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Author Archives: Andrew Liszewski

LG RoboCyking Canister Vacuum Automatically Follows You Around

LG RoboCyking Vacuum (Image courtesy LG)
By Andrew Liszewski

LG’s new RoboCyking canister vacuum might not be completely autonomous like the Roomba or other robotic cleaners. But instead of having to drag the canister around your home while you clean the floors, it automatically follows you like a dust-filled puppy. While the company doesn’t go into the details of how exactly the system works, I’m assuming it simply senses the ‘tugging’ that comes from the hose attachment while you clean. I’m also hoping it’s smart enough to avoid getting caught on corners, which often makes me want to hurl my vacuum off the balcony.

But following you around the house isn’t the RoboCyking’s only trick. It also operates at a relatively quiet 57dB, which LG promotes as being ideal for “dual-earner couples” who typically have to clean at night after work. It also packs a HEPA filter, carbon air purifier, and an automatic dust compression system using rotating plates that minimizes the amount of dust being blown back out. Available soon, in South Korea at least, for ~$400. (?469,000)

[ PR – LG RoboCyking ] VIA [ Newlaunches ]

Skipark360 Resort Will Be Large Enough To Hold World Cup Events

Skipark 360 Indoor Resort (Images courtesy Gizmag)
By Andrew Liszewski

There’s something about gigantic indoor ski resorts that bring out the best in architects. Then again, a structure large enough to house a mountain steep enough for skiing is never going to be inconspicuous. So I guess you need to make them presentable. Or at the least, striking. Which Denmark-based firm C. F. Møller Architects has certainly done with Sweden’s new Skipark 360. When completed in a few years (construction starts in late 2013) the $220+ million structure will be the largest indoor ski resort on the planet. And with an almost 2,300 foot run that drops over 500 feet, it will actually be large enough to stage World Cup caliber ski events.

But you don’t build a structure this massive for just one purpose. In addition to the downhill course, the SkiPark 360 will also feature 2.2 miles of cross-country skiing tunnels, dedicated slopes for those no-goodnik snowboarders, ice rinks, spas, and conference facilities. And because it’s being built in Bålsta, a small town located about 40 minutes outside of Stockholm, it’s also got a few hotel rooms because I’m suspecting most of the clientele won’t be local.

Besides tourism, the Skipark 360 is being built as a response to climate change which has been detrimental to the area’s ski industry. So not only will it provide the perfect ski conditions to visitors and professional athletes all year round, but it will do so in a manner that’s environmentally friendly. Ideally the resort will be completely self sufficient using renewable energy sources like solar, wind & hydro power, as well as geothermal for heating.

[ Skipark 360 ] VIA [ Gizmag ]

Wacom Refreshes Their Bamboo Line, Makes Wireless Functionality an Option

Wacom Tablets (Images courtesy Wacom)
By Andrew Liszewski

Since today will probably be dominated with news about Amazon’s possible tablet announcement, yesterday Wacom decided to spill the beans on the refresh of their Bamboo line. The low-cost tablets now feature a very flat profile with a minimal bezel around their stylus-friendly surface. The line now consists of the $79 Bamboo Connect, with a 5.8×3.6-inch work surface. The $99 Bamboo Capture, also with a 5.8×3.6-inch work surface. And the $199 Bamboo Create, with a larger 8.5×5.4-inch work surface. The last two, the Capture and the Create, also support multi-touch allowing you to use your fingers instead of the stylus for controlling the cursor, or gestures for triggering other functionality.

Wacom Wireless Option (Image courtesy Wacom)

To keep the costs low, the Capture and Create also connect to your PC via a USB cable by default. But you can cut that cable with this $39 Wireless Option that includes a compact dongle for your computer, and a wireless adapter and battery for the tablets. They provide a wireless range of about 33 feet, and fully recharge off of a USB connection in less than 6 hours. (Wacom’s website is a little vague as to how long your tablet will actually run wirelessly.)

[ Wacom Bamboo Connect, Bamboo Capture, Bamboo Create ] VIA [ Electronista ]

Acoustic Alarm Provides An Ever So Slightly Less Annoying Way To Get Up In The Morning

Acoustic Alarm (Image courtesy Jamie McMahon)
By Andrew Liszewski

Not only is it oozing with charm and retro appeal, but Jamie McMahon’s Acoustic Alarm also provides a subtler alternative to annoying electronic beeps, or local radio DJ banter, when it goes off in the morning. A simple pair of dials make setting the alarm time dead easy, while a toggle switch on the opposite side is used to activate, and presumably deactivate it, once you’re awake.

When the Acoustic Alarm goes off, a mechanism inside its sound hole gently strums a set of 4 guitar strings. It does sound a lot like the traditional electronic beep we’re probably all accustomed to, but considerably more pleasant. And if you’re not happy with the sound, like on a guitar the strings are connected to tuning pegs allowing to adjust the notes until you find something agreeable for your morning self.

[ Acoustic Alarm ] VIA [ Fancy ]

Rocketfish PadPivot Turns Your Thighs Into A Desk

Rocketfish PadPivot (Image courtesy Rocketfish)
By Andrew Liszewski

Adding to a long list of similarly designed contraptions, the PadPivot from Rocketfish—one of Best Buy’s in-house brands—is supposed to solve the issue of comfortably holding a tablet for long periods of time. Like the thigh pocket on a fighter pilot’s flight suit that holds a map, the PadPivot tethers to your upper thigh, supporting the iPad, or any tablet or device with a flat back, via a mount and ball and socket joint. It seems flexible enough to make using a given device fairly comfortable, while a tether strap ensures it’s not going to fall off if you shift your position.

