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Category Archives: Innovation

iPod Dock Extender Lets You Dock With Your Skin On

ipod dock extenderBy David Ponce

If you’ve decided to protect your iPod with a skin that’s any thicker than a thin sheet of paper, you’ve undoubtedly found out that docking your music player can become quite a pain. If it’s wearing leather, or something equally thick, it’s pretty much impossible without peeling the skin off first. So, leave it to the Sendstation guys to come up with an elegant solution. The Dock Extender simply connects to your iPod on one end, and to any dock on the other via an included standard size Dock Insert. There’s even a removable metal support for added stability. And, no need to remove your akin anymore.

It’s a simple gadget, but one that promises to make your life marginally more comfortable; at least, your music-listenin’, iPod-totin’ pampered life, that is. There’s no word on price or availability, though we don’t expect this to be too far away.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Coolest Gadgets ]

Breathing New Life Into The Watch With The JITWatch

jitwatch

By David Ponce

It’s pretty clear that watches are dying a slow death. The only reason they are worn is as arm decoration. But if German designer Martin Frey has his way, the JITWatch might change all that. It’s being built around the concept of a “thinking watch”. It would connect to your Personal Area Network (comprised, mainly, of the watch and your cellphone, though it could include your PDA as well), and keep track of all the little things you have so much trouble remembering: When is my next appointment? Where does the appointment take place and how long does it take to get there from here? Thus, when should I leave? How much time is left till then? Should I leave now? Am I already too late?

Once synced up with your cell, it could access your calendar and become aware of your schedule.

The watch knows the wearer’s actual position coordinates via GPS, GSM-tracking or other techniques. In addition to that the cell phone enables a data connection with the www. Appointments with site coordinates can thus be synchronized. They were entered in advance e.g. into the cell phone or into the computer with a calendar tool like iCal. Furthermore the watch can access web-based navigation-, timetable- and traffic information services.

Unfortunately, no availability or pricing information is available, though the picture hints at a wonky looking prototype, what with wires and batteries sticking out willy-nilly. So, maybe there’s so commercial effort behind the concept.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ popgadget ]

Fraunhofer To Release World’s Smallest HDTV Camera

microhdtv

By David Ponce

Fraunhofer are the people behind the MP3 compression format. Little did we know they also made gear, but they do. And they’ve recently announced the development of the world’s smallest HDTV camera, named MicroHDTV. The device is only 3 inches long and 1.5 inches wide, yet is still capable of recording video at full HDTV resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, and 60 frames per second. It achieves this in part by ditching bulky heatsinks:

The camera?s electronics have a very low power loss, which means that little heat is generated and the housing can thus be kept very small. By using highly integrated parts, we were able to fit all of the components such as the image sensor, the analog-to-digital converter, the color processor and several interfaces into the tiny space available inside the camera

Being this small, it can easily be strapped to a skier’s helmet, or embedded in a race car.

There’s no word on price or specific availability, though the MicroHDTV will be on display at CeBIT, in Hanover, from March 15 to 21.

[ Full Article ] VIA [ Electronista ]

Researchers Develop Mirror That Turns To Window

window mirror

By David Ponce

A window that turns into a mirror at the flick of a switch. Sounds simple enough, yet the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science & Technology (AIST) in Japan is making it sound as though it recently invented the thing. Well, we imagine they did, because we can’t prove otherwise, but damn, it just seems like such a simple thing, it ought to have already been done ages ago. Well, whatever. There you have it.

By using a thin film of magnesium-titanium alloy, the company created a prototype mirror window with the size of 60 ? 70 cm, and were able to switch it back and forth between reflective and transparent states. At the moment, the technology is ages away from being commercialized, as it still faces some hurdles. For instance, AIST is working on improving degradation of the material as a result of several cycles of switching. They are also working on simpler methods of application; as it is right now the making of the mirror requires a somewhat complicated process that can’t easily be sent into the marketplace.

While we’re thinking of a couple of hilarious pranks this sort of thing could amuse us with, AIST has more noble goals in mind, such as energy preservation in large buildings. They could also be used in car windows, to keep the vehicles cooler during hot summer months.

[ Research Summary ] VIA [ Plastic Bamboo ]

Online Store Found For World’s Smallest Cellphone, The Xun Chi 138

By David Ponce

We reported on the Xun Chi 138 a while ago. In case you missed it, this device claims to be the world’s smallest cellphone, with dimensions at 55 grams and 2.64 (67mm) inches long. It features a VGA camera with video recording & webcam, a video player, photo editor, MP3 player w/EQ settings, voice recorder, 121 MB of memory, a 260,000-color touchscreen, multimedia messaging, WAP browser, GPRS, calendar with multiple alarms, handwriting recognition, vibrating alert, games, calculator and unit converter!

