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01.31.2005

Personal smoothie blender

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01.31.2005

Photocatalyst germ killing fabric spray

I was joking about the Lysol workout wear but the Hikari-Kaikaku Photocatalyst Spray actually coats any fabric with a germ-killing layer which will oxidize odors, pollen, and bacteria when exposed to light. Supposedly perfectly safe for the human body, which I'm sure just means it's okay to sit on a couch coated with the stuff, but a real OCD case (I'm not that bad, honestly) could try out a full body basting and feel more at ease in public. The coating lasts through 30 washings.
$69 at Compact-Impact.

Posted by Mia    Category: body | wearables
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01.30.2005

PSP: iPod's new rival?

Could the PSP become iPods most feared rival? According to this article on TVG it could have a chance. Apparently there are rumors that Sony Computer Entertainment Europe is developing a music service download.

It's claimed that the service will be rolled out during the summer, with plans to launch it as a means of downloading trial games and new content provisionally, but will then be developed into an advanced vehicle for other Sony products including music downloads.

Personally, I don't care about the music service download; as long as I can get my hands on a PSP, I will be quite happy!!!

Posted by Camilla    Category: current affairs
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01.30.2005

You'll need those Adidas sneakers to win the game


Adidas and game developer Eidos have partnered together to promote Adidas' hyperride shoe. Eidos has apparently been working on a game based on the urban sport of free-running called "Freerunning". The game will be available for the PSP across Europe in March (and later also for the Playstation console). In case you didn't know - and I didn't - free-running is an urban sport that consists of jumping around from building to building, definitely more fun to do it on the PSP as far as I am concerned. By using the hyperride shoe the player's performance in the game will be enhanced; while the Adidas brand has been seen in videogames before, this is the first time that a product directly affects the outcome of the game. BTW, Footlocker has the exclusive rights to sell the shoe. Seen on Brand Republic

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01.30.2005

Nintendo targets women with the DS

According to this article in The Register Friday March 11th is the date set for Nintendo's DS release in Europe. The handheld game console will be available for 100, or for 149, and will debut with 15 game titles, such as Pokemon Dash, Super Mario 64 DS, Tiger Woods PGA Tour, etc.

But the interesting news about the Nintendo DS is that the Japanese game/toy company intends to promote the product with a particular emphasis on women. Presumably it feels male gamers will favor the more macho, black-cased Sony PSP, which is expected to ship a week to two weeks later than the DS.

Posted by Camilla    Category: current affairs | toys
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01.28.2005

Corse.T.ny - corset t-shirts

If you can forget for a moment that corsets were born of a sort of tyranny over the female form to adhere to an idealized shape, then you may be able to appreciate that the modern, non-physically oppressive corset (they're still tight but you can breathe and move) can be very flattering without trying to mold your body into something it will never be, no matter how tight you squeeze. But they're still not completely comfortable and the lacings and boning that make a corset different from a regular bra also make it harder to wear under normal clothes.

Corse.T.ny, a line started by Rachel Ayala and Lindsay Burka combines the look of a corset with an everyday comfortable t-shirt/camisole. The corse.T.ny replaces both the bra and the t-shirt layer with much more shaping than the typical "cami with shelf bra". The Ts come in sizes to fit A-D cups, in a multitude of colors. Ayala and Burka are also planning designer corse.Ts.
Corse.T.ny corsets are $44 and available now in just a few boutiques. The Lali Boutique on the Lower East Side carries the line in NYC. Online shopping soon, please?
From WWD (subscription). Thanks B, from YRB.

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01.28.2005

Bacteria-killing aromatherapy

Pixen Inc's DAA aroma diffuser does more than scent the air with essence of Japanese cypress; it actually kills coli, staphylococcus, and other airborne bacteria. I suppose it's kind of a like a giant automatic Lysol dispenser. The DAA is intended for use in large public spaces or in hospitals. The aromatic bacteria killer comes in 30 fragrances and one can will last for about a month with 10 hours of daily usage.

Lysol does make the Neutra Air Continuous Action Air Treatment, but it doesn't seem to have the same bug killing power of regular Lysol, it just smells putr. . . uh nice. I am waiting for Lysol-powered ingestibles and wearables personally, maybe Lysol lollipops and gym clothes. Maybe microbiologist Kim will weigh in on why breathing Lysol all day, every day is not a good idea.
From Nikkei.net.

