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Search Results for: patent

The iTar Is Unfortunately Named

By David Ponce

The iTar is not a real product yet, it’s a conceptual accessory for the iPad that will make it easier to turn it into a guitar. Which is where we imagine the iTar name came from: “i” and “guiTAR”. Still, at first glance, iTar looks like something nefarious, something oily and perhaps cigarette related. Or perhaps that’s all in this author’s mind and in reality it couldn’t be anything further from that. We actually do like what it will do if its Kickstarter campaign takes off. It combines a button-based guitar fretboard (Starr Labs patented fingerboard) with your iPad to create a multi-talented instrument. Dock the iPad in and you’ll be able to play, quasi-virtually, a number of instruments, not just the guitar. It can be a keyboard, a drum set, a synthesizer; everything hinges on the related application and its bevvy of instruments that are at your fingertips.

Of course, the iTar will only exist if the Kickstarter campaign gains steam. As of writing, they’ve raised $4k of their $50k goal, but there are a little over 50 days left. If this is your sort of thing, the smallest contribution that will net you an iTar is $200, although you can pitch in at any level.

[ Kickstarter Campaign For iTar ] VIA [ DVice ]

Mobile Printing Kiosks Remind Us That The Paperless Office Is Still No Where In Sight

Mobile Printing Kiosks (Image courtesy St. Joseph Communications)
By Andrew Liszewski

The promise of a paperless office where computers, phones and electronic devices completely replace our need for printed documents is certainly tantalizing. But it’s still no where in sight. I might have minimal need for a printer at home, but visit any busy office and you’ll still find copiers and laser printers running around the clock. So instead of trying to sell us on some paperless dream, a PR company called St. Joseph Communications, working with HP and PrinterOn, have developed a public pay kiosk allowing users to print off documents for a small fee.

Printing reports, presentations, maps or travel plans are all handled by a “best-in-class” HP color laser printer. While photos instead come from a Citizen dye-sublimation printer, which probably costs a little more. Documents can be wirelessly sent from a smartphone or tablet using HP’s ePrint app, securely emailed directly to the kiosk from your laptop, or even accessed from a flash drive or memory card. There’s no word on what the service costs, but since most users will probably be using them in a pseudo-emergency type situation, you can bet it’s probably not going to be dirt cheap. But you can find out for yourself if you happen to be passing through Toronto’s Pearson International Airport where the first eight kiosks have already been installed.

[ PR - Mobile Print is Taking Off! St. Joseph Communications debuts its patent-pending mobile print kiosks at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport ] VIA [ The Moodie Report ]

LEGO Life Of George

LEGO Life Of George (Images courtesy LEGO)
By Andrew Liszewski

There’s no shortage of LEGO apps and games available for iOS. But the company’s latest offering, Life Of George, is the first to really take advantage of the iPhone’s unique capabilities. The game actually brings together both the physical and digital worlds, as players compete to recreate what they see on screen in each level, using only the collection of bricks that come in the box. Once they’re satisfied they’ve built it correctly, they place their LEGO model on an included grid map and take a photo of it with their iPhone.

Using “patent-pending brick recognition software” created by a company called EyeCue, the game then scores the creation based on how accurately it matches the image, and how quickly it was built. The character of George seems very similar to the Flat Stanley Project, since the objects you’re challenged to build all come from his travels around the world. So I guess on some level it’s also educational. And if you’re a rebel like yours truly, the game also includes a ‘My Life’ mode which lets you build and photograph your own creations, which are converted into virtual LEGO models and stored in a scrapbook. The game will be available come October 1st for $29.99, while the accompanying iOS app will of course be free.

