Robo massager tickles Gizmoville
Very silly kit, and much more
Tech Digest Certified gadget obsessives Tech Digest and Shiny Shiny scour Gizmoville for the oddest digital goodies, while Bayraider keeps tabs on the best and worst of eBay. Here are this week's top gadget picks:
Obligatory iPod Accessory of the Week: Nyko iPod movie player
Fancy watching movies on your iPod? You'll be needing one of these Nyko Movie Players then. Slide your player into place and you can watch films on the 3.6-inch screen. Not only that, but you can record video straight onto the player from a camera or TV, making this a pretty nifty portable video recorder and player. It's got two stereo speakers on it plus two headphone jacks so you can listen out loud or in private, and if you use your iPod (or iPod mini or photo) to store pics, you'll be able to view them in larger format than the photo can manage. There's loads more detail over at iPod Lounge since they actually got their hands on the prototype. There's no current exact price or release date, but it should be around $199 to $249 and out in October/November time.
Traditional ‘how did that get on eBay’ Story: Robo Music Massager
This is what life in the 21st century should be like: a nightly calf-and-foot massage from a robot that simultaneously plays you the Motley Crue Greatest Hits album. Oh yes. Here's a gadget that can do just that - a robotic massage recliner that apparently feels like three pairs of hands delivering 64 square-inches of contact. Which reminds us of a party we went to recently, but that's another story. Meanwhile, the built-in MP3 player serenades you with your favourite tunes as you
fight to escape the robot's steely clutches when it blows a fuse and turns psychotic relax.
OTT Home Entertainment stuff: Kaleidescape Entertainment server
There was some cool stuff at the CEDIA show (basically think digital home) in Birmingham. Kaleidescape's (no that's not a typo) entertainment server is perhaps the most impressive thing I've seen in the video market for years. It's been available for a few months but this is the first time the US product has really been demonstrated over here. Basically, it's a hefty behemoth using its own proprietary operating system and comprising multi-region DVD player, DVD Recorder and 400 Gig entertainment server all in one.
But it's not the tech spec which is most impressive about this product but the intelligent way it works to make searching for movie content really easy. As soon as a DVD is burnt to the server (this is apparently legal as long as the owner signs a massive contract saying he/she owns the content etc. etc.) it runs off to get content information about the disc from Kaleidescape's website - in much the same way as www.cddb.com gets CD information. Cover art is downloaded to the server along with director, actor, genre and synopsis information. Between 600-660 movies can be stored on a standard server though obviously much more if you piggy back several together. Either you can search for films in your collection by cover art or by genre, actors etc. Best of all you can set up video bookmarks that take you right to the beginning of the film, even create favourite scene 'playlists' from different movies. Compatible with High Definition (1080i) and offering HDMI output, the entertainment server currently retails for between £14K and £18K. It may seem steep but it's not a bad price at all when you consider everything it does. More from www.kaleidescape.com.
Vaguely useful Gadget of the week: TV-B Gone
Dixons staff are looking nervous. And no it is not because of rumours of more shop closures or fear of hernias caused by lugging round massive plasma screens. No it is because they know that their very worst nightmare, TV-B-Gone, has launched in the UK courtesy of Firebox. The £14.95 gadget, which can easily be attached to a key ring, is in fact a mini universal remote control. Its twist is that it only has one feature – it can turn TVs off. Apparently once you press its button the device scans through its database, finds the code required to shut the TV down and delivers a blank screen, leaving you to snigger as harassed Dixons staff run around trying to discover if their top-end 50 inch plasma has developed a major fault. If you are of the yellow persuasion you’ll be pleased to know that the device normally takes around twenty seconds to work, leaving you plenty of time to hotfoot it out of the store. It also works in pubs – great for key moments in vital football games – and at home where it can ensure that your trip to Celebrity Love Island never lasts more than a few seconds. Naturally we at Tech Digest don’t condone such behaviour and feel very sorry for Dixons' (and other major electronics retailers) staff. Pretty funny though. Get it here.
Home cinema gadget of the week: LG’s wall-mounted projector
I haven't quite got round to ditching my TV and going the projector-big screen route. Still, I know a few people who have binned the box and they seem pretty happy with their decision. Those thinking of making the move to a projector should probably take a look at this appealing new object from LG Electronics. The AN110 is apparently the world's first wall mounted projector that you can hang on your wall like a picture frame. If you prefer you can sit it on a stand instead, much like a flat screen monitor. Either way, it's compact and good-looking solution, is well specified (HD compatible with 1280x768 resolution, a vertical lens shift +/-125%, x1/32 ~ x32 digital zoom, separated left and right digital keystone function, and motorised zoom and focus) and if I do ever get round to chucking the TV out the window, this is the kind of thing I'll be after. The set is expected to be available in the UK from September. No word on pricing yet, but it’ll probably be pricey.
- Pentax latest Optio compact snapper arrives.
- Kiss pinball table on eBay It’s ‘got crazy, crazy lights,’ apparently.
- Siemens reinvents the slidey phone.
- HP’s feature-packed iPaq PDA/smartphone
- Nokia 6280 slidey 3G top-end mobile previewed.