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01.27.2005

Cheesy lippy loudspeaker


I love to post about design (and shoes). Today, I thought, "Hey! why shouldn't I blog about Bad Design as well?"
So let me introduce you to the Speak-Easi Hands Free Phone Unit , a loud speaker for your cellphone (or normal phone) to make a total fool of yourself as you answer calls at the office. It features lips that synchronise with the person talking on the other end of the line. All this for just 19.99.
Via the not bad at all Mobileblog.it.

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01.27.2005

RE-think + RE-cycle competition results


Swiss designers Zumbuehl Jakob and the formsons took an old broom, sawed up its stick and recomposed it with a lighting extension to make the Roombroom that "lightens hours of labour and leisure."

Trigo (means "wheat" in spanish), by Aviv Shany, is a recycled speaker made of dry bread and recycled garlic net (reminds me of the Paneluce).
That's just two of the surprising and nifty projects submitted to the MACEF design competition. Candidates were asked to design home accessories that work with the concept of RE-cycling (water, energy, metal, plastics, paper, glass, etc.). Check the results.

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01.26.2005

Project Implicit - Do you have a gender-science bias?

If you're on anyone's email forward list, you've probably taken or at least seen one of the Implicit Association tests that measures your implicit, or sub-conscious level of bias towards certain groups of people. These tests work by timing the speed at which you can associate "good" (beauty, hope, joy, etc..) or "bad" (hideous, terror, beast) words with descriptive terms like "female" or "young". If it takes you longer to associate "beauty" with "old" than with "young" then it ups your bias score. Of course, this whole methodology is very controversial, as many of the people who score high on implicit bias have no explicit bias and find it hard to believe that they possibly have some hidden stores of prejudice. While many have argued that the tests prove nothing, and are merely exercises in quick hand-eye coordination, the researchers have found that the tests are predictive in how high bias scorers behave in real-life situations. For instance, when given a choice to work with a white or black partner, high bias scorers were much more likely to choose the white partner.

Interestingly, this study was started at Harvard University, home of Lawrence Summers, the beleaguered foot-in-mouth president, who unintentionally started a campaign against gender/science bias when he suggested that women may have genetic disadvantages which prevent them from competing with men at the highest levels in the hard sciences. One of the IAT tests checks to see if you associate males with science and females with fields in liberal arts. I took the online IAT last night. Knowing that people overwhelmingly end up being surprised by how their bias scores are, I was prepared to be ashamed. My score: You have completed the Gender-Science IAT. The line immediately below summarizes the results of your task performance. Your data suggest little or no association between science and Male relative to Female

Before I congratulate myself, it's been shown that people can affect their scores by actively gearing up to fight a high-bias score by flooding their heads with thoughts that they wish to be reflected in their scores. Might I have done that? Of course. I didn't think too much before taking the old vs. young IAT and I showed a strong bias against old. I was horrified but what does it all mean? Is it just a sub-conscious awareness of a larger societal bias or something more? Was Dr. Summers expressing something that many of us believe but don't want to admit?
From the Washington Post, which has a version of the test as well.

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01.26.2005

Power tools for women

Recognizing the growing market of women do-it-herselfers, companies like Home Depot have been offering educational seminars targeted towards women, and while Lowes doesn't offer speicific DIY clinics for women they say about 66 percent of women customers own power drills.

There are now at least two lines of women's hand and power tools designed for this growing market. Babara K designed a line of hand and power tools specifically for women based on her experience as a construction worker. The major design differences, mentioned on her website, include:

-The tools weigh a little less.

-The grips are sized to better fit a woman's hand.

-Patented spring-loaded handles on pliers.

-Built-in thumb rests on screwdrivers.

-Screwdrivers and hammers have induction-heated tips and faces for extra hardness.

Tomboy Tools, offers a line of specially selected tools that they sell online and through "tool parties" where consultants called "Tomboys" conduct in-home demonstrations to teach women techniques for basic home repairs from leaky faucets to plaster repair.

According to their website Tomboy Tools "was founded to provide tools and home improvement techniques for women." They proudly flaunt their "no pink tools" logo on the site to emphasize that providing tools for women means more than offering it in pink. They claim that this is a mistake that most hardware companies make when trying to market to women.

