We are living in times when the futuristic, techno-perfect
environment seen in sci-fi movies is, step by step, becoming a reality.
Robots become smarter, devices are getting more ingenious, tons of
gizmos intended to make diverse life spheres easier appear every day.
However, few upcoming product technologies and gadgets get credit from
people. Quoting graphic designer Frank Chimero, people ignore design that ignores people.
At the same time, pure utility without an attractive and handy
interface has less chance to provoke the end-user to say ‚ÄúGimme that
gadget!‚Äù Obviously, the ability to combine helpful capacity and nifty
design is a perfect mix that makes a winning product in the user‚Äôs eyes.
Below you can find a collection of smart gadgets and gizmos that are available to enhance your user-experience today. We
are also showcasing some exquisite innovative product concepts that may
obsess all the geeks and technology lovers before long.
Top-notch gadgets and devices
These small neat clips can help you rein in the chaos of all those
power and peripheral cords. Forget about stumbling over all those
cables and crawling for the necessary one just to plug in a device.
Holders come in stylish color schemes, either bright or muted, so they
can even become a part of your d√©cor. Price: $9.95 for a package of 6
This beautiful (and unique!) handmade LED clock from Germany’s Biergert
& Funk is a godsend for people who suffer from numerofobia (fear of
numbers): it tells time in words, displayed as text in five minute
intervals. There’s even a brightness sensor to automatically adjusted
the letters’ luminosity. However, this readability doesn’t come cheap –
expect to drop ‚Ç¨885 (about $1,270) for one. Right now, there are a few
background color options — maybe the next step is a typography-change
option? (We thing that would be all kinds of awesome, how about you?)
E-supply Japan USB Microscope
This digital USB microscope may be not good enough for a serious scientific research
— or even the gun-toting lab rats of the CSI franchise — but its 2Mpix censor
and 5x to 150x zoom will be great to capture higher-resolution images, get your kid busy with some backyard exploration,
or help aid your home crimescene investigations of ‚Äúwho stole my sandwich?.”
The arm has a mirror which can be brought close to any area for a closer look,
for example, your teeth and ears. Sadly, this gadget is Japan internal —
which means that, even if you want it badly enough to fork over its MSRP of US$130, you’ll have to import it.
Forward, into the past! Designer Matt Richmond managed to join past and
future technologies via his vintage iPhone Horn – a wooden iPhone dock connected
by a channel with an old-fashioned Magnavox gramophone. This construction
acoustically amplifies the iPhone’s tiny speaker and provides a nostalgic mono sound. Watch the video to see how it works.
This accessory probably won’t be mass-produced (due to the general rarity of gramophones), but once you get one,
it’ll add a uniquely retro flavor to your room decor. Price: $160-200. (via dwell.com)
Terminator: Salvation T-600 USB Skull
Repeat after me, in your best Ah-nuld the Barbarian voice: “I’ll be back…ing
up my data.” Get your sci-fi geek on with this officially licensed USB drive
designed to mimic the T-600 skull from the film Terminator: Salvation.
It holds 2GB of storage, weighs 42g and supports Windows XP/Vista and MacOS 10.2 and up. The eyes of the T600 are
genuine Swarowski rhinestones — which might be why the price of this gizmo is $150.
Currently available in Japan only — but really, is that a barrier for a true Terminator fan? (via crunchgear)
Grassy Lawn Charging Station
Artificial grass on the top of this container will hide all the cables
and adapters while your gadgets are charging. This power station is
quite refreshing, both for devices and your decor, and the price is
quite “green” as well: only $24.99.
Back in June, JVC introduced a new ultra slim LCD TV for business use.
The GD-32X1 is 6.4 mm in its thinnest place (the TV’s hardware and
ports are located in the rear brick), beating the 8.9 mm Samsung OLED
TV. The unit also boasts 4,000:1 contrast and full 1920×1080 HD
viewing. According to
JVC USA, the GD-32X1 is scheduled to hit US sales channels in November ’09
— with a not-so-slim MSRP of around US$3,000.
LiveScribe Pulse Smart Pen
LiveScribe Pulse Smart Pen can be a godsend for regular hand-writers,
such as students and journalists. It records and links audio to what
you write. These functions are connected, so you can use the pen to tap
the notes and then quickly access the audio. Recorded data is uploaded
to your computer and archived by the Livescribe Desktop software,
making your notes fully searchable. These and other neat functions can
be had for $199.95 (2 Gb memory model).
Jigsaw Cookie Cutter
An edible jigsaw puzzle can bring tons of fun to a home party, as well
as being an easy and pleasant way to brighten up the daily life
routine. ¬£3.40 for the item, but this jigsaw piece becomes an
unsolvable puzzle for those who live out of United Kingdom, as delivery
cost increases up to threefold.
