March 15, 2006
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Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) allows transfer of data such as passport, transportation card, and (eventually) credit card information without actually touching the passport or card to a reader. While RFIDs have the ability to ease cheeseburger purchases and other important transactions, anyone nearby with a reader can simply pluck your information from the air. In order to combat this, DIFRWear is now selling a wallet and a passport case with layers of RF shielding that block the ability to read any RFID tags contained within. Until DIFRWear starts selling a neon orange wallet with velcro, I'll just just keep warding off evil "RF" spirits with prayer and sacrifices.

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ri-man.jpg Japanese research institute Riken has developed a robot that will save you the trouble involved in carrying your elderly relatives off to the woods to abandon them. Japan is expecting a major increase in demand for elderly care as a declining birth rate and strict immigration control are leaving Japan's elderly with less young people to listen to their stories. Enter RI-MAN, a 220 pound robot with soft silicone skin that can sense the position and weight of a person in its arms. RI-MAN also has the ability to see, hear, and smell, allowing it to relentlessly track down the elderly no matter where they hide. RI-MAN can currently only carry around 26 pounds, so you will have to convince your grandmother to diet before you can hire a terrible mechanical man as her caretaker.

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dph-540.jpg The D-Link DPH-540 is WiFi Voice Over IP phone that is scheduled for release this summer. The phone features 802.11b/g support; 16MB for storage of contacts; VoIP through Session Initiation Protocol (SIP); basic security through WEP, WPA, or WPA2; Li-ion 900 mAh battery; and email access. With VoIP and email access on the phone itself, you really shouldn't have any trouble realizing that your ex-girlfriend isn't somehow trying to get in touch with you. As VoIP rises in popularity, I'm sure that we will see a lot more of these WiFi VoIP phones in the next few months. Add some horrendous ringtone mascots and equally terrifying faceplate covers, and VoIP phones might one day challenge the cell phone crown.

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lazer_scissors.jpg As a definitive signal that we have finally reached the future, Get Organized is selling a pair of laser-guided scissors. The cleverly-named Lazer Scissors (note the z!) project a laser beam in a line extending from the handle of the scissors. You simply cut along the laser's line to guarantee that your grandmother's collection of articles about dogs dressed as clowns will be as immaculate as ever. For only $19.99, you too can remove unsightly body hair and humorous Ziggy cartoons with the ease and accuracy of the future's welcoming embrace.

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typhoon.jpg Tyan is preparing to release their Typhoon PSC, a personal supercomputer that is targeted at researchers, developers, and people who want to play Minesweeper at amazing speeds. The PSC offers support of up to 8 AMD Opteron HE processors or 4 Intel Xeon processors, with up to 64GB or 32GB of RAM respectively. At a size of 26.7 x 12.6 x 14 inches, the PCS is dwarfed by many of the supercomputers out there today. The PSC also runs far quieter, assuring that your cat will still be far more afraid of your vacuum than your computer. Sure, this computer is super powerful, but can it use its super powers steal Mt. Rushmore or hurl Manhattan into outer space? The product page doesn't say, so I can only assume that it can and will.

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dc2j1dz115.gif If your attempts to perfect your wifi-compatible moustache trimmer have come up fruitless, Sharp has a product that you might find interesting. The DC2J1DZ115 is currently the world's smallest wifi module, measuring only 10x10x1.6 mm. With a power consumption of 0.9mW at rest, this module complies with both the 802.11b and 802.11g specifications. It appears that they are offering samples to companies for around $170 each, so you might want to hold off on creating your personal army of mesh-networked hamsters until the price drops. In the meantime, you should work on making them little helmets and parachutes. Safety first, after all.

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