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01.26.2005

Name-off privacy tool

The Name-off (subscription required) looks just like a stapler, but it's actually a tool for preventing identity theft and protecting privacy. The name-off punches seven tiny holes across sensitive information in documents like account numbers and the discarded bits are so small they don't contain any usable information. Because document shredders are usually large and bulky, they're not often used at home, so this could do well as a personal privacy tool.
Name-off is manufactured by Inf. Design office in Japan and no word on when they will reach the rest of the world.
From Nikkei.net.

Posted by Mia    Category: devices | home
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01.24.2005

Popgadget is a Bloggies award finalist

What a shock! - popgadget is a finalist for a 2005 Bloggies award, in the category of "best group weblog." Thanks a million to everyone who nominated us (awards are given by public voting). It's a truly surreal experience to be in the same company with the amazing boingboing, which is also a finalist in the "weblog of the year" category. Boingboing won in both of these categories last year.
Congratulations to our own Regine, whose nearnearfuture is a finalist in two separate categories, "best european weblog" and "best computers or technology weblog," and to our friends at TreeHugger, a finalist in the "best topical weblog" category.
Now it's time to cast your votes among the finalists in each category. Though we were totally taken by surprise in being nominated and finding ourselves on the list of finalists, now that we're there, we'd love to have your votes. Voting closes on Sunday, January 31st at 10:00 PM EST.
Up
DATE:

Because the Bloggies site was periodically down due to heavy traffic, voting has been extended until February 3, 10:00 PM EST. One more plug here for nearnearfuture, definitely the best European and tech blog. Also wishing best of luck to Bibi's Box, a finalist in the Best Latin American Blog category. Thank you! - Mia

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01.24.2005

Painful Japanese makeup lesson


Apparently, surgical alteration of the eyelids is the most popular type of plastic surgery in Japan. Beauty shops cater to those afraid of the scalpel with products like Eye Talk, an eyelid glue that comes with the necessary accessories.
Have a look at the video to see how to style your look. Ouch!
Via Octopusdropkick.

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01.24.2005

iRiver H10


Last week Korean manufacturer Reigncom launched its new MP3 player the iRiver H10. Reigncom,Aeos newest player is without a doubt a close competitor to Apple,Aeos iPod mini. The iRiver H10 is a 5GB hard drive disk player that also allows you to read eBooks and see pictures on its 1.5 inch colored screen while you are listening to music. It weighs 100 grams and is about the size of a business card case. The iRiver H10 was described as an outstanding product by Bill Gates ,AeP and works with Windows Media Player 10. It is available at the iRiver estore for $279.99.

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01.24.2005

New iPod mini and 5G iPod

Think Secret is reporting about an updated version of the iPod mini, which will feature a 5GB hard drive and new colors (and of course I am more excited about the new colors than about the bigger hard drive). The article also talks about Apple's 5th generation iPod that could have an 80 GB Toshiba hard drive and change its color from white to a sleek silver look, similar to that of the PowerBook.

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01.24.2005

Yoshida iPod cases

Yoshida, the Japanese company that makes the Porter bags that are more expensive than the devices they're made to hold has released a series of customized iPod cases designed by celebrity designers and artists. My favorite is this whimsical little critter design by Genevieve Gauckler. At about $228, it's still a few dollars less than a 20 GB iPod.
Colette (turn the volume down, LOUD Flash warning) is carrying the collection, which currently features Parisian artists.

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01.23.2005

Design ideas for city dwellers


I've just discovered a new Milan-based design company called NotCom which has loads of ideas to make urbanites' lives easier.
They have a 2 dogs leash that comes with a nifty pocket to store plastic bags, keys and wallets, T-shirts for cyclists with patterns to indicate which way you're going to turn while zigzagging in the traffic and tees with special shoulder padding for those who wear shoulder bags.
Hope they'll translate their website into English...

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01.21.2005

The scrolling frying pan


Sam Hextall's Scroll Pan project has just received an honorable mention at the Kitchen is the heart of the home competition. This frying pan folds and rolls to solve tiny kitchen storage problems.
Different shapes and sizes as well as cooking surfaces would be available in the range and each pan comes with a storage sleeve which can be hung up. The rolling base of the pan could be made in diphenyl silicone (plasma treated and Teflon coated) to offer a heatproof and flexible surface.

