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01.20.2005

Robot toys

Takara is showing these new TERA (Takara Entertainment Robot Architecture) robots at the Tokyo International Forum. They will come in three varieties. The home security robot has a camera and sensors for motion, fire, and gas and the alarm can only be turned off through fingerprint recognition. Of course, it appears small enough to crush with one kick, but look at the face, I think it's intentionally baby-like to prevent that. The healthcare robot monitors heart rate, body temperature, blood pressure, alcohol levels, and also purifies the air. The AV robot has eyes that can project the DVD it's playing. I think the little ones are remote controls of some sort. These robots won't be available until sometime in 2006.

Sega's new robo entry is the canine music "emoter". The dog sings when its nose is pressed or when it's spoken to. When a hand is moved over the sensor on the dog's head, the music tempo will adjust accordingly. Somewhat creepily, the dog can also mimic human voices by electronically reproducing sounds on the same wavelengths. It will be available from Hasbro in June in North America.
From Nikkei.net and Ployer.

Posted by Mia    Category: toys
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01.19.2005

iPSP

If you are one of the few lucky bastards out there who already own a PSP, then you might be interested in a little app called iPSP. If you are still anxiously waiting for the PSP to be released, then you just have to remember reading about this.

The iPSP is compatible with all of the latest Apple software, including iLife, iPhoto and, of course, iTunes.

This small application will also allow you to get video clips on your PSP; check Engadget,Aeos HOW TO to find out how.
Via joystiq and engadget

Posted by Camilla    Category: toys
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01.19.2005

Siemens Dressman shirt iron

I don't do the ironing in this house, but you can bet that if I did, I'd be much more selective with the clothes I buy. Siemens has relieved the tedium of ironing shirts with the Dressman.
The equipment looks like the upper body of the mannequins you see in store windows. A freshly washed shirt is simply pulled over the device, and any wrinkles are smoothed out. Twelve fully automatic programs for various types of shirts and materials take care of the rest. The shell made of balloon silk literally inflates itself with hot air and gets the shirts into shape. And the process is easy on the shirts because it uses low temperatures. Broken buttons and unsightly stains will also become things of the past, and additional functions can dry wet jackets or air out sports coats. Read the full press release.
Obviously what we need now is something that does the same for skirts and dresses. A Dresswoman, in fact.

Via CNETAsia.

Posted by saresha    Category: home
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01.19.2005

Pocket PC gets cute ,Aei O2 XDA II mini

While shopping for a PDA a year ago, it came to my notice that while Palm OS machines simply exuded coolness, their Pocket PC brethren were significantly lacking in sex appeal. I became the proud owner of an XDA II Pocket PC Phone (branded T-Mobile MDA II, Qtek 2020 or i-mate Phone Edition elsewhere) because it seemed the epitome of PDA geekiness without actually looking the part.

Late last year, its Taiwanese manufacturer, HTC, launched two more machines running on the Pocket PC Phone Edition OS, one of which is the O2 XDA II mini. For calls on the XDA II, I,Aeod chosen to do without a handsfree headset (too ugly) and the Bluetooth alternative (too fiddly), but I appreciate that not everyone wants to hold a brick to their ear. The XDA II mini (i-mate JAM, T-Mobile MDA Compact, Qtek 100), measuring only 58 x 108 x 18.1mm, is less likely to draw amused looks. Possibly the perfect meld of form and function for fans of Pocket PCs, it manages to fit much better into tiny handbags, and still outdo the XDA II slightly in features. Personally, I couldn,Aeot begin to imagine how I would surf the net with it, even with the NetFront browser, but there,Aeos certainly been plenty of interest among female friends.

I,Aeod love to say that I,Aeod been able to play with one of these babies before I wrote this, but they,Aeore already on backorder in both Singapore and Hong Kong. In the US, it,Aeos most commonly available as the i-mate JAM, but actual availability appears limited.

What I really want to get my hot little hands on is its geekier big brother, the XDA IIs/III (Qtek 9090, MDA III, i-mate PDA2K), with its cool slide-out QWERTY keyboard (I,Aeove always wanted one). What to do with the 3G bandwagon, though?

Posted by saresha    Category: devices
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01.18.2005

Harvard president says women suck at science

Harvard University's president, Lawrence Summers, told a conference audience last Friday that he believed it was genetics, not discrimination, that holds women back in the fields of science and engineering. Additionally, the enlightened Dr. Summers seemed to think it was a good thing anyway, since the child-rearing that women have to do makes them unable to work the long hours necessary to make significant professional contributions.
When questioned by the Boston Globe, Summers admitted that he may have made references to "innate differences" and that people merely "prefer to believe" that social factors play a part in why so few women pursue careers in science. Now however, Larry is not just backtracking, he claims it was all a misunderstanding. From his statement:
My remarks have been misconstrued as suggesting that women lack the ability to succeed at the highest levels of math and science. I did not say that, nor do I believe it. I am deeply committed to the advancement of women in science, and all of us have a crucial stake in accelerating progress toward that end.
Several people walked out of the conference, including MIT biologist Nancy Hopkins. In the three years that Summers has been president at Harvard, the number of senior positions offered to women has decreased annually.
Links:

CBC News

BBC

Boston Globe
Bay Area program encouraging girls to "Explore all things technical."