[ The Gadgeteer - LEGO Life of George – Virtual meets physical ]

Nike Could Reveal BTTF-Inspired Shoes With Power Laces Today: Please Be Real, Please Be Real, Please Be Real, Please Be Real, Please Be Real

Nike Air Mag Sneakers? (Image courtesy YouTube)
By Andrew Liszewski

My parents remember exactly where they were when man first landed on the moon. But as a gadget blogger, my most vivid ‘do you remember where you were when…?’ memory was when the original iPhone was first revealed. Today could be another one of those days though. Nike has apparently invited a select group of journalists to Los Angeles for a super secret event, including the folks from Highsnobiety who posted the following photos of what awaited them at their hotel.

It's About Time (Images courtesy Highsnobiety)

A black box labeled ‘IT’S ABOUT TIME’ with a pair of futuristic Back To The Future Part II inspired sunglasses inside. And two days ago, the following viral video, McFly’s Closet, was uploaded to YouTube by one ‘DocEmmettBrown88′ which shows a room filled with blinking Nike ‘MAG’ sneakers.

So all of the clues, including the fact they patented self-lacing shoes last year, point to Nike finally producing a real pair of shoes as seen in BTTF Pt. II. Complete with a self-lacing mechanism, which their first attempt, the Hyperdunks from a few years ago, were sorely lacking. Of course maybe I’m getting my hopes up too high here, but maybe, just maybe, Nike will come through for all of us BTTF fans this time.

[ Highsnobiety - Nike “Its About Time” Shield Glasses – Big Announcement Coming ] VIA [ TechCrunch ]

9-Inch Portable DVD Player Also Rips Audio CDs, Plays ROMs, Turns A Blind Eye To Certain ‘Laws’

9 Inch Widescreen Portable DVD Player with Copy Function (Image courtesy Chinavasion)
By Andrew Liszewski

Sure, we occasionally like to point an accusing finger at China for producing knock-off goods, like electronics and even entire stores. But sometimes producing a device that skirts certain copyright and patent laws results in something that’s far more functional and useful than one that tows the legal line.

This hefty 9-inch portable DVD player might look like just a way to watch movies, but it actually houses a few surprises. First and foremost is that it can be used to rip MP3 files from an audio CD directly to a USB flash drive. And of course if you gave up on DVDs years ago, it can be used to play pretty much any kind of file format you can get your hands on off of a memory card or flash drive. Whether on its generously sized display, or on an external monitor thanks to its AV out connections.

Less emphasized, but just as important to gamers who cut their teeth in the ’80s, is its ability to play ROMs. I’m assuming that includes titles from older consoles like the NES and original SEGA Master System, and possibly even the SNES and Genesis given the shape of the included controller. The DVD player even appears to include a TV tuner allowing you to watch local broadcast content, though analog only so that aspect is useless if your country has already made the digital switchover.

What makes the whole package even more tempting is the fact that it’s available for ~$75 from Chinavasion, so even if it barely limps along in terms of usability, it’s still worthy of consideration as an entertaining travel companion.

[ Chinavasion - 9 Inch Widescreen Portable DVD Player with Copy Function ]

Zippo Lighter Conceals A 6mm Miniature Gun

Zippo Lighter Miniature Gun (Images courtesy CollectoreBooks.com)
By Andrew Liszewski

Until now I thought this gun-concealing pocket watch was the most clever incognito firearm I had ever seen. But while I’m sure no one would have batted an eye at it 70 years ago, walking around with a pocket watch these days is sure to rouse suspicions. So as an alternative, if your business card reads 007 and you have the need for a truly concealed firearm, why not hunt down this rare Zippo gun?

Its copper-cased 6mm cartridges are fired out of a barrel where you’d normally find a Zippo’s wick, and of course instead of a trigger you have to roll the flint striking wheel in order to fire it. Seems pretty safe right? This model, which I’m sure is particularly rare and not officially sanctioned by Zippo, even comes with a Ronson flint dispenser designed to hold the extra cartridges. According to this website it sold at auction back in 2006 for $6,810, though to whom I’ve no idea. But if you do manage to find them, be careful, they’re probably packing a concealed weapon.