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01.21.2005

Self-cleaning clothes


A new coating developed by scientists in South Carolina could give us self-cleaning jackets and skirts.
"The concept is based on the lotus plant, whose leaves are well-known for their ability to 'self-clean' by repelling water and dirt," explains researcher Phil Brown.
When the treated fabric is exposed to water, "the dirt will be carried away more easily," Brown adds. Unlike today's water-repellent coatings, which gradually wear off, this one permanently bonds to fibers. Brown's team is also trying to engineer antimicrobial particles into the coating to repel body odor and cigarette smoke.
Other researchers are working on self-cleaning clothes using sunlight. Walid Daoud of Hong Kong Polytechnic University is impregnating fabrics with titanium dioxide nanoparticles, which react with natural light to break down dirt.
Others are developing odor-fighting fabrics. Two researchers at Hanyang University in South Korea have tested silver nanoparticles in socks, rugs, napkins and surgical masks.

Using Chinese and Korean technology, JR Nanotech in London has developed "SoleFresh" socks that contain silver nanoparticles to fight foot odor.
Via ABC News.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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?

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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01.16.2005

Robotic rocker for babies


Last September came the news, that a graduate student had developed a caring cot that acts as a nanny, checking the temperature and rocking when baby starts to cry. Unfortunately, it was one of those fab prototypes that never land on the market.
But from May this year, Dream Technology in the UK will commercialise the Robopax BabySitter, an electromechanical plastic platform that moves back and forth a few centimetres on hidden wheels. It stands on the floor, waiting for a pram, buggy (stroller) or baby's car seat to be placed on top. Robopax BabySitter then reciprocates at about 66 rocks per minute, in time with a resting heartbeat and the speed at which parents instinctively rock their child.
Via New Scientist.
And, yes, it probably also works for the Pet Stroller.

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01.15.2005

The Gizmondo

I can,Aeot wait until both the PSP and the Nintendo DS are released in Europe. I enjoy playing games on handheld consoles the most, mainly because I don,Aeot even need to sit on the couch to play, I can just keep comfortably lying on one. Though, as excited as I am about the two new handheld devices that are about to hit the European market this spring, I can,Aeot say I feel the same way about the Gizmondo, one of the latest entries in the handheld game console market. Maybe it,Aeos because of the not so appealing name, or because of its design that reminds me too much of an ugly version of the Game Boy Advance, or maybe it,Aeos because of its quite expensive price: $399.
The Gizmondo is not just a game console, but a ,AeuSwiss Army Knife among handheld consoles,Aeu (CNET article); meaning that besides being able to play games on it, you will also be able to send text messages and emails, take pictures and play videos. Despite my skepticism, Gizmondo already has agreements with some of the major game publishers in the market like Electronic Arts, Activision, Sega, and Microsoft, and will have 12 titles available at launch.
Via Portagame

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01.14.2005

Scratch and Sniff pants


The Scratch and Sniff panties come in three flavours: the one to seduce the "Handy Man" smells like cedar; the one that smells like BBQ is for the "BBQ Guy" (who else?) and Mower Man smells like cut grass.
Mmmmh, I'm not sure I'd fancy a guy who is turned on by the perfume of grilled sausages.
Via Marta.

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01.13.2005

Hand crank radio cell-phone charger

Battery-less radios and flashlights, powered by hand cranking, have been out for a while now but Hisatomi Electric Ind. Co in Japan has put a new twist on these emergency gadgets. Their new flashlight will also power up a cell phone for about three minutes of talk time after a minute or two of twisting the crank. There are already phone chargers available which do this, like the Sidewinder, but the Hisatomi device is compact and combines the functions of several tools which could be of great use in emergencies.
From Nikkei Net.

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01.13.2005

Leapfrog pentop computer

Leapfrog, makers of the LeapPad and iQuest, will release a new type of interactive learning toy for kids in Fall 2005. The Fly Pentop Computer uses special "fly" paper for playing games, translating words, and other learning applications. The handwriting recognition will let you draw a calculator on the special paper, and the pen will audibly announce the answers when you perform a function. You could draw a piano and then play the keys. A word can be translated into various languages just by running the pen over it. There is also a journal application.
The Fly Pentop will cost about $99, but applications (Leapfrog calls it "paper software") will be available separately and run from $8 - $30. No word on how much the paper will cost.
Full press release..
The grown-up version: the expensive Logitech io Personal Digital Pen.

