Siemens has created a great new way to accidentally kick little kids and puppies as you walk down the street. Taking advantage of the cameras found on many cell phones, Siemens is working on an "Augmented Reality" technology that allows you to use pictures of your current environment to interact with things on the screen. The first game announced by Siemens in this field is a "virtual penalty shootout" where furiously kicks of your legs might translate to kick a virtual soccer ball into a goal. I can't wait until they release an augmented reality boxing game. My morning commute just isn't filled with enough spontaneous fist fights as it is.
Victorinox, the swiss army knife company, has added another... tool to their belt. The S. Beat is a basic swiss army knife that features a removeable and rather robust 1GB MP3 player. The MP3 player has FM radio reception/recording, 6 equalizer modes, voice recording with built-in microphone, remote control, a line-in cable, plug and play capability, and support for multiple music formats (MP3, WMA, WAV, Ogg Vorbis). Add a 2" blade, mini scissors, and a nail file on top of that, and you've got quite a handy gadget. Just make sure you remember to tell the judge that you were attempting to interview that celebrity with the voice recorder, and that you were not trying to stab said celebrity in the face.
One of the first companies to jump on the new Ultra-Mobile PC craze is Eleksen, a company that specializes in the touch-sensitive textiles. Eleksen has developed a new fabric sleeve that will store your UMPC and function as a full keyboard. Sure, adding an external keyboard to an "ultra-mobile" device may seem counterintuitive, but I really like the idea of sewing keyboards into fabric. It's safe to say that the world will be a better place when I can buy a sweater for my dog that also controls my toaster. I love toast.
Microsoft has introduced a new style of PCs targeted at consumers who would rather play solitaire instead of watching their kids play soccer. The Ultra-Mobile PCs, or UMPCs, is a line of tablet-style computers with displays no larger than 7". The UMPCs themselves will be manufactured by different companies, but they will all run Windows Tablet PC 2005 and have WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity. The UMPCs will also have full multimedia functionality, allowing you to watch movies and listen to music on a giant block of plastic. I really don't think you should call something ultra-mobile when it requires its own carrying case. Now, I'd say watches are ultra-mobile. Why don't you do something with watches, Microsoft? Oh, wait... (Photo courtesy of Reuters)
How many times have you looked at your floor and thought, "damn, I wish there were swirling puddles of color down there." Regardless of whatever substance you might have been on, you actually came up with a marketable product. In fact, Italian company B Lab was probably on the same controlled substance when they created the Living Floor, a series of floor tiles with colored liquids that change and morph when weight is applied. These tiles are sure to keep kids, those shaggy gentlemen who live down in that empty church, and the elderly occupied for hours on end.
The electronics industry has turned a corner, my friends. No longer must you traverse the planet with shoes that don't drop the occasional funky beat. Dada footwear has announced their MP3 playing shoes at the extravagant and popular World Shoe and Accessories Show. Although the press release is a little unclear, these shoes supposedly use USB to store 100 songs safely away in the tongue of the shoe. The wearer has the choice of playing the music directly from the shoe's speakers or through a pair of wireless headphones. The press release even notes that you can stray 30 feet from the shoes without losing reception from the headphones. Why you would walk 30 feet from shoes this nice is beyond me.