[ "Zippo" Lighter Gun Together with Ronson Flint Dispenser with Ammunition ] VIA [ Fancy ]

Electrolux Powermix Silent Blender Is Ten Times Quieter

Electrolux Powermix Silent Blender (Image courtesy Electrolux)
By Andrew Liszewski

While not particularly new, yesterday’s 100+ degree day (where I live at least) has gotten us thinking about ways to beat the heat. And Electrolux’s Powermix Silent blender will not only come in handy for mixing up smoothies and other frozen drinks, but it also does it in a way that’s 10X quieter than your standard blender. Now referring to it as ‘Silent’ is a bit of a stretch since it still produced about 80dB of noise, similar to being inside a car at 50MPH. Compared to 90-95dB of a regular blender which is more like the roar of a motorcycle.

The quieter performance is thanks to the blender’s patented ‘Sound Reduction System’ which incorporates reduced vibrations and better airflow around the motor. But as far as blending goes, it also apparently improves on older models there too with a triangular jug design which better creates a vortex effect, pulling materials down to the blades. Unfortunately though, like a lot of products under the Electrolux brand, it’s only available in certain parts of Europe.

[ Electrolux Powermix Silent Blender ] VIA [ Fancy ]

ALPHA Bike Is Switchable Between A Fixie And A Freewheel

ALPHA Bike (Images courtesy University of Pennsylvania)
By Andrew Liszewski

If you like the sleek look and minimal frame design of a fixie bike, but sometimes prefer the benefits of a freewheel model (like brakes, switchable gear ratios etc.) then a team of 5 mechanical engineering students at the University of Pennsylvania have just finished work on your dream ride. The ALPHA incorporates the team’s innovative new free/fixed transmission which they’ve dubbed the ‘SWIFT Drive’, as well as a fully internal drivetrain all operated by an electronically-controlled clutch.

According to the ALPHA’s website the team went above and beyond the call of duty when it came to engineering the bike’s subsystems to maximize strength and performance vs. weight, and as a result it actually weighs less than a regular steel-framed bike but can withstand far more. It doesn’t skimp on technology though to keep the weight down. There’s a dynamo built into the front hub which generates power for the onboard electronics which includes rear LED lighting and a host of sensors which provide real-time performance data to the rider via an LCD display integrated into the handlebars.

Of course since the bike is all custom made from materials like titanium and carbon fiber I’m sure the working model is probably worth tens of thousands of dollars. So let’s hope the team can patent and license their new technologies so the ALPHA can one day become a real, and moderately affordable, product.

[ ALPHA Fixie/Freewheel Bike ] VIA [ Josh Spear ]

Razor Scooters Now All About Vandalism And Starting Forest Fires

Razor Graffiti & eSpark Scooters (Images courtesy Razor)
By Andrew Liszewski

At the height of their popularity it wasn’t uncommon to see even business types in suits riding Razor scooters to work. And while the fad hasn’t completely passed, it’s apparent the company is now trying everything they can to keep attracting kids’ attention- particularly young vandals and pyromaniacs. Their Graffiti scooter has a patented ‘chalk scribbler’ on the back which lets the rider lay down a set of parallel chalk lines while rolling down the street. I suppose it can be a handy way for kids to find their way home if they suffer from a poor sense of direction, but let’s be frank here; it’s really just a way to make vandalism seem like fun.

But it’s their eSpark scooter that has me really concerned. Instead of pieces of chalk hanging off the back it’s got a ‘spark bar’ letting riders leave behind a trail of incendiary sparks. One trip through Yellowstone National Park on the wrong day and you’ve got a disaster on your hands. What’s even worse is that this scooter is electric powered, providing arsons with an effortless means of escape since on a single 8-hour charge it can run for about 40 minutes with a top speed of up to 10mph. $59.99 for the Graffiti, $179.99 for the eSpark.

[ Razor Graffiti & Razor eSpark Scooters ] VIA [ I New Idea ]