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01.13.2005

3D movement recognition phone

Samsung continues to roll out the impressive new mobile phone technologies, in Korea at least. The SCH-S310 uses 3D motion detection as its user interface. Tracing a number in the air will dial the number on the phone. Shaking the phone twice will hang up a call. The phone is also an mp3 player, and the motion detection will work those functions too - moving the phone sharply to the right or left will take you to the next or previous music track. Since it's being released in Korea, the phone will have a 1.3 mp camera, mobile banking features, GPS, and music-on-demand.
The next versions of the 3D motion phone will have even more advanced features such as games controlled by movement of the phone instead of a joystick, and automatic adjustment of photos taken with a shaky hand.
Available in March in Korea, elsewhere unknown.
From picturephoning. Full press release.

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01.12.2005

Guardian Angel bags


Dutch designers Hein van Dam and Carolien Vlieger are behind the designs of handbags showing the outline of a gun, a crucifix or a knife. Developed in response to media reports of growing fear of crime in their home city of Rotterdam, the "Guardian Angel" bags are being sold to women to protect them from robbers.

Their collection also includes laptop-bags with 3D patterns of milk and fruits because "Robbers love your laptop, but they hate milk and fruits".

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01.12.2005

The chew and type kit


Apparently many of us eat lunch in the company of our PCs and staplers. Not only does the phenomenon have a name - "workers,Aeo desktop dining" - it has also given way to the designing of dedicated utensils.
Vessel,Aeos Workplace Dish Set wraps up neatly in a desktop-size placemat made to fit in front of a keyboard. This plastic kit packs a personal workplace place-setting, including a plate, bowl, cup, and utensils. Can be stored flat or upright. $39.

(via iconoculture)

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01.11.2005

Pictures from the zoo (more CES)

Motorola's snow boarding event, to demonstrate I don't know what.

Microsoft's Connected Home presentation which featured Star Search-style dramatic vignettes about refrigerators talking to televisions and garage openers.

Cheapo but cute bendy space man radios from GPX.

Mouse pads from Hong Kong with silicone breast wrist rests.

One of about a million vendors showing projection displays.

TV/DVD players for kids from Changhong.

Fake fur mobile bags from Golla.

Obviously not a part of CES (there is nothing edible in the Convention Center, bring lots of quarters for vending machines), but here is the patisserie in "Paris" near the Eiffel Tower. I think we must have been used to not eating by then because we gawked but we didn't even buy one pastry.

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01.11.2005

Samsung's speech-to-text and text-to-speech phones

Just last week Samsung announced a speech-to-text phone for the Korean market and somewhat miraculously, the same technology will be available in the US in the next couple of months.

The Samsung SGH-P207 is a tri-band EDGE phone with MPEG4 video recording and voice recognition capabilities that let you text message through dictation. When I talked to some Samsung reps at CES, they told me that like in the Korean models, there would be a version that only worked with canned messages (QuickPhrase) but the SGH-P207 has a dictionary of 50,000 recognizable words. When I asked for a demo, they demurred, telling me that the noise levels in the convention center would make voice recognition impossible. It was of course, a complete circus so this makes sense, but if a little noise renders this useless then I guess I'll be driving with my elbows while I text for a little while longer while they work this out. Kidding, I always try to keep one pinkie on the wheel!

The Samsung ACH-720 does the opposite: it turns text to speech. Again, no demo, but try this one out from AT&T Labs Research to get a feel for the type of messages you might be sending out when you use something like this: TTS Multi-Lingual Demo. Audrey, the female voice from the UK sounds almost human, but the others are pretty funny. And yes I just spent half an hour having this thing say lewd things to me in a variety of accents. Very fun.
Both phones are due out on the Cingular network in early '05. Samsung holds the patents so this type of technology won't be available anywhere else for at least the next year.

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01.10.2005

Don't Blame Me...

If you won't be dancing the night away in black tie and boots on January 20, this fashion statement is for you. The black wristbands - made by the same people who manufactured the Livestrong bracelets - say "I Did Not Vote 4 Bush" and are just the thing to wear for an afternoon of protesting or for a casual night on the town. You can buy a set of 10 for $24.99 (or bid to get them at a lower price) at ididnotvote4bush.com. The seller promises that a portion of the proceeds will go to progressive causes. He seems like a nice fellow so we believe him.