The thing about it, is that it was notoriously hard to find a place to purchase. Until now. A fine reader of ours has found an online store that seems to carry stock, and ships worldwide. But there’s a problem. The phone will only GSM networks in Europe, Australia and parts of Asia, but unfortunately will not work on North American GSM networks such as Cingular/Cellular One, T-Mobile, Rogers, Fido/Microcell, SunCom, Dobson, Edge Wireless, Alltel, Petrocom, Union, Pegaso/Movistar, Radiomovil/Telcel etc., since the frequencies used in North America are different than in Europe and Asia. You can go here for a list of supported countries.

If you can purchase, it’s $235 plus $15 for worldwide shipping. We’re not vouching the site, since we’ve never seen or heard of it. But any inquiries can be sent to smyers22 at lycos dot com.

[ Product Page ]

Thanks, Steve!

Gemotion Is A Soft, Bulging 3D Display

gemotionBy David Ponce

At the moment, this technology is being displayed as art, rather than some R & D project, yet we see some promise for consumer applications here. Gemotion is simply a projector screen. But behind the screen, Yoichiro Kawaguchi (well-known computer graphics artist and University of Tokyo professor) installed 72 air cylinders, which move up and down through the orders of a PC to which they’re connected, giving a 2D image a real 3D texture. The PC then synchronizes the projected image with the bulges.

?If used with games, TV or cinema, the screen could give images an element of power never seen before. It could lead to completely new forms of media,? says Kawaguchi.

We agree. In fact, we’d like to see the cylinders miniaturized and embedded behind flexible OLEDs. That way, you could solve at least some of the problems with the iPhone, for instance. In fact, there’s no reason such technology couldn’t be a couple of years away already (if it isn’t already here, and we’re just displaying our ignorance for all to see).

Gemotion will be on display from January 21 to February 4 as part of a media art exhibit (called Nihon no hyogen-ryoku) at National Art Center, Tokyo, which recently opened in Roppongi.

[ Asahi Article ] VIA [ Pink Tentacle ]

Advanced Rain Jacket

Rubbersuit By David Edney

TDA research and the University of Colorado have created a new rubber material laced with microscopic channels that could be used to make more comfortable, less bulky protective gear for people who work around hazardous chemicals. It combines rubber with liquid crystals to keep out harmful chemicals while letting sweat pass through. The process works because molecules of toxic chemicals are too large to fit through the tiny passages, but water molecules are small enough. Most suits worn now in hazardous work areas keep out the harmful chemicals, but make you sweat like a pig, because they trap all the moisture inside.

The researchers hope to also apply this new technology to other applications like military clothing, or just regular rain coats. Also, they believe that this new rubber might be useful in purifying contaminated water, and desalinating seawater. So, theoretically in the future of rain jacket technology, you might be able to stay dry from the weather, while your jacket turns your sweat into drinking water. We’re betting that one’s going to be a real popular with the ladies.

VIA [ CNN Tech ]

Acoustic Sensors Could Turn Any Surface Into Input Device

Acoustic Sensors

By David Edney

Researchers in Europe have come up with Tai-Chi, or (Tangible Acoustic Interfaces for Computer-Human Interaction), that are a series of acoustic sensors that turn any surface into a touch-sensitive computer interface. The system uses sonar tracking that senses surface vibrations and can track up to two things at once. This could be very useful in the work place like hospitals that are concerned about hygiene, because the clean up would be non-existent. It could also be used as a data input interface in almost every computer. There is no release date for any products yet, but I’m sure once its perfected there will be a product. Soon, we could all have the holographic touch screens just like in the futuristic movies.

Check out the videos here and here

VIA [ Emergency Gadget ]

Wear All Your Gadgets And Still Look Cool

scottevest jacket.jpg

By David Edney

If you read our articles here at OhGizmo you either a) have as many gadgets as we write about; or b) have more gadgets then we cover and actually rule the entire gadget universe [Um, what? -Ed.]. In any case Scottevest has got you covered, literally. Through Brookstone, they sell an awesome “Technology Ready Fleece-Jacket.” This thing holds almost anything and everything you could carry on you. It has 12 hidden pockets that can carry all your technological goodies, as well as a “patented routing system” for earbuds and a shoulder design that “promotes even distribution of weight.” It even has a pocket for a water bottle for in-game hydration. The sleeves remove so you can turn it into a dorky classy vest, and best of all it has reflective piping so that cars will see you in the crosswalk when you’re playing your PSP and listening to your iPof. It goes for $140 and you better buy it now so you can receive it before Christmas.

[ Jacket ] VIA [ CNET ]