Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Fujitsu's already shown its fondness for foldable laptops and e-ink displays, so it shouldn't come as too much of a surprise that the company's now put the two together in the form of a new concept device, with a few other uncommon design touches thrown in for good measure. Dubbed the "Fab PC", the laptop apparently uses fabric for much of its construction (hence the name), which is intended to make the device more reminiscent of a traditional folio -- and no doubt prevent the dreaded problem of slippage as well. Of course, there's no indication of specs (or even any evidence that it actually works), although at the rate e-ink production is ramping up, it may not be as far off as it might seem
We love anything that comes a-packin' no muss, no fuss technology -- even more so when you can install it in a few seconds and don't need a toolkit to get the job done. Parrot's newest Bluetooth carkit, the PMK5800 consists of a single part which plugs directly into your car's 12V accessory socket or cigarette lighter. Using a built in FM transmitter (a la iTrip), the set will stream tunes via A2DP from your handset or your voice calls to your car's stereo deck to give you that auto-filling sound you love. When the phone rings, just hitting the FM preset you configure for the PMK5800 will automatically answer it and mute your music. While not an embedded kit, it packs all the goodies you would expect like DSP, echo and noise cancellation, full duplex sound, and voice recognition all in something that can go from car to car without effort. Look for these to land sometime this summer for about $120.
Is it grass? Is it concrete? No, it's Grasscrete, an environmentally sustainable alternative paving system used to create footpaths while leaving room for greenery. It will be part of Olympic Forest Park in northern Beijing, a multimillion-dollar, 680-hectare space being built for next year's Olympic Games.
Cleaning up Beijing is a big undertaking. Ted Dean, managing director of consulting firm BDA, said in an interview in the Chinese capital this week that when he moved here more than 10 years ago, one could smell roasting coal because people had coal burners in their home. Coal consumption in the city has been reduced, but cars have increased. Nonetheless, the government and private companies are trying to eke out environmental improvements. Some products in that vein--like Grasscrete and the others that follow here--were on display at China Beijing International High Tech Expo, taking place this week and next.
Saturday, May 26, 2007
Whoever is in charge of creating strange and frightening mobile phone accessories deserves a promotion. Because not only has this twisted individual come up with a futuristic-looking loudspeaker that clips onto your phone to enable hands-free chatting, but he/she has equipped the unit with a plump pair of silver lips that . . . move when your caller or callee speaks.
The Desk Lips measure 4.4 x 4.4 x 4.1, which as far as I'm concerned is about 4 inches too big to not be considered creepy, and weigh 9.6 ounces. I'm not sure how realistic the battery-powered lip movements are, but I'm still scared.Price: $35 Available From Fabstuff.net
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Outdoor lighting can often be difficult to blend into the greenery, and even harder to power, what with stringing cables or dealing with batteries. Designers Emi Fujita and Shane Kohatsu turned both problems into benefits by modeling their Corona light after a sunflower and making it solar-powered. A photovoltaic cell powers efficient LEDs in the bowl-shaped Corona, which is equally at home in a garden or a living room. Just stake it in the ground or attach it to a wall, and it'll start glowing as soon as the sun sets. It's said to not need any glues or fasteners.
As awesome as all that sounds, the Corona's only a concept/prototype at the moment, so you can't buy one just yet. It recently won an ICFF design award for Best New Designer, so there's hope for this one.
Oh boy, another bendy display we won't likely see on the market any time soon. This time it's Sony's turn to tout with this, their 2.5-inch, 160 x 120 pixel OLED display on a flexible plastic film. Better yet, this organic TFT delivers a relatively stellar 16.7 million colors compared to the 262k and 16k colors Samsung and LG.Philips, respectively, were showing off last week. That's a world's first 24-bit color depth for these types of displays. Take that Samsung. The display also measures a mere 0.3-mm thin which easily bests the hapless Korean (and Dutch) giants. The only downside (if you call it that) is the display's "greater than" 1000:1 contrast ratio compared to Samsung's 10,000:1 rating. But by now you've learned to take contrast measurements with a grain of salt, right?
Branching out from the oh-so-typical when it comes to iPod sound systems is Audio Pro, who has put together a fairly unique docking station that takes your music (and iPod) higher. The rectangular, vertical design scheme may not fit the elongated mold that has been created for these type devices, but it plays nice with your dock-connecting iPod, tunes into FM stations, and handles a duo of other auxiliary units nevertheless. The boxes don black or red color schemes, sport a removable grill to show off the trio of drivers beneath, and even includes a nifty carry handle that admittedly detracts from the overall allure while adding utility. No word on price nor availability just yet, but be sure to click through for a darker shade.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
The bowl feeds your dog/cat/baby with three separate trays, which can be programmed to open at 8-, 12-, or 24-hour intervals. That means the maximum you can leave your house for is three days, unless you somehow put enough food in each tray to last more than one day.
Our idea? Make one of these for wives to use when they go away on business trips so their husbands don't starve. No really, we're totally serious.
This one, while way up high on the geekitude, is actually very functional
well thought out. I wish there were two pockets wide enough for fat devices so I
could carry both my N800 and my Motorola Q, but I still have pockets
Thursday, May 17, 2007
We caught the nifty YBox last year when it was still just a proof-of-concept, and now the folks at Uncommon Projects are ready to unleash their televised-widgets-in-an-Altoids-tin wonder on the world -- for free. There's a catch, though: you have to show up at the upcoming Maker Faire in San Mateo, California, and build it yourself. Yahoo is sponsoring free workshops with parts for all, and all the skills you need to get one together will be taught at the 'shops. No worries if you can't make it out to San Mateo, however, as you can still get the schematics and parts list from the YBox website and build one at home, but you'll be doing a little more work -- Uncommon Project's Kent Brewster has already milled 80 Altoids tins for Maker Faire participants. Peep a vid of YBox assembly after the jump.