Steampunk Skull Mouse
This steampunk-styled mouse looks creepy and classy at the same time;
definitely NOT a choice of peripheral if you’re nervous — or work for
PETA, as it’s made from a real sheep skull. (Creator Ivan Mavrov claims
the sheep died a natural death.) Although this device does not really
follow strict ergonomics guidelines, it is definitely a piece of art.
Check out more Mavrov’s steampunk gadgets and accessories here.
Belkin Cushtop Laptop Desk
This comfy laptop cushion, done in a modern minimalist style, can be
quite handy when using your laptop on your couch, bed or floor. You can
keep mouse and cables in a convenient storage sleeve and simply flip
over the cushion, if needed, to put on a larger laptop. Price: $35
And now the latest geek fashion rage – Twitter Dunks. This is an exclusive pair made by Daniel Reese
at the request of some passionate tweeter. This is the only Twitter-related sneaker design made by Daniel so far
— which still gives you have a chance to order your own unique design, for example,
sneakers depicting the new Twitter home page design.
Makerbot is a 3D printer that takes blobs of plastic and shapes them
into almost any object you desire. Using this device, you can create
toys, plastic miniatures, iPhone docks or any other handicrafts you can
imagine. Although it’s not a completely unique innovation, Makerbot is
one of the first open-source desktop prototyping devices that are
fairly inexpensive and supported by a vigorous community that is happy
to share designs, tips and mods. Hobbyists call it “having China on
your desktop”. The basic Makerbot kit costs $750. (via wired.com)
Gorillatorch Flashlight absolutely justifies its $30 price by combining
the convenience of a tripod and the flexibility of a snake. Flexible
tripods, magnetized feet, even the way it is packed into the box make
it look lively, like some kind of small, fidgety bot. Water-resistant
and collapsible, it works up to 20 hours at maximum brightness on three
AAA batteries. Surely a must-have for your household.
Always Innovating Touch Book
Touch Book from Always Innovating is a compromise for those who dream
about an Apple Tablet, but don’t have the patience to wait for it. This
extremely multi-functional touchscreen netbook is available now for
$299 (an optional detachable keyboard increases the price another
hundred bucks). It can be a laptop or an e-book reader, or even a
kitchen computer (thanks to the special magnet system included by
design). Notice that Touch Book is based on all open-source software,
and is probably a choice-not for those who regularly use Adobe
Photoshop or some other Windows or Mac-based software.
iPhone 3G/3Gs Solar Recharger
Multi-gadget solar charging stations are not a rarity today, but this
compact recharger for iPhone has a neat snap-on panel which completely
matches the iPhone design. Besides, no extra cables or wires are
required for use. There are two color options: black, or white. Of
course, while a solar recharger can’t be used as primary source of
power for your iPhone, it’s still a nice thing to keep in the bag.
Price: approximately US$22. (via technabob)
USB Hidden Flash Drive Watch
Good morning, Mr. Phelps: here’s a gadget from the spy arsenal. It has a
diminutive 8Gb memory flash drive slipped neatly into the watch case. The watch
itself features Japanese quartz movement and luminescent hands. $50, and you’re ready to conduct
your own secret missions.
This cool radio was created by Guus Oosterbaan, and is literally a ROCK
radio. Initially it was supposed to have a brick shape, but a thick
layer of cement prevented the radio from working. The failure inspired
Guus for the new idea – he took a hammer and gave the radio a pure
natural stone look. Read on the details of the creation process in
Most awaited upcoming products
Nokia Booklet 3G
With its recent Booklet 3G announcement, Nokia introduced anything but
an ordinary netbook. Along with its typical-for-netbooks Atom processor
and 10.1-inch display, Booklet features some really unique
characteristics, like an HD screen, integrated 3G wireless and a
hot-swappable SIM card. It looks to be running Windows 7, which isn’t
particularly netbook-y — and typical of Nokia in general. This tiny,
sophisticated laptop should make most Nokia fans really happy. The
price was recently announced as US$299 — with a two-year, $60/month
data plan from AT&T. Don’t wanna owe your soul to the Death Star’s
company store? An unsubsidized Booklet’ll set you back US$600.
Android Desktop Phone PHOTO
Cloud Telecomputers has announced their ‚ÄòGlass Platform‚Äô Android
desktop Phone, which features the 8? touch screen, tap to dial, Email
via Outlook integration, Bluetooth, voice dialing, voice notes, HD
Speakerphone, and of course, Android OS for open development . Cloud
Telecomputers also expects lots of third party Android apps to be built
especially for the business phone platform. The Glass Platform Android
Desktop Phone will go on sale in 2010, with an expected price between
$600 and $700.