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01.10.2005

The anti-dust nose ointment


Japanese company Fumakilla is selling the House Dust Block , an alternative to face surgeon-like masks. Just rub the ointment inside your nose and it will form a protective membrane that prevents dust from entering while allowing you to breath.
Once again: thank you Japan!
Via Japan Today.

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01.10.2005

More women at CES

Their shirts read, "MOUNT ME". This little PR campaign was so successful I had no idea what their product was even after watching 50 guys walk up in the span of 5 minutes to grab at these women. Not surprisingly, not a one asked them what they were pitching.

Overheard between photo opps: "I'm beating the hell out of the next nerd who tries to grab my ass".

Of course there was the grand showcase for Technology is a Girl's Best Friend. Yes, that's the entire thing.

It was a small display, but obviously an integral and important part of CES: look at how much precision and care was taken to place the Rosen A10 All-In-One entertainment center just so. Rosen Entertainment, incidentally, seems to care a lot about how they market their products to women (80% of the buying decisions, people).

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01. 9.2005

T-string update

Last December Mia reported on the coolness of the T-STRINGS mobile phone holder , and they've just gotten a whole lot cooler.
According to the the folks at T-STRING, 200 people wore them in the NY Marathon, providing

the makers with information to help make them even better. They went on to explain that the T-STRING, which is patented worldwide, "is truly engineered" and is the product of a delicate balance of not being too wide (uncomfortable) nor too narrow (unstable). They were invented by Wouter Francois and Carlo Bakker in Holland.

T-STRING promises to add new designs every month to their current line which includes campy styles like faux rabbit fur and faux leopard, as well as denim, twill, and black leather.
The T-STRING is also available wholesale and can be custom printed with a corporate logo from promotional products distributors like www.CustomPrintedEverything.com.
The T-STRING retails for $9.99 and consumers can purchase them at www.t-string.com.

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01. 8.2005

One should never go camping without an Arukeru Nebukuro


Always trust Japanese mail-order magazines to bring solutions to life's most crucial problems. The Arukeru Nebukuro ("sleeping bag you can walk in") has legs so that, according to the manufacturer, "you can get up and run away should you be attacked by a bear in the middle of the night".
Via dottocomu.

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01. 7.2005

Sensory overload at CES

We did a marathon day at CES yesterday, hitting hundreds of showroom booths in 8 hours. To be honest, I ran through the entire hall of auto-related exhibits in about 4 minutes, the amount of time it took me to find the exit door. The greatest challenges of being at CES: bad food, nowhere to sit to rest sore feet except the floor (unless you want a foot massage, which I witnessed outside one of the showrooms -- yuck, do the rest of us have to see that?), long taxicab lines, navigational chaos through multiple buildings and tents, and total sensory overload. Yes, there are 120,000 people at this show, but I have to ask the question - is bigger necessarily better? The guidebook to the show is the size of a telephone directory. Even some of the exhibitors looked too stunned to speak. Or maybe they were just hungry.
One odd thing given the rock concert atmosphere - no lines to get into the women's restrooms.
Mia is back tomorrow with her favorite gadgets and overheard conversations from the show.

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01. 7.2005

More than just "shoes"


Four days without posting anything about shoes. I thought I'd resist till next week, but a friend of mine informed me of the existence of the, mmmh, not extremely stylish soccer high-heels (via Shoewawa). I can't afford them anyway, Christmas flattened my purse so I might have to resort to DIY tactics to get trendy shoes.
So here I go again blogging about shoes.

British designer Rosemary Wallin created the KitShoe, the ,Aeouniversal shoe for all occasions,Aeo that come with interchangeable heels. Originally, they were made ,Aeoto add an element of fun,Aeo to a fashion show at the Royal College of Art in London. But they met so much success that her company, Kit Ltd, has been granted -#90,000 to develop its flexible manufactured uppers and its interchangeable-heel system.
By clicking the appropriate heel into place, a single pair of stylish, comfortable shoes can be adapted for eveningwear, walking, driving or work. (Via CultureLab)

North Sydney UTS student Sophie Cox has imagined something similar with Convertibles, the adjustable high heels for women. The simple twist/snap lock mechanism allows you to interchange heels in different sized heights. (Via gizmo)
Related post: the green adjustable shoes.

