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Monthly Archives: May 2011

Novac’s Tiny Simply Scan Business Card Scanner

Novac Simply Scan (Image courtesy Novac)
By Andrew Liszewski

Dedicated business card scanners have mostly been replaced by camera-equipped smartphones, but I say mostly because a Japanese company called Novac has just bucked that trend and released this Simply Scan device. It looks like a tiny flatbed scanner that’s barely larger than a business card, but oddly enough it doesn’t work like one. Instead of a glass bed and a sliding scanning mechanism, you just lift the lid of the Simply Scan which positions a small camera over the center of the card. It then snaps a pic and uses included OCR software (running on your computer) to convert the details on the card into an entry in your address book.

Unfortunately it’s only compatible with Windows based PCs, or at least I assume the included software is, and at ~$120+ (¥9,980) it’s actually really expensive when you consider it’s just a lo-res digital camera.

[ Novac Simply Scan ] VIA [ Akihabara News ]

Diffus Solar Handbag Embraces Solar Cells As A Design Pattern

Diffus Solar Handbag (Image courtesy Diffus)
By Andrew Liszewski

Instead of just slapping a thin, flexible solar cell onto the outside of a messenger bag, Diffus Design has taken a far more subtle approach with their Solar Handbag. Working with designers from the Alexandra Institute and Swiss embroidery specialists Forster Rohne, Diffus has integrated 100 miniaturized monocrystalline silicon ‘sequins’ onto each bag in such a way that they simply look like a repeating design pattern with their exposed wiring. Not as distinct as the L & V that many people lust after, but far more useful.

Diffus Solar Handbag (Images courtesy Diffus)

During the day, with enough exposure to the sun, the bag can generate enough electricity to recharge a mobile device like a smartphone. But when not being immediately harvested the energy that’s generated is stored in a lithium ion battery that remains hidden away inside the purse. And at night a network of fiber optic lighting inside the bag will also draw on the battery providing a soft, diffuse glow making it easier to find things in the dark. Pricing and availability info haven’t been announced yet, but it’s safe to assume it isn’t going to be cheap unless you can charge enough gadgets to make it pay for itself in the very long run.

[ Diffus Solar Handbag ] VIA [ eCouterre ]

LEGO Duplo Plate Covered Walls Is Pure Genius!

LEGO Duplo Plate Covered Walls (Image courtesy HGTV)
By Andrew Liszewski

I don’t have any of the back story on how the stud plates have actually been attached to the walls, but I think this idea for a LEGO Duplo themed kids’ room is pure genius. And it goes without saying that limiting such an idea to just kids is a big oversight. Covering the walls of an office or work area with regular LEGO brick plates allows you to constantly redecorate with new patterns or color schemes every day. You can even recreate famous works of art out of just LEGO bricks. In fact I hope someone from LEGO is reading this and drops a note in the suggestion box for custom colored brick plates too, because it would make decorating a room with them a whole lot easier.

Update: Thanks to Charlie Sorrel from Wired’s Gadget Lab for discovering the wall is actually from a restaurant in Brooklyn called Café Boo Bah.

[ HGTV – 10 Themed Bedrooms for Kids ] VIA [ ohdeedoh ]

Panasonic’s New Disney Themed LUMIX DMC-FP7D

Panasonic's Disney Themed LUMIX DMC-FP7D (Images courtesy Panasonic)
By Andrew Liszewski

Finally realizing that consumer demand isn’t that important, and that people were probably tired of hearing about new ereaders, yesterday Panasonic announced a special Disney-themed edition of their Lumix DMC-FP7 P&S digital camera. Besides sporting Mickey Mouse graphics and patterns on the sliding lens door, the camera’s UI has also been ‘enhanced’ with Disney characters. And using the 3.5-inch touch friendly LCD display shutterbugs can even muck up their photos with Disney character themed icons, phrases and even fancy borders. The ‘D’ version of the Lumix DMC-FP7 will be available starting June 10th, presumably only in Japan, for ~$366 (¥30,000).

[ Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FP7D ] VIA [ Fareastgizmos ]

Kobo Introduces Their New eReader Touch

Kobo eReader Touch (Image courtesy Kobo)
By Andrew Liszewski

Whenever I show people an ebook reader their first instinct is to touch the screen to select a title or navigate a menu option. When I explain that it unfortunately doesn’t work that way, there’s always a touch of disappointment in their voice when they have to use a navigation pad or keyboard instead. Until now, touchscreen technology on an ebook reader has meant a loss of contrast and clarity with the e-ink display, but not with Kobo’s new eReader Touch which uses ‘Infrared Touch Technology’ instead. They don’t go into too much detail on how it works, but it of course involves infrared sensors, presumably hidden beneath the e-ink display.