Asus Eee Keyboard
A fully functional PC in a keyboard? Yes, Asus is going to rock the
world with this innovative gadget. The Eee Keyboard includes WiFi (and
Ethernet), speaker, microphone, and 5-inch interactive display and
touch screen. It weighs less than 2 pounds and connects to existing
displays. There are still no details on the release date or pricing,
but the keyboard is near a final prototype and will definitely going
into production. (release was scheduled for October 2009, still not available)
Touch Color is a device that allows a blind person to paint colorful
pictures with their fingers on the panel. The set consists of two gears
– Thermal digital tablet and a Rainbow Color picking ring. The 24
colors on the ring are differentiated by Braille dots and varied
temperature generated by the embedded LED bulbs. Hopefully, this
concept will find sponsors and go into production, because it’s hard to
find a more worthy idea to be realized.
Universal remotes have become popular in the last few years, but there
is still much ground in this field available for the research. A remote
control can be super powerful and multifunctional, but until it can be
accessible for several people simultaneously, it’s not perfect. CRISTAL
is a multi-touch coffee table that allows users to control multimedia
devices and home automation systems. The tabletop itself is a screen
displaying a streaming video view of the room and all devices in it,
including lamps and digital photo frames. The video image of the device
is the interface, so a sliding gesture on the image can turn up the
volume of the TV, for instance. The project in the development stage,
but the managers are confident the idea has all chances to go into
consumer production in a few years, especially if it can be blended
with Microsoft‚Äôs Surface product.
The Field Contextual Research Workstation (FieldCREW) tablet concept by
the Bressler Group‚Äôs Rob Tannen is geared to the needs of user
researchers gathering product design feedback. This nifty device
features remotely controlled tracking cameras via wireless that will
observe user interaction, wireless taggers and microphones that record
voice memos of scientists – tagging is synched to a common timeline on
the tablet. Plus, subvocalization sensor allows the researcher to
silently dictate notes that are automatically transcribed to text and
stored on the tablet. The concept is the finalist of the International
Design Excellence Awards (IDEA) 2009.
The Last Drop is a genuine and extremely useful package concept which
is especially urgent in times of world economy recession. The bottom of
the Last Drop container is designed the way that the finishing liquids
flow down into a cone where the dispenser can easily reach and lets the
user have even the last drop of liquid. It enables to avoid product
wastage and is a great solution in terms of recycling and anti-water
pollution. All these useful functions and the elegant design make the
Last Drop to be an amazing product concept.
This is probably the most unbelievable gadget in our collection. Window
Phone is a concept mobile phone that reflects the weather conditions
actually like a window – it remains clear if the day is sunny, turns
frosty when the weather is cold, and during a rainy day it gets covered
with tiny droplets. You can also blow your breath on the interactive
screen and write messages or draw pictures on the misty window.
Doubtless it will take quite much time before we see this phone for
real, but the concept is indeed extraordinary and intriguing.
Smile Generating Devices
Want to stay informed about what your household gadgets do when you are
out? Well, you can make your gadgets tweet you all their latest news.
You will need simple hardware platforms called microcontrollers. These
small computers that can be put into different device modules and
programmed to send an alert whenever something specific changes. There
is even a Wired How-To Wiki
that contains instructions on using microcontrollers and Twitter. So
now you can receive tweets from toaster when the toast is ready, from
washing machine when the laundry is clean and from the toilet, each
time it flushes… And yes, if your gadgets are doing well, don’t
forget to recommend them on FollowFriday. Gosh!
The world’s first USB chainsaw is an indispensible thing in various
life situations. It can help settle some controversial issues in the
office, or come in handy in case you are a geek with a woodsman inside
— after all, you can always boast to your friends you have the
deadliest USB-powered gadget ever. The shipping for the i.Saw starts
this fall. Pre-order price: $59.95
Bumblebee Transformer Costume
This awesome Bumblebee costume was used at car dealerships as some sort
of promotion. Interesting if that guy is still wearing it. We doubt it
— because now that the video is popular on the web, some extremely
desperate Transformers fans might have already conducted a confiscation
Advertised as being the
phone for Buddhists, it comes with a 2.0 inch display screen,
1.3-megapixel camera, FM radio, dual SIM support, audio and video
player, microSD slot, even a Buddhistic music box. This fancy gadget
hardly fits the central concept of Buddhism, which is Suffering. Then
again, maybe it is the influence of the time we live in –
even religion dogmas should adapt to the technology era to stay afloat.
However, if not taken too serious, the Buddah phone can be a nice gift
for those who love Eastern culture elements in design. Price: $123