Hidden passageways are the sort of things kids dream of. The ability to sneak from one room to another, a place to hide from your pesky brother/sister, or a cool thing about your house your friends don’t have. Creative Home Engineering creates and installs hidden passageways, and has also designed a DIY kit for those willing to tackle the project on their own.
Imagine every type of hidden passage you’ve seen in the movies, or read about in a book, and the folks at Creative Home Engineering can make it a reality. Revolving fireplace? Check. Stairs that lift to reveal a hidden entrance? You betcha. A candlestick on the mantle as the triggering switch? Piece of cake. In fact, from looking at the movies and animations on their site, you’ll get a glimpse of how varied hidden passages can be. Fulfilling one’s childhood fantasies isn’t the only reason for a hidden passageway. Security plays a major role as thieves can’t steal what they can’t find. Technology also has it’s place with biometrics, optical scanners, and voice recognition as optional items.
Prices can range upwards of $10,000 USD, and the DIY kits start at $1,500 USD.
Concept cars are nothing new. They’re utilized by auto manufacturers to gauge public response to body-styles, used as platforms for new technology and ideas, and sadly, rarely ever see the light of day as real vehicles. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, Daimler-Chrysler has seemingly been turning more of their concepts into production vehicles than any other manufacturer.
Daimler-Chrysler released their latest concept car at the Geneva Auto Show - the 2007 Dodge Hornet. Bearing a striking resemblance to both the modern Mini Cooper and Suzuki Swift vehicles, the Hornet is designed as Dodge’s new low-cost vehicle (below the Caliber). Small enough for the European market, but big enough for the U.S., the Hornet is equipped with a supercharged 170hp engine that will zip it from 0-to-60 in approximately 6.7 seconds (firmly in Mini Cooper territory). The grille has Dodge’s trademark look, while the rest of the exterior and interior speak of European influences.
Will the Hornet make it to market? Only time will tell, but given Chrysler’s past track record there’s a good chance. Estimated sticker price will be below that of the Dodge Caliber (which lists for $13,985).
Awww, yeah! Yet another pink Motorola handset in the house! Seriously though, Motorola has made us all aware that they plan to continue releasing pink versions of their phones to cater to “girls who like to be out and about.” Now, whether that constitutes the necessity for a pink phone over tha standard black is another discussion altogether. For now, just know that it is similar to the standard SLVR: Bluetooth, iTunes, and 10.2 mm thin.
Walk by your typical window during the middle of winter (assuming you don’t live in the tropics) and you can feel the cold pouring off of it. Even multi-paned, gas filled, low-E windows are still poor thermal barriers and let in as much cold as they let heat out. To increase comfort and efficiency, Engineered Glass Products (EGP) has come out with Hot Glass. Hot Glass is a double-pane window with a transparent film that allows the inside pane to radiate heat. You can set the window to provide just enough warmth to offset any heat-loss, and put the inside of the glass at room temperature. Alternatively the controls can be configured (similar to a standard thermostat) to allow the windows to give off increased heat, helping to warm the room they’re in.
Oh, and that picture of the towel warmer? Well, it happens to be just one of the additional uses of their heated glass technology, and a good looking one at that.
At today’s Apple event, Steve Jobs unveiled a new leather iPod case. The case is hand-crafted from Italian leather, and features a black ribbon that pulls your iPod from within. Nice to see the company finally providing something more than a thin piece of felt to store your iPod in, but couldn’t they have taken the hint from just about every other case manufacturer and given us the option of seeing the screen? Apple’s own case hides the iPod display, and doesn’t even give access to the controls of the device. This one doesn’t get our vote. Still, if you want it, you can get one for $99 USD for either the 5G iPod, or the iPod nano (which requires less material to construct, but costs just as much.)
Read More | Apple Leather Case for iPod
There are those that like to show off their home theater gear, and others who prefer a more discrete approach. For the latter group comes a plasma television cabinet that also happens to be a fireplace. Similar to other motorized display cabinets, the plasma screen is situated on a lift that raises and lowers it on command. Sadly, the included fireplace isn’t really a fireplace by the true definition of the word. Actually, its called a flame effect fire that has no real flame, but does contain an electric convection heater that churns out 2kW (approx. 6800 BTUs) of heat. (So much for roasting chestnuts over an open fire.)
A variety of styles are offered and prices range from approximately $3,700 to $9,100 USD. Ouch.
