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Category Archives: Wireless

VTech IS9181 Music Hub Now Available

vtechwirelessmucic-sb

By Shane McGlaun

VTech is a company that is more closely associated with cordless phones and kids toys than streaming Internet radio devices. Any parent probably has a few of the company’s toys in their home; you would know them by the incessant noise they all seem to make.

VTech has announced that its new IS9181 wireless music hub is now available for purchase. The device connects to 802.11b/g wireless networks and offers access to thousands of streaming Internet radio stations. The device has a pair of front firing 3W speakers and a single 10W sub.

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[CES 2009] iRiver Wave Home Does VoIP, Is Bent

iriver

By Evan Ackerman

iRiver’s Wave Home is, I guess, primarily a VoIP console. But it’s got a touchscreen, it’s got internet, it’s got an OS that supports a variety of widgets… Really, it’s more of a specialized laptop than a VoIP phone. The touchscreen is 7″ and 800 x 480, and there’s a 1.3 mpx tiltable camera for video conferencing, stereo speakers, 1 gig of SD expandable flash memory, and a wireless remote/handset that lives in a slot in the back.

iriver2

I played with the Wave Home for a while, and the user interface is pretty slick. In addition to VoIP and videoconferencing, you’ve got SMS/MMS, contacts, a diary, access to widgets, a web browser, location aware information like traffic and weather, internet radio, and of course all of your multimedia.

There isn’t any specific pricing or release dates, but it’ll probably be available in late summer at a target price of less than $400, possibly as a subsidized accessory when you subscribe to a plan.

Wireless Transmitter Powered By Body Heat

Thermoelectric Circuit

By Evan Ackerman

Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany have successfully demonstrated a method of using body heat to power electronic circuitry. They’ve combined thermoelectric generators that can extract a tiny voltage from the few degrees of temperature difference between your body and the environment with ultra low-power circuits that can operate (theoretically) at as little as 50 millivolts. This technology is just beyond the concept stage in that the researchers have a working wireless transmitter that operates on 200 millivolts extracted from the heat in your hand. 200 millivolts isn’t going to run anything especially practical (besides this awesome wristwatch), but as with all technologies of this nature, just getting it off the drawing board and incarnated physically is a huge amount of progress. But I’m not worried: I could totally power a supercomputer with my heat, baby. Yeah.

Commenting on this post has been disabled due to spam, and crappy spam at that. Screw you, spammers.

[ Fraunhofer Research News ] VIA [ Engadget ]

PIX Visual Pendant Annoys Others With Visuals

visual_led_flash.gif By Ryan Nill

PIX Visual Pendant uses 117 LEDs to constantly annoy bystanders with flashing image chains. It can display animations, images, texts, emotions and more. Using the included PIX editor software you can design and edit different graphics that you want your PIX to showcase. Then, you can share your painstakingly crafted PIX image macros with other users via email and MMS. PIX also has a social aspect, hosting a site where you can meet and trade IDs; apparently, when two PIX get close to each other (as fools wearing large, LED based badges are wont to do) they play synchronized images. It’s like myspace meets public forum meets tamagotchi. PIX retails for £39.00.

Hit the Korean site for a bit more info. Here: XenoFreaks.

[ kjglobal ] VIA [ uberGizmo ]

Cellphone Signal Extender: Better Than Outside

zBoost

By Evan Ackerman

ThinkGeek is now selling a zBoost cell phone signal booster, designed to boost a 1 bar cell signal up to 5 bars over an area of 1500 square feet (equating to about 2 or 3 rooms over a few floors, depending on where the unit is mounted). Installation involves plugging the antenna into the base unit… And that’s it, the thing just boosts away. It’ll work on CDMA, GSM, TDMA AMPS, GPRS, EDGE, 1xRTT, and EVDO. In other words, all networks except Nextel. Conceivably, if you’re doing a lot of downloading with your brand new iPhone, it’ll make a difference in your data transfer rates, and if you’ve got an iPhone, $249.99 more is just a drop in the bucket.

So why am I not getting one of these? It’s not the price tag, or the fact that I don’t have an iPhone (not that I’m bitter about that or anything). No, I like having crappy reception. That way, I can preface all my calls with “I might lose you, my reception is pretty bad here,” and then when I ‘accidentally’ walk away from my window and the call gets dropped and go I play computer games instead, I don’t have to feel the least bit guilty.

[ Cellphone Signal Extender ]

LANdroid Wireless Battle Net

By Evan Ackerman

LANdroid

Ever wish that your wireless network could follow you wherever you went? Yeah, so does the US Army. DARPA‘s LANdroid is a palm-sized, totally autonomous network router on cute little tank treads. It’s designed to be used in urban environments which have all sorts of inconveniently placed buildings that block more conventional wireless access points. These little guys are actually designed to be disposable; the idea is that they get dropped by advancing troops, whereupon they wander around at about half a meter per second until they find the most effective place to act as a network node. The bots work together to cover “shadowed” and indoor areas, and if one of them gets blown up, the rest will move themselves to keep the network operational.

LANdroid

The details are trickier than it might seem… For example, the bots will be powered by disposable batteries, so power management will definitely be an issue, especially in a package that can’t be heavier than 1 kilo or larger in volume than 1 liter. The final product should only cost $100 per bot at small production volumes (i.e. 1000 units). This concept is a public solicitation by DARPA, which means that they don’t have one of these yet, but they really want one (and so do I). If you think you can put one together, proposals are due to DARPA by August 16.

[ DARPA LANdroid Proposal (*.pdf) ] VIA [ The Register ]

WildCharge: The Future Is Here

WildCharge

By Evan Ackerman

There are lots of “won’t-it-be-cool-when” wireless power technologies that we talk about every once in a while, but finally, wireless induction charging is a reality, and it’ll be on the market as of July 7. The WildCharge wireless charging mat gets plugged into an outlet, and any electronic device placed on it gets juiced up through the magic of electromagnetic induction. Yeah, electric toothbrushes have been doing this for some time, but it looks like it’s about to make the long overdue jump into mainstream gadgetry. The obvious downside at this point is that you have to get an adapter for each of your devices to allow them to take advantage of the induction field, unless you already have something that’s WildCharge enabled (::sound of crickets chirping::).

The pad itself is a svelte sub-0.1″ thin, and will charge as many gadgets as you can stuff onto it. There are a few missing specs, such as exactly how much power this thing can pump out… I somehow doubt that it’ll be able to power my laptop, but boy would it be cool if it could. The cost hasn’t been released, but it should be available “at a cost competitive with standard aftermarket cellular phone or laptop computer chargers.”

[ WildCharge ] VIA [ SlipperyBrick ]

“Real Track Futbol” Tracks Soccer Players In Real-Time

real track futbol

By David Ponce

Managing and coaching a soccer team just got a techno twist. Real Track Futbol is a turnkey solution for tracking your players on the field using GPS, as well as getting real-time readings on their physical condition. Their positions and velocities relative to one another are transmitted to a base station, their absolute paths taken on the field are recorded and the coach is able to then manage his team. It’s kind of like playing a soccer game, except the people are real: when players show signs of exhaustion, replace them. When they screw a play up, you have proof on record, so you can chew them up in the locker room.

Of course, the system could be used with pretty much any team sport, but Real Track Futbol was designed in Spain, with soccer in mind. Sure, the software was developed around the specific complexities of that particular sport, but how hard could it be to port this to good ole American Football?

Pricing and availability are not immediately clear, but their website has an English section, so browse away.

[ Real Track Futbol ] VIA [ Xataka ]

How Not To Design A Qwerty Keyboard For A Console

madcatz qwerty thumbpad

By David Ponce

There was something elegant about the recently announced Xbox 360 qwerty thumbboard. Not so with the PS3 Wireless ThumbPadâ„¢ from Madcatz. Dude, they put the friggin’ thing on top! This is presumably because it needs line of sight with the included dongle (we’re getting this from the dandy picture you see above), but how hard could it have been to make this work on RF?

Sure, it’s only $30, and you’ll be able to chat with your friends. But whatever, we’d pay $30 just to not have that monstrosity in the room with us. But, well, to each his own, right? Seems to be available now.

[ PS3 Wireless ThumbPad ] VIA [ Xataka ]