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01. 7.2005

Walk-through projection screen


Fogscreen is a screen of dry fog made from pure tap water with no chemicals. It can be projected onto, touched, and walked through. It even allows you to write and draw in the air.
"There,Aeos still slight condensation, which means that the unit emits a few drops of water. We,Aeore also improving the smoothness of the FogScreen, and adding to its control possibilities," explains Mika Herpi/d, CEO of the Finnish company.
Could be handy for my next PowerPoint presentation.
Video.
Via Physorg.

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01. 6.2005

Tsunami Wristband


Crafts'N'Scraps has added to its collection of flexible silicone jelly wristbands the Courage and the Strength Wristbands For Tsunami Relief. Each band reads "Strength" or "Courage" and 50% of the sale goes to tsunami relief efforts via Save The Children.

$3.50 each.
Via PSFK.

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01. 6.2005

BTVS Cell Phone Game


For all of you loyal Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans out there, if you haven,Aeot purchased one of those nice cell phones with colored screens yet, now there is a good reason to. Indiagames, an Indian mobile development studio specializing in developing games based on popular American films like Spider-Man and Predator, has developed a game based on the popular TV series BTVS. According to gamespot,Aeos preview of the game (appeared in October 2004) and on IGN review of it, the BTVS mobile game looks quite promising, both from a game performance and from a gameplay point of view.
In the game, Oz has been kidnapped by Drusilla and is being kept hostage in a mansion. Buffy has to free Oz by fighting her way through the five different levels of the mansion and killing all sorts of monsters.
Via WHEDONesque

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01. 6.2005

Interactive Skirts (part II)

I started the day with a post on interactive skirts and felt I could write some more about them.
HearWear, by Younghui Kim and Milena Iossifova, is a skirt that turns the urban noise into colourful light patterns. A sound recognition module is driven by a micro-controller to perceive and qualify varying characteristics of noise patterns. The microcontroller is programmed to activate a number of LEDs and electroluminescent wire.

A couple of years before, Fionnuala Conway and Katherine Moriwaki created something similar: the three Urban Chameleon reactive skirts influence and change perceptions of one's surroundings. "Touch" changes visual properties upon contact. "Speak" reacts to urban noise, and "Breathe" visualizes pollution and urban exhaust as it travels through the garment.
Via Kaki.

Francesca Rosella and Ryan Genz at CuteCircuits have developed the KineticDress that changes pattern with the wearer's moves. If you stand still, the dress is just black, when you move the garment slowly lights up with a blue-circles pattern that creates a magic halo. The Skirteleon is made from a laminated fabric that changes color "on-demand". It is blue in the morning when the wearer is working, then shows a pattern with animal characters when the wearer is with friends for an drink, and in the evening it displays a Japanese pattern.

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01. 6.2005

Samsung Speech-To-Text Phones

Samsung has just announced two new mobile phones that can convert spoken words into text messages. The speech-to-text is called VoiceMode and works alongside something called QuickPhrase which lets you send pre-programmed messages like "I'm running late" just by speaking the words (I'm assuming the process needs no manual input at all, to differentiate it from VoiceMode).
These phones look as big as models with full alpha keyboards, but judging from the size of the screens probably have impressive camera/video capabilities. And you can text while driving without being a menace on the highway.
I hope Samsung brought these to CES; I'd like to see how accurate the voice recognition is.
From Yahoo.

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01. 6.2005

Interactive Skirts


Out of the Closet, created by NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program student Sonali Sridhar, is a pair of skirts that use radio frequency detection to mimic each other's colors when in close proximity.
A wears her outfit that displays the colours that have been initialized. As A gets nearer to B, a radio frequency sensor picks up the signal and pulses the skirts that start interacting. They recognize the intitial colors, mix them and display the shared color on both outfits.
Reminds us of the Courtly Bags and Love Jackets of Despina Papadopoulos
Via Core77.