We have come to accept that fact that over in the Land of the Rising Sun, gadgets are available in more colors than they know what to do with. The Toshiba Gigabeat P5 is already available in a bunch of colors, but Japan is getting two more to add to their P5 lineup. One is a luxurious gold (officially called “Gorgeous”), and the other is cotton candy pink (officially called “Sweet”). The pleasure of owning one of these special edition colors comes at a price. With no feature upgrades from the “normal” Gigabeat P5, the color change alone costs an extra 520 Yen. That would be equal to about $120 USD. Here in the US, that would be akin to paying an extra $120 for a black iPod because the white wasn’t good enough for you. Wow.
This aint your momma’s RC Airplane, folks. This here is our US Army’s latest in high-tech surveillance, which is helping our troops lay the smackdown on those evil-doers. This Raven unmanned aerial vehicle is guided by GPS and is so wicked cool, that when you twitch from drinking too much Jolt cola on those late night missions and crash your bird, it pops apart on impact and makes fixing it a whole lot easier than grabbin some balsa wood, Elmer’s and an Xacto knife. Heck, these RC pilots dont even have to fetch the bird, they just call a local ground-pounder unit to fish that puppy out and bring it home.
“I get paid by the Army to fly remote-controlled planes,” says Sgt. Nathan Wyatt from 3-29 Field Artillery. From his post at LSA Anaconda, he operates the three foot-long Raven unmanned aerial vehicle. Almost every day, he hand-launches one of his three Kevlar and Styrofoam birds into the skies over north-central Iraq. Wyatt controls the Raven with a handheld console while, ideally, an assistant monitors flight parameters on a separate console. Each operator has a screen showing what the Raven sees. With a range of up to 15 miles and both day and night sensors, that amounts to quite a lot. The imagery is beamed straight to a display in the tactical operations center.
All things being what they are, this bird isn’t without it’s faults, but flying it sure is a cool way to earn a paycheck from Uncle Sam. Why the hell didn’t my recruiter tell me about this job? Rock on my RC Drone flying troops…Gear Live and America thank you and all of our troops for putting it on the line every day.
Read More | SoldierTech
Holy gizmos Batman, Logitech has gone loopy. Check out this new designers tool:
Logitech (SWX: LOGN) (NASDAQ: LOGI) and Adobe Systems Incorporated (NASDAQ: ADBE) today announced the results of a collaboration to provide creative professionals and design enthusiasts new levels of control when using Adobe® Creative Suite 2 (CS2) and standalone CS2 applications: the NuLOOQ™ Professional Series. The new Logitech product line comprises the NuLOOQ navigator™, an innovative device used in conjunction with a mouse and a keyboard to manipulate images and documents, and the NuLOOQ tooldial™, customizable on-demand interface software that provides quick access to design tools. Both are designed for use with the Mac® versions of Adobe Creative Suite 2, Adobe Illustrator® CS2, Adobe InDesign® CS2, and Adobe Photoshop® CS2.
So here’s the breakdown. Think of this as the Adobe super-gizmo. I’m not really sure what the heck Logitech is thinking here, but they have some good intentions. Most of us that are designers already use a mouse/trackball, keyboard and a tablet. So to add yet another tool to the arsenal seems like a bit of overkill, but I can see what they are trying to accomplish. Similar to how there are devices for video editors, this would be akin to a Countour Shuttle Pro (used by video peeps), but for designers. This is essentially a 2-part device. You have the actual hardware piece which can be used on it’s own, but it also works with software that is specifically designed for use with the Adobe CS2 Suite of apps. NuLOOQ tooldial software is completely customizable and configuration is pretty straight-forward. My only concern is that it will be a bit overwhelming for most people. If you have been used to doing things by using the toolbars and menus and keyboard shortcut’s, this device may actually slow you down, which defeats it’s purpose. Hard to really say without testing one out in a production environment for a while.
The NuLOOQ Professional Series (which is the harware and software package) has a suggested retail price in the U.S. of $149.99 and will be sold beginning in March. The NuLOOQ tooldial can be purchased separately online for a suggested retail price of $49.99. A 30-day free trial is also available for download at the NuLOOQ Web site.
Read More | Logitech
You’ve seen it before. A bike rack with a cut chaincable laying on the ground, or a locked up wheel being the only portion of the bike left behind. To combat this, people resort to different approaches. Some use the latest in super-duper, titanium-impregnated, hardened-steel locks, and others remove a seat or a wheel (or two). Whatever your method, if somebody wants your bicycle badly enough, they’re going to get it. Unless of course, they can’t reach it. The Bike Tree is a Swiss invention that lifts your bicycle overhead and stores it under a protective canopy. Not only is your bike now protected from theft and vandalism, but from Mother Nature as well. A non-contact smart card allows an authorized user to retrieve their bicycle and go about their merry way. The Bike Tree can also be utilized as a bike rental facility, and since it can be solar powered, is easy to implement no matter the location.