Posted by Mia    Category: current affairs
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01.18.2005

Designing for kids: Moblo and Ankio

The Associazione Design Italiana (Italian Design Association) has recently organized a competition targeted at young designers. Among the winning ideas were two products specifically aimed at kids, Moblo and Ankio.

Moblo has been designed by three students of the IED (Istituto Europeo di Design) in Milan, Luca Galnarini, Cristiano Vigan/<= and Linda Pobega. The system consists of different modules, which can be rearranged to create a playing-space for kids with different forms and functions. Unfortunately the presentation of the product is only in Italian, but you can get a pretty good idea, just by seeing the pictures.

Ankio, was designed by Barbara Gilardetti a student at the Industrial Design department of the Polytechnic Institute in Milan. Ankio could be described as a three level faucet, where the different basins can be used according to the kids' age (and therefore height) and afterwards dedicated to different functions, for example just as a storage place. Again, unfortunately the product,Aeos presentation is only in Italian.
Read on Venerd/ di Repubblica

Posted by Camilla    Category: toys
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01.17.2005

Japanese good luck underwear

School entrance exams are notoriously stress-inducing in Japan, but Triumph has come up with some unique good luck amulets for wigged-out students. The Daruma good luck bra pads, worn inside the bra, have been "blessed" by Triumph to bring strength in trying times. And maybe a cleavage boost as well.

Triumph says Wind Water underwear will shed misfortune and uncertainty if worn overnight. The always unambiguously precise Babelfish translation:

This "Dr As for the opening luck wind water underwear of ,C>=,Ee ", with the wind water adopting typical two motifs many from midst of motif of certain opening luck. Fortune is stored, "it whirls and", it outblooms happily, the shorts which designed "the flower" were planned.



For those of you who've been waiting for the return of the chastity belt, Triumph has a solution (sort of). The lock+key brassiere and panty set is self-explanatory, but here's what Babelfish says:

That lock is opened, if it deposits "the key" to the important person, to convey the message which call "just you it is possible to be able to open the key of my secret"... just "the small demoniac key of secret" being to be, it does. In addition, as for "the key" two it has been attached, to transfer one to the important man already one can also have by your, vis-a-vis one lock, but small demon it seems, showing, it is possible also to give "the key" to the respective another man.
Exactly.
From Japan Today.

Posted by Mia    Category: body
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01.17.2005

OSIM iSymphonic AV massage chair

Ever felt the urge to boogie, but just couldn't drag yourself off your favourite armchair? Osim, the Singapore-based manufacturer of health gadgets, has come up with the iSymphonic AV massage chair, touted as "the world's first massage chair that synchronises massage and music." Pop a CD into the built-in CD player, or hook it up to your entertainment system, and you can enjoy being massaged in rhythm to the sound, be it Schumann or Spielberg. The chair also has the ability to detect the body shape and size of the user, and therefore his acupuncture points, for a more therapeutic massage.

For now, this is only available in Asia, though if you live in the UK or Australia, you can purchase the iSymphonic (without the audio-visual hookup).

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01.16.2005

Rhinoplasty glasses

The most common plastic surgery procedure for Asians might be eyelid surgery, but following close behind is the nose job, where the nasal bridge is raised.

Now, a Japanese professor at the University of Sydney has made it possible for folks to get their gaijin nose without going under the knife. His invention comes in the form of a pair of lensless glasses, where the magic lies in the polythene nose piece. Powered by mercury batteries, the nose piece vibrates at 7,000 Hz per minute, creating a gravitational force that excites the growth of your nasal bridge cartilage. Wear it for three minutes everyday, and you should be able to look down your newly augmented nose in two to three weeks.

A pair costs HK$1, 680 at JC Shop outlets in Hong Kong, where they,Aeove experimented on a model - her nose was apparently raised from 20-()() to 30-()() after seven days of use.

Posted by saresha    Category: body
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01.16.2005

The iPod Shuffle

The newest addition to the iPod family is the iPod Shuffle. The iPod shuffle comes in two versions, a 512MB and a 1G model for $99 and $149 respectively. It,Aeos tiny, the size of a pack of gum, and weighs less than a car key.

You plug the iPod Shuffle via a USB port into your computer and iTunes will autofill it and play back the songs randomly, because, as Steve P. Jobs stated last week while presenting the new music player, ,AeuLife is random,Aeu.

The iPod Shuffle seems to be an attractive alternative to the iPod mini & the rest of the iPod crew, mainly because of its affordable price. Even though it hasn,Aeot been welcomed with pure enthusiasm, I believe that the iPod Shuffle will help Apple get a little bit richer.

Posted by Camilla    Category: devices
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