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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Mini Monocular

Small and lightweight, Mini Monocular is easy to carry anywhere in a shirt pocket and use unobtrusively. Powerful 8 x 20 fully coated optics. Convenient rubber eyepiece folds up or down for use with or without glasses. Comes with a neck strap, and a soft carrying pouch.
Dim: 3” x 1 ½” x 1” (75 x 35 x 25mm).
Weight : 1.8 oz (50g)

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Authentic 1950s Nixie Tube Clock

The same technology developed in 1952 for use in submarines, early mainframe computers, and the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, the now-extremely-rare Nixie tube has been resurrected for use in this handmade clock that shows the date and time. The warm glow created by the tubes was eventually supplanted in the 1970s by todays LCD screens, but the tubes remain prized by collectors and historians.

When filled with neon and other gasses, then charged with an electric current, the Nixie (adapted from Numerical Indicator Experimental) displays digits using a thin metal mesh and ten electrodes. The six tubes are attached to a stainless steel base and can be displayed in either 12 or 24-hour mode, which is accurate to within .0003 seconds per minute.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Portable DVD Player

This compact monitor delivers a sharp, clear picture. Its ABS plastic case is sheathed in a protective rubber frame that allows a sure grip and cushions the 4 1/5" screen from drops, jostling, and other rigors of automobile or air travel.

It also has a padded nylon carrying case with shoulder strap and DVD storage sleeves. The DVD player operates for 2 1/2 hours on a full charge of its battery pack, and can be connected to a television via included AV cables for use as a traditional DVD player. Also capable of playing CDs, CD-Rs, CD-RWs, and MP3s, the unit comes with an AC adapter, and a car power port adapter.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Wi-Fi Detector

Found over at ThinkGeek it's a wi-fi detector.

Your typical WiFi detector will only show the presence of a signal and relative signal strength. This Wi-Fi Digital Hotspotter, from Canary Wireless, has a 12-character LCD that provides information on signal availability and strength as well as essential network information, including SSID, security status and channel. When multiple networks are present the LCD will allow you to scroll through information for each network.

Read more about the wi-fi digital hotspotter at thinkgeek.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Do cell phones interfere with medical equipment

In the current issue of Mayo Proceedings there's an article on do cell phones interfere and how often does it happen. The simple answer is yes, they can interfere. Current telephones have to be closer to the equipment than they used to be, but continuing studies should be done to make sure in the future.

Read the abstract by clicking on Read more.

Published in the current issue of Mayo Proceedings:

OBJECTIVE: To assess the potential electromagnetic interference (EMI) effects that new or current-generation cellular telephones have on medical devices.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: For this study, performed at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn, between March 9, 2004, and April 24, 2004, we tested 16 different medical devices with 6 cellular telephones to assess the potential for EMI. Two of the medical devices were tested with both new and old interface modules. The 6 cellular telephones chosen represent the different cellular technology protocols in use: Code Division Multiple Access (2 models), Global System for Mobile communications, Integrated Digital Enhanced Network, Time Division Multiple Access, and analog. The cellular telephones were tested when operating at or near their maximum power output. The medical devices, connected to clinical simulators during testing, were monitored by observing the device displays and alarms.

RESULTS: Of 510 tests performed, the incidence of clinically important interference was 1.2%; EMI was induced in 108 tests (21.2%). Interference occurred in 7 (44%) of the 16 devices tested.

CONCLUSIONS: Cellular telephones can interfere with medical equipment. Technology changes in both cellular telephones and medical equipment may continue to mitigate or may worsen clinically relevant interference. Compared with cellular telephones tested in previous studies, those currently in use must be closer to medical devices before any interference is noticed. However, periodic testing of cellular telephones to determine their effects on medical equipment will be required.

Mayo Clin Proc. 2005;80(10):1286-1290

Monday, November 21, 2005

Japanese spacecraft fails to land on asteroid

A glitch in communciations left the Hayabusa out of contact for four hours after approaching to within 17 meters from the Itokawa asteroid. It then drifted off to 100 km away from the asteroid.

Hayabusa was launched in May 2003 with a budget of 12.7 billion yen (just over 100 million dollars) and is scheduled to return to Earth in June 2007.

The spacecraft will try again to touch down on the asteroid on Friday as scheduled.

The spacecraft was also meant to leave an aluminum plate bearing the names of 880,000 people from 149 countries, among them US filmmaker Steven Spielberg and British science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke, on the asteroid.

