Blaupunkt and miRoamer create World’s First Internet Car Radio

I have been seeing more and more Internet radios on the market these days, and I suppose that it was only a matter of time before someone invented one for the car. At CES, miRoamer, a popular Internet radio site, and Blaupunkt, a leader in automotive multimedia, introduced the world’s first Internet radio for the car.

I know that I have said this before, but I always get suspicious when I hear the words “world’s first” applied to any technological product. Usually, those words mean that “someone else actually did it first, but we are the first to really market it”. However, most of the other Internet radio makers at CES seemed genuinely surprised at the release of miRoamer and Blaupunket’s product, and they all asked the same question: How is an automotive web-connection achieved?

Yes, the Internet Car Radio cannot work on its own, but requires a 3G or GSM phone to be connected via Bluetooth in order to access the Internet. From there, the user is able to access radio stations from miRoamer, which allows the user tens of thousands of music, entertainment, news, and talk stations.

The large screen display allows for easy interface with the many station options, and it includes other features including access to the phone, address book, Bluetooth, not to mention navigation.

So, is the beginning of a new age of Internet radio? I don’t see why not. I think we’ve done all we can with Sirius and XM, so the Internet is really the only other way to go with automotive radio.


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See the Loop, Love the Loop, Use the Loop

When I was at CES 2009, I got to meet with Hillcrest Labs. I met them near the Kodak booth, where one of their Hillcrest remotes was being used on one of Kodak’s products. I had no idea who Hillcrest was, but when they showed me their motion control technology, they had my attention.

Hillcrest is responsible for Freespace technology, which requires no line of sight in order to work. That means that if you go into the other room to get a snack, you can still use the remote. As long as you can see the cursor on the television, it will work. Hillcrest also uses orientation compensation which can filter out any tremors for shaky-hand remote-control users.

Of course, what really got my attention is when the Hillcrest representative pulled out the Loop. More like kidnapped my attention, and then held it for ransom. As soon as I saw the Loop, I couldn’t stop taking pictures of it. Right now, the Loop is only a concept remote control for now, but it feels like it was plucked from the future. However, I can just see it sitting on my coffee table in a charger now.

What you see is a photo I took at CES, with my hand and the Hillcrest representative’s hand grabbing onto the Loop. They can use that picture on their ads if they want to, because I think that picture says a thousand words about how Hillcrest will take remote controls into the future.


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Mindflex - A game of mind control

Mattel are due to launch Mindflex, a mind control game. The game consists of a sponge ball that you levitate by concentrating (and pulling a seated straining face). The ball floats by means of a fan and you can control the height by the power of your strain.

Twisting a dial moves the ball around the customizable circular course, then use your mind to move it up and down to navigate through the various obstacles.

It’s cool in a simple different kind of way though I’m not sure if it has any longevity and you do look a bit of a dork having to wear a head band and crocodile clips on your ears (I don’t think anybody took a picture when I had a play).

Mindflex is due to market the Fall of 2009 and will retail for ~$80.


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Lok8u’s Nu•M8 GPS Child Locator Watch

On occasion as a parent you get stuck in situations where you’re more worried than usual about keeping track of your children.  Well Lok8u is releasing a gadget to help you out in such situations.  It’s a set of watches that incorporate GPS, so that you never lose track of your little ones.  Likely this won’t be ideal once your kids get a fashion sense of their own, but it will work for at least the younger kids.  That is unless you can pitch the watch to them in a way that they won’t mind that it’s a bit on the unfashionable side.

Hopefully you don’t always have to be wearing the watch either, because even the adult version is a bit unattractive.  I’m not sure specifically what situation would make you want your kids housed with a GPS unit.  However, the watch is an interesting concept.  It also has a handy function that lets you know when the watch has been removed, either by your child or someone else.  Besides being not so attractive, this is a bit expensive.  You can pick up the pair for £149.99 or about $228.

Source: SlipperyBrick


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MindFlex Game by Mattel appearing at CES

Games have definitely changed over time.  Even from just ten years back, most would never imagine something like the MindFlex game by Mattel.  The game looks more like something you would see in a lab to test for some psychic ability.  In reality though, it’s just a toy for kids ages eight and up.  Although I give it a week after this comes out that some kid gets his pet rat stuck in the obstacle course.  That or their brother will, because everyone knows it’s always the brothers that are the evil ones, never sisters.

In order to get the ball through the obstacle course, you need to be wearing the headