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Category Archives: Wireless

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 ]

Blinking Cellphone Holder For Quiet Offices

signal cellphone holderBy David Ponce

The SIGNAL Cellphone Holder is a simple device: you place your mobile in it, and when a call comes through, it blinks. Yeah, that’s it. But the point of it is that if you’re in a quiet setting, like an office, you can still know when calls come through. Just put your phone on silent and place it in there and the larger blinking holder will be easier to see than the smallish blinking a cellphone does when it rings on silent. Of course you could always put the phone on “vibrate”, but that’s not an option sometimes. Say, if you’re a lady with no pockets. Or a dude with overly tight pants…

The holder works much in the same way that blinking cellphone charms work: it picks up on the cellular radio waves. And no, it doesn’t even charge the phone, though that could make for an interesting DIY project.

It’s $21, but is out of stock at the moment.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Pryl Feber ]

Kyocera Bluetooth Music Gateway For Musicphone Aficionados

kyocera bluetooth music gateway

By David Ponce

The musicphone market is growing, and for good reason: listening to music and making phone calls are two essential elements to life. And sure, it’s fun to carry your tunes around with you all day but there aren’t too many options to get these off your phone, and into your home sound system. Enter the Kyocera Bluetooth Music Gateway, a device the size of a deck of cards that allows any A2DP-enabled cellphone, DAP or PMP to stream their tunes right into your home speakers. It connects to your system via RCA cables, and if your mobile has AVRCP, it can also be used to control tracks and volume. Should you be a sad Bluetooth-less mobile owner, the company also sells for $35 a Bluetooth adapter that plugs right into a standard 3.5mm audio jack. No 3.5mm jack on your mobile, and no Bluetooth? Dude, you ain’t even got a real musicphone, so you’re outta luck.

Expect to see these on store shelves sometime in April, at $100 with the adapter bundled, or $80 without.

[ Product Page ] VIA [Engadget Mobile ]

Jawbone Bluetooth Headset Uses Bone Conduction, Looks OK

jawbone headsetBy David Ponce

It’s not the first time we show you a Bluetooth headset that features bone conduction technology. The last time however, it looked like a potato tubercule that got painted charcoal. Not something you’d want to be seen coming out of your ear. The Aliph Jawbone however was designed by one Yves Behar, and actually manages to look half decent.

We’ve repeated several times that being seen walking down the street with one of these things stuck to the side of your brain makes you look like a douche (think modern bum bag). But hey, some of you are important, and really do need to be on the phone every waking second. So, you may as well get a headset that looks decent, and works well. The reason the company uses bone conduction is to filter out ambient noise; it picks up your voice through the vibrations in your skull, and not so much from the air coming out your mouth. That way, even walking down the sidewalk in Manhattan rush hour traffic, your peeps will hear you loud and clear.

It’s $120.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Uncrate ]

Blu:Sens G14 Goes Right, Where Zune Went Wrong: Unrestricted WiFi

blu sens g14

By David Ponce

Company Blu:sens, from Spain, is releasing an MP3 player with a lot of promise. It’s called the G14, and its claim to fame is that it’s able to do what Microsoft’s Zune didn’t have the guts to. It features WiFi, and it’s not crippled with DRM. This means, in case you’re not following, that you’ll be able to share songs with your friends, wirelessly, and let them keep them. Not only that, but you’ll be able to share all the songs in your playlist, unlike the Zune, which allows record labels to dictate which songs can be shared in the first place. What’s more, the company claims that the device will be able to interact with more than other versions of itself. You’ll be able to connect it to your network, and load the device without having to plug it in. There’s also Bluetooth, for added connectivity.

The G14 supports DivX natively, as well as MP3, WMA and OGG Vorbis. It comes in 1GB and 2GB formats, has a 2 inch 256K color display and is expected to cost between 180 Euros and 200 Euros, though availability information is a little scant at the moment.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Gizmologia ]