Read more about the asteroid landing at physorg.com

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Hopefully they don't melt

First seen over at expired foods, glowing ice cubes. I imagine you could stick them in the fridge for a while first, and they'll cool your drink down, too. Matching glowing stirrers complement them nicely. Just in case you want to be the life of the after dark party.

Friday, November 18, 2005

LEGO Mindstorms Robotics Invention System 2.0

LEGO Mindstorms Robotics Invention System 2.0. Now you can create programmable robots that navigate obstacles, follow trails, or react to changes in light detected by its sensors. No programming experience is necessary; LEGO's intuitive software helps you along the way.

The CD-ROM includes a series of "missions" for basic training on using the RCX and working with RCX code. Each set of missions centers on a particular action or set of actions that a robot can perform. The missions start with just getting the robot to roll across the floor, but quickly increase in complexity. Ultimately they require incorporating the sensors and having the robot respond autonomously to environmental conditions such as a wall or the edge of a table. The missions are structured to give hints and tips along the way, and through these construct/program/test sequences, the user becomes familiar with robotic logic and design.

The MindStorms system has been used to create alarm devices that sense when someone passes through a doorway; coin-sorters that distinguish coins by detecting their diameter, a candy dispenser that dishes up sweets according to simple bar codes, and a wandering robot that takes pictures with an onboard camera. The devices are intelligent enough to follow paths (via markings on the floor), and move around obstacles.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Wattage Micro Flyer RC Electric Airplane

With a wing span of only 9 inches and a elliptically curved polyhedral and molded-in airfoil this tiny plane has incredible maneuverability. The two-channel radio transmitter controls the rudder movement, throttle, and also doubles as a battery charger. The Micro Flyer flies for over 6 minutes on a single charge. Fly this Micro Flyer indoors, outdoors anywhere you can think of with a length of 8.2 inches, and a weight of only about 1 ounce (29 grams) this amazing, real radio control aircraft will bring you hours of fun flying.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Developing Whiskers

Researchers from Italy, Germany and Switzerland developed a 'feeling' robot by developing a new sensor modelled on hypersensitive mouse whiskers. These AMouse researchers developed a large series of different sensors based on a wide variety of 'whisker' types. These new sensors were then added to mainly standard Khepera research robots.

This not only gave the researchers insight into how mouse whiskers do their job, it also enabled them to develop prototypes that can be used to distinguish between different textures or an object.

Read more about touchy-feely robots at physorg.com

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Power Pod

For most people on the go, one adapter for their cell phones is not enough. And it's not always convenient to find an AC outlet. Now there's the Power Pod a 4-way cell phone charger with adapters.

Choose to power your phone by AC outlet, USB, 9-volt battery or car adapter. It also comes with adapters to fit Nokia, Motorola, Samsung, LG and Kyocera phones. Its retractable cord makes storage easy, but best of all, you'll always have a way to power your cell phone.

You can find the power pod at firststreet.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Patent issued for anti-gravity device

The U.S. patent office has reportedly granted a patent for an anti-gravity device -- breaking its rule to reject inventions that defy the laws of physics.

The journal Nature said patent 6,960,975 was granted Nov. 1 to Boris Volfson of Huntington, Ind., for a space vehicle propelled by a superconducting shield that alters the curvature of space-time outside the craft in a way that counteracts gravity.

"If you design an anti-gravity machine, you've got a perpetual-motion machine," Robert Park of the American Physical Society told Nature.

Park said the action shows patent examiners are being duped by false science.

I found this story at physorg.com.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Alternative fuels for cars

The Hydrogen car Engineuity is working on will use metals such as Magnesium or Aluminum which will come in the form of a long coil. The gas tank in conventional vehicles will be replaced by a device called a Metal-Steam combustor that will separate Hydrogen out of heated water.

The basic idea behind the technology is relatively simple: the tip of the metal coil is inserted into the Metal-Steam combustor together with water where it will be heated to very high temperatures. The metal atoms will bond to the Oxygen from the water, creating metal oxide. As a result, the Hydrogen molecules are free, and will be sent into the engine alongside the steam.

The solid waste product of the process, in the form of metal oxide, will later be collected in the fuel station and recycled for further use by the metal industry.

Read more about it at physorg.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

A nanocar

According to Professor Tour this development is a watershed in so far as constructing successfully a nanocar represents the first step toward molecular manufacturing. Professor Tour avers: “It’s the beginning of learning how to manipulate things at the nanolevel in nonbiological systems.”

