impressive 9 1/2 foot wingspan, and is essentially a glorified kite with a carbon fiber frame and wing struts, and an electric motor strapped to its back. But in lieu of flaps and other control surfaces that are used to control a plane, the electric motor is mounted on a gimbal allowing the thrust to be directed using the included multi-channel remote, which in turn steers the eagle. The remote has a usable range of about 100 feet, and the eagle’s rechargeable lithium battery pack provides about 8 minutes of flight on a 20 minute charge. Not too shabby if the whole kit was around $50-$75, but for $499.95 you can get yourself a far more capable RC plane or helicopter!

[ Remote Control Bald Eagle ]

Zip & Dry Apron

Zip & Dry Apron (Image courtesy Taylor Gifts)
By Andrew Liszewski

Just because something’s lacking wifi or GPS functionality, doesn’t mean it can’t be incredibly useful. We’ve definitely got a soft spot for those simpler gadgets that still make life easier, like this Zip & Dry Apron which ensures there’s always a towel handy when you’re working in the kitchen. That’s because there’s one zipped to the bottom, so it’s always in easy reach for cleaning your hands, food or even the counters. With a quick pull of the zipper it’s easily removable too, for getting at hard to reach areas or just tossing it into the washing machine. $29.98 available from Taylor Gifts.

[ Zip & Dry Apron ] VIA [ 7Gadgets ]