Besides gaining a simple and cleaner home button beneath its 6-inch display, in lieu of the large navigation button the Kobo has been known for, their eReader Touch now allows users to do everything from turning pages to typing on an on-screen keyboard to highlighting text to even panning and zooming PDF files (finally!) using their fingers. It’s not only a welcomed addition to the ereader market, but it’s also the kind of thing you wonder how we ever lived without. The Kobo eReader Touch even incorporates a new 16-level grayscale Pearl e-ink display, while maintaining the same battery life of the previous models. All for just $130 ($139 CDN) available in June.

[ Kobo eReader Touch ]

Bridge Shredder Fits Various Sized And Shaped Garbage Cans

Bridge Shredder (Images courtesy designboom)
By Andrew Liszewski

I already have a document shredder that’s designed to sit atop garbage cans of various shapes and sizes using a sliding arm mechanism, but it’s a pain to use, and quite frankly, rarely works as it’s supposed. As far as I’m concerned it’s another example of where the K.I.S.S. maxim could and should have been applied, which is what studio ‘one tenth design’ clearly did for their Bridge shredder.

Instead of complicated moving parts, the Bridge simply has a narrowing body design below the slot that allows it to securely sit inside rectangular or circular garbage cans. Kind of like how you carve the lid of a pumpkin at an angle when making a jack-o-lantern so it doesn’t fall inside. And whereas my shredder has an annoying 4 foot power cord which usually requires me to dig up an extension in order to actually use it, the Bridge is cordless and instead relies on a set of AA batteries to keep it going. Sure it means it’s probably not as powerful as a corded version, nor will it last as long, but in this case I think convenience totally wins out. According to designboom the Bridge has officially hit the market, but I’m not entirely sure where you can order one just yet.

[ Bridge Shredder Warning: Annoying use of Flash! ] VIA [ designboom ]

Spiked Bowser Shell Backpacks Available From MadPax

by David Campisi

According to MadPax’s website, these backpacks were designed with an aim for the punk aesthetic, but I know a koopa shell when I see one.  The backpacks will certainly stand out in a crowd, if not by the neon bright colors, than the sheer awesomeness of spikes coming out of what is essentially a giant turtle shell.

The Spiketus Rex (latin for “King of Spiketus”) line of backpacks feature two side pockets, One giant zip opening to the interior and a smaller pocket inside for keys or money.  MadPax offers the leather backpack in 4 sizes and a dozen or so colors ranging from “Got your Black” black to “My Spicy Mustard” yellow.  The big 17”x12”x9” Full packs run at $60, but you can get the lunchbox sized “Nibbler” for $28, or the even smaller “Mighty Bite” for $15.

[ MadPax ] VIA [ Technabob ]

Nooka Wants To Turn Their Watch Designs Into Wall Clocks But Needs Your Help

Nooka Wall Clocks (Images courtesy Nooka)
By Andrew Liszewski

Nooka has already carved a name for themselves with their line of uniquely designed watches featuring atypical LCD display layouts. And the company is now looking to expand that line by carrying over their watch designs into a series of wall clocks that will easily make your bank or school (who else still uses wall clocks?) the coolest in town.

The only catch is that developing the molds and various components for what will probably be a very limited run is pretty expensive. So the company has turned to CKIE in an attempt to raise funding for the endeavor. The clocks will sell for between $500 and $550 depending on the style, and contributions towards the project range from just $25 which gets your name included as part of the development team, up to $10,000 which gets you a special edition version of the clock and of course a whole bunch of other Nooka stuff. Their total goal is $40,000 worth of funding, though with just 27 days left they’re only at about 5% of the way there. So if you’d like to see it happen, head on over and make a commitment.

[ Nooka Wall Clock ] VIA [ Acquire ]

Letting Your Unborn Fetus Choose Its Own Name? – There’s An App For That

Kick To Pick (Images courtesy Nathan Parks)
By Andrew Liszewski

Kick To Pick (Image courtesy Nathan Parks)Worried about risking years of passive aggressive behavior from your kid because of the terribly embarrassing name you gave them? Well you can worry no more thanks to an iOS app called Kick To Pick which puts all of that responsibility on your unborn fetus.

The app includes a database of thousands of gender-specific names which you can narrow down if you prefer by creating a favorites list. You then place your iPhone on your baby bump and the app will move through the list, presumably reading off the names one-by-one, until the built-in accelerometer detects that your child has provided some kind of physical feedback. I mean who’s to say a random kick wasn’t your baby excitedly letting you know they wanted to go through life known as Greyson, Dakota or Finnegan? And if they start to complain when they’re grown up you can always a throw a “well don’t get mad at us, you picked it!” back in their face.

Available now from the iTunes App Store for just $0.99.

[ Kick To Pick ] VIA [ Gizmodiva ]