The nanocar consists of a chassis and axles made of well-defined organic groups with pivoting suspension and freely rotating axles. The wheels are buckyballs, spheres of pure carbon containing 60 atoms apiece. The entire car measures just 3-4 nanometers across, making it slightly wider than a strand of DNA. A human hair, by comparison, is about 80,000 nanometers in diameter.

Read all about it at physorg.

Friday, November 11, 2005

911 Guardian Phone

911 Guardian PhoneThe 911 Guardian Phone is a simple, more direct solution when you need help. Requiring no monthly subscriptions, or service fees, you can talk directly to the emergency operator, instead of a call center. Its water-resistant pendant can be comfortably worn around your neck with the included lanyard, or carried in your pocket at all times.

Clicking on the picture will take you to firststreet.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Breakthrough in efficiency of organic or flexible solar cells

Traditional silicon solar panels are heavy and bulky and convert about 20 percent of the light that hits them to useful electrical power. For years, researchers have worked to create flexible, or "conformal," organic solar cells that can be wrapped around surfaces, rolled up or even painted onto structures, but the best scientists have been able to do is about 3 percent efficiency, until now.

Researchers at Wake Forest, with the help of researchers at New Mexico State University, have achieved an efficiency rate for organic solar cells of almost 6 percent. In order to be considered a viable technology, the solar cells must be able to convert about 10 percent of the energy in sunlight to electricity. Wake Forest researchers hope to reach 10 percent by October 2006, said David Carroll, director of the nanotechnology center at Wake Forest.

A test system at Wake Forest's nanotechnology center was used to simulate the sun, Carroll said, and the simulated spectrum was precisely measured and shot onto the organic solar cell, which appeared as a thin coat of paint. Devices at the center have registered almost 6 percent efficiency.

This breakthrough was announced in October at the Santa Fe Workshop on Nanoengineered Materials and Macro-Molecular Technologies, which was sponsored by Wake Forest's nanotechnology center.

I first saw this at earthsentinel but the story appears over at physorg.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The Fisher Space Pen

The Fisher Space Pen claims to have a shelf life of 100 years.

The cartridges of conventional ball point pens are open to permit ink to be fed to the point. The secret behind the Fisher Space Pen lies in the unique design characteristics of the ink and the high precision manufacturing tolerances of the ball point and socket. The ink is fed to the ball point by gas pressure permitting the pen to write in any position. An additional benefit of the closed design is that it keeps the pen from drying out giving the Fisher Space Pen an estimated 100 year shelf life.

You can see it here at spacepen.com. I first saw it at Ades Blog.

Solar Hummingbird Lantern

Solar Hummingbird Lantern (set of 2)
I like solar lights as it really helps to highlight any areas at night without beaming a bright light into your neighbor's house. Of course, they don't work as well (as long) in the winter, but there's only so much you can do when they get covered by snow. That's why these lanterns are nice. By putting them up on posts, you keep them up out of the snow. Makes a nice halo effect in winter. And the hummingbird patterns are a lot nicer than what you'll find at Target.

I found these lights at firststreet.

Laser with IR Remote

Not only is it a laser pointer, but if you hook in the USB receiver and you can control a presentation (next page/last page) with a click of a button. Not exactly magic, but still cool. Requires only one AAA battery and you are no longer stuck at the computer/laptop. You can roam without having someone else advancing the page for you. In other words, no more "next page, please".

You can see more at thinkgeek.com.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

USB Powered Christmas tree

Yes, that's right. You can plug into your computer at work and celebrate christmas from now until Thanksgiving when your officemates make you take it down since they're already sick of hearing christmas songs at the mall!

You can find it at thinkgeek.com. The LEDs will cycle through 6 colors, stopping on each color for about 5 seconds. Transitions through Red, Blue, Green, Purple, White and light Blue. Dimensions: 3.2" dia x 4.5" tall. USB power cord length: 40".

Monday, November 07, 2005

Detecting gravity

Scientists believe they are only months away from detecting gravity waves. And it's all due to a new breakthrough machine in measuring distances, the Anglo-German GEO600 interferometer - an instrument so sensitive it can detect an object moving one million billionth of a millimetre.

In his general theory of relativity set out in 1916, Albert Einstein proposed that bodies of mass such as stars cause distortions in the fabric of space - in a similar way to the effect of placing a ball on a piece of elasticated material.