The device is attached to the PadPivot via one of those non-permanent sticky panels that you need to keep free of dust and particles for it to properly do its job. But a rinse under the tap and a few minutes of air drying is all it takes to refresh its tackiness. The whole thing folds down to a smaller form factor which makes it easier to carry and use away from home, and is available now, from Best Buy of course, for $39.99.

[ Rocketfish PadPivot ] VIA [ Ubergizmo ]

TAG Heuer’s Mikrotimer Chronograph Concept Measures To 1/1000th Of A Second

TAG Heuer Mikrotimer Chronograph Concept (Image courtesy Hodinkee)
By Andrew Liszewski

As far as concept watches go, TAG Heuer’s new Mikrotimer doesn’t look like something from the distant future. Or even some crazy LED-enhanced lightstravaganza from the likes of TokyoFlash. It might even look a little boring to some of you, until you see it in action. The Mikrotimer is a chronograph designed to measure down to 1/1000th of a second. To do this, the watch’s caliber—or its internal movements—run at 500 rotations per second, or 500Hz. That equates to 3.6 million beats per hour, and as you can see in the video embedded below, when operating as a stopwatch the sweep hand is moving so fast you can barely see it in motion.

At this point the Mikrotimer isn’t quite ready to leave TAG’s R&D department just yet. But as Hodinkee points out, it’s important for any company to foster this kind of development and innovation in their field, to push their industry ahead. Also, for anyone who’s still a fan of analog watch technology, seeing it in action is pretty amazing.

[ Hodinkee – Exclusive Hands-On ] VIA [ TechCrunch ]

iOS Controlled Rover Spy Tank Apparently Has No Idea What Spying’s All About

Rover App-Controlled Spy Tank (Image courtesy Brookstone)
By Andrew Liszewski

It’s been a while since we brought you a good piece of spygear. And that’s probably because 99% of the spy gear consumers can get their hands on is complete rubbish. Case in point, this Rover Spy Tank. Effective spying requires cunning, stealth and speed. And I’m sure this thing possesses none of those attributes. Like most RC toys, its collection of plastic gears and components probably makes it easy to hear coming from a mile away. And there’s a reason bears that live outside of a polar region don’t rely on white fur for camouflage.

I’m also fairly certain the Rover’s built-in video camera suffers from Strabismus, or lazy eye. Because while the live video feed clearly shows that dog in the center of the iPad’s display, the tank is actually looking off to the side. I’m afraid to say it, but if James Bond had a similar condition, he’d be yanked out of service in no time. As a novel way to harass co-workers, siblings or even the family dog, the Rover does have some merit. It creates its own wifi network which allows you to connect and control it with your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad. While both audio and video are beamed back in real-time, allowing you to control it from afar. It can also be steered via on-screen controls, or by tilting and rotating your iOS device and letting the gyros translate your movements. $149.99 from Brookstone, while the accompanying app is free.

[ Rover App-Controlled Spy Tank ] VIA [ The Green Head ]

Cherkees – Potato Chips Meet Beef Jerky

Cherkees (Image courtesy Rowan Lane)
By Andrew Liszewski

It turns out I can scratch ‘Invent a snack that will be the end of mankind’ off my bucket list. Because a company called Rowan Lane has beaten me to it. As a product name, Cherkees doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue like, say, Ruffles or Doritos. But it makes up for that marketing shortcoming by being possibly one of the most amazing snacks man has ever created. Regular beef jerky isn’t the easiest thing to snack on outside of a survival situation. And beef jerky flavored chips never taste as authentic as the real thing. So in a move that would probably baffle even Einstein, they pushed mother nature aside, threw caution to the wind, and combined the two together.

Each bag of Cherkees contains over a quarter pound of lean beef combined with traditional potato chips. And since they’re not fried, they have about 1/3 as much fat as your typical bag of chips. With loads more protein. At the moment they come in two flavors—Cracked Pepper and Hot Pepper—with Teriyaki and Smokehouse being available sometime in the future. And even though they’re a bit more expensive than a traditional bag of chips—$4.99 for 2.8 oz. and $9.99 for 5.8 oz.— they’re still currently sold out due to the demand.

[ Cherkees ] VIA [ Werd ]

LOCAL Bike Was Designed To Handle All Of Your Neighborhood Chores

LOCAL Bike (Image courtesy fuseproject)
By Andrew Liszewski

In the same way a pickup truck probably isn’t going to put you on the podium at Le Mans, don’t expect to be winning any races, or securing the Tour de France’s yellow jersey, with this LOCAL Bike. Like a pickup it stresses function over form, but that’s not to imply it’s an eyesore or anything. In fact, Yves Béhar’s San Francisco-based ‘fuseproject’ has spent months designing and improving the LOCAL to the point where they’re happy to declare it the “perfect Neighborhood bike.”

Local Bike (Image courtesy fuseproject)

Is it ideal for riding off into the sunset on a multiple day bike trip? Certainly not. But as cargo bikes go, it’s designed to hold everything from groceries, to pets, to kids, to even lumber and surfboards while still being light, nimble and maneuverable. The LOCAL’s also got integrated lighting and locking systems so it’s ready for use in a busy urban setting. And even its own sound system, courtesy of a wireless Jambox strapped to the canvas panel located just below the rider. Pricing, availability and all that important stuff that lets you know this will someday be a real product haven’t been announced. So here’s to hoping the LOCAL just isn’t some design exercise.

[ LOCAL Bike ] VIA [ designboom ]