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01. 6.2005

Women at CES

After an arduous 18-hour trip (almost arrested for forgetting to leave my pepper spray in the car and bringing it into Dulles Airport. After an hour of "processing" during which I believe I was entered into the international terrorist database, I discovered my Treo was missing and was egged on by some airline workers to get back on the shuttle bus to retrieve my phone even though the flight was leaving in 10 minutes. Honestly I've never seen more enthusiastic people in my life; they were cheering, they were crying, it was like the last scene in a movie where Hugh Grant is trying to stop Julia Roberts from getting on a plane because if she takes off, he will never be able to contact her again as she apparently has no postal service, telephone, or email. How could I let them all down? So I ran back to look for my phone. I didn't find it. And we missed our flight. We got a flight through Denver but had to spend about 6 hours in CO, hoping that we'd get on a flight on standby, and praying that the snow and fog wouldn't close the airport. It takes less time to get to Tokyo) we're in Las Vegas for CES. It's going to be a quick trip, we're only here through tomorrow morning (the conference goes on through the 8th), but eager to see what new products are introduced.
Ryan Block at Engadget has a detailed account of Bill Gates's keynote address last night at the Hilton Theater (soon to be the Manilow Theater) if you want a blow-by-blow. Instead of a speech, Conan O'Brien was on hand to interview Gates Late Night-style, making the event immeasurably more entertaining, as Conan almost worked up a sweat trying to get a laugh out of the ever-laconic Gates. It looks like "convergence" is about to become a hated buzz word again, since Microsoft is eager to bring television to the PC, mobile phone, and the, um, television. This time in High Def. After explaining how easy it would be to make the operating system Media Center 2005 control all your audio/video devices, there were three big tech glitches in the product demos, including a blue screen of death. Oops.
Conan noticed something that I noticed too.

There aren't a whole lot of women here. Conan said the theme of this year's CES was "gadgets aren't just for geeks.... they're for nerds and dweebs too." He also said it was the whitest crowd he'd ever seen and joked that CES was definitely not a "magnet for the ladies". Alright so this picture proves absolutely nothing but we did a random sample of 5 rows in the theater, and averaged that there were 5 women per row of 33 people. That's 15%. Just eyeballing the crowd, that seems overly generous, actually. I don't think it's CEA not making an effort as Carly Fiorina of HP and Judy McGrath of MTV are both giving keynotes, but it's distressing to see. But after last year's CES conference session on women and technology which made much of the study showing that women actually spend more on electronics than men, there is no such content addressing this issue this year other than the "Gadgets are a Girl's Best Friend" exhibit which includes a low-end camera with a vanity mirror. Lovely, that's all we need, megapixels, what's that, giggle.
Lots of products and pictures coming later today.

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01. 5.2005

iMac Fake Nails


You have to be slightly out of your mind for wearing such fake nails, but apparently they are a hit in Japan.

Available in green, pink, yellow, etc.
Via Marta.

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01. 4.2005

Keyboards


I remember seeing one of these wooden keyboards on a Will & Grace episode; that was a couple of seasons ago, therefore I assume that SWEDX wooden computer products have been around for a while now. So, if you already know about the wooden keyboard, mouse and monitor, then maybe you would be interested in checking out the Auravision EluminX Illuminated Keyboard.

It has internal lighting which allows you to type in the dark. Now if it,Aeos also super quiet then it,Aeos the perfect keyboard for those of you who share a studio apartment with a late night computer user.

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01. 4.2005

Tsunami Relief Ringtones


ZapToPhone is selling ,AeuTsunami Aid Ringtones,Aeu and the proceeds will be donated to UNICEF,Aeos tsunami relief effort. The ringtones consist of the affected countries national anthems and the donation amounts vary with each country, reaching a maximum of $9 for the Indonesian National Anthem ringtone, the country that was hit worst by the tsunami.
Via Emily.

Image from NYTimes

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01. 3.2005

What time is it??!?!??!!

If I would own the EG, a ,Aeufuturistic,Aeu wristwatch by EleeNo, I would first need a lot of time to be able to answer this simple question, then I would need some more time and finally I would probably still give you the wrong time. Trying to read the time on this watch is like solving a Rubik,Aeos cube!

The EG, available at TokyoFlash for $71.42, uses graphic patterns to tell the time. To better understand how the graphic patterns work, take a look at the picture at the end of the product description ,AeP I am still looking. Maybe I should start trying to figure out the PIMP series first.
Via Gadgets99

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01. 3.2005

Airport-friendly Flip Flop Socks


In this era of tightened airport security, there's a growing trend among companies of proposing new products -- such as bras and shoes -- designed to let passengers pass smoothly through the checkpoints.
Cloudyreason's "Flip Flop Socks" are one of those "airport-friendly" --though not very stylish-- items. They offer warm feet and the potential for a smooth trip through airport checkpoints.
I'm not proud to write this but I'd rather miss the plane than wear those FFS.
Via dexigner.

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