In order to detect gravity waves, a laser beam is split into two branches that are sent down two identical 2000ft-long tubes to suspended mirrors and back again. The beams are recombined and, assuming the two arms remain exactly the same distance, cancel each other out.

But if the beams create an interference pattern when recombined, this means the length of the branches has been altered and a gravitational wave has been detected. A detection would only be accepted if picked up by more than one interferometer.

Read more about it at telegraph news.

This year's breakout toys

We have some competition so far for this year's hottest toys.

The Furby was the hot toy of the year 2004. The Macerich survey identified Barbie and The Magic of Pegasus/Princess Annika by Mattel, as the hottest toy of 2005, so far. The question becomes what will be the hottest toy of the Christmas season.

Among the potential craze gifts in the toy industry are the Doodle Bear ($11.99), by Play Along; the Nerf Big Bad Bow ($19.95), by Hasbro; and the 1:6 Scale Lincoln Navigator with - get this - built-in MP3 player ($99.99), by Fast Lane.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Nokia says smartphone market to double in 2006

Ollila said Nokia would ship more than 40 million mobiles with integrated music players this year and repeated that it expected to sell 100 million camera-phones in 2005.

He forecast that nearly three quarters of cell phones would have cameras by 2009.

Nokia announced three new models -- two new multimedia phones and one able to receive mobile TV broadcasts -- to be part of its up market N-series that includes phones with high-quality cameras and expanded music players.

Read more here.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Electrogastrogram (EGG)

A new study conducted by Dr. P. Jay Pasricha, director of the Division of Gastroenterology at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, and his 16-year-old daughter, Trisha took 16 healthy volunteers and subjected them to a lie detecting test. The different aspect of this test, was they were checking on how lie's affected a significant increase in gastric arrhythmia.

Next time you're worried someone's lying to you don't look into their eyes, listen to their stomach, instead!

You can find the press release at UTMB.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Walk, Patio and Garage Sweeper

Indoor and outdoor cleanup jobs take a fraction of the time thanks to this push sweeper that cleans 17,000' sq. per hour, without the straining, bending, or twisting of broom sweeping.

Two round polypropylene brushes rotate inwards to sweep up wet or dry leaves, dirt, stones, and cans, depositing them in a large built-in bin. Easy to push and empty, the sweeper has two 8" Diam. wheels for extra stability, and the unit clears a 20"-wide path and can be used on asphalt, concrete, paving stones, or tile. Folds to hang flat.

Virtual Golf

Virtual GolfLooking to play golf this winter? You can play right in your living room with this simulator. The software calculates where the ball is going to go based on how you hit the ball, so you can learn to slice and hook (and swear) with the best of them.

If I only had the room to swing my clubs in my living room, I'd be all set.

Easy to set up and use, it includes installation software, a USB connector; and the best selling golf title: EA SPORTS™ Tiger Woods PGA TOUR® 2004. Works with Windows XP, 2000, or 98. Not compatible with Macs.

Click on the picture to go to the Firststreet for more details.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

90 DVD Case

90 DVD CaseAre you running out of room for your DVD collection like I am? This seems like a great way to store up to 90 DVD's and their covers. And unlike the towers, it takes up a lot less space.

Clicking on the picture will take you to firststreet.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Drink Cooler

Ask and you shall receive. j anderson likes cold drinks, not hot. So here are two gadgets just for you.

The cooper cooler (pictured right) can cool off a drink (can) in 6 minutes. It takes longer if you want to cool off a bottle of wine. Comes with both a 120V household plug and a 12V car lighter plug--small 30 watt draw so it will not drain your vehicle's battery. Unfortunately, this gadget works using an ice bath, so you'll have to replace the ice fairly often.

For those of you who want to get out and away from plugs or just cool off more than one can (or bottle) at a time, there's the 6 pack cooler (pictured left). It has a nylon handle so it's easy to carry. Can store 6 cans, water bottles or even half wine bottles.

JukeMaster CD/MP3 Jukebox

JukeMasterA jukebox capable of playing cd's or MP3's. Makes an oldie into a gadget I'd like to have in my home. It has a true chrome finish, two-button song selection and song cards with flip movement. It's also a full-featured stereo with FM receiver and 20 station presets. Plays audio CDs and MP3 CDs that you burn on your PC—up to 200 songs on a single disc.

Includes a free music CD with 100 top hits from the '50s and '60s by the original artists, including Leader of the Pack, Peggy Sue, Baby I Need Your Lovin’, and I Second That Emotion.

Clicking on the photo will take you to Brookstone.