Friday, January 26, 2007

Blinded me with science

The folks at Scientific American have posted their take on the 20 hottest gadgets from the Consumer Eletronics Show. The popup gallery is pretty nice, with some really exceptional snarky commentary. Among my favorites:

1. The attention-deprived hi-tech umbrella. Apparently, there's a chip in the grip that communicates, supposedly, with Accu-weather to get the latest forecast. If rain is in the offing, a light in the grip will blink, begging you to pick up the umbrella and comfort it. I guess there are people out there in the information age who are unable to get the weather forecast from the TV, radio, web, cell phone, shaman, groundhog, or their own eyes when they look up at the damn sky. Consider me unimpressed. What would be really cool is if the umbrella could sense a burglar outside the house and turn into a sword or something like that.

2. The CarMD. This is actually quite cool. According to their website, every vehicle made after 1996 has the same kind of connector which interfaces to the vehicle's computer brain. After connecting the device and turning on the ignition, the CarMD will retrieve all diagnostic data from the car's computer and store it. From there, you return to your PC, hook up the CarMD, and upload the info to the CarMD website for an analysis of all the return codes to see what's wrong with your car, if anything. It sure beats paying out 3 dinners' worth of money to accomplish the same thing.

3. R2D2 DVD Projector. I think we've all seen that scene multiple times. You know the one I'm talking about. R2D2 displays a holographic projection of the Princess begging ye olde Obi-Wan for his assistance. Well, now you can get the real thing. Of course, the projection doesn't exist holographically in free space; the image goes onto the wall. You could create your own moment of zen by having R2D2 project the image of its projecting an image.

There are plenty of other items for you to check out in the gallery, like an animatronic Elvis, a robot that roller skates, and a wireless power charger. So, head over there and get your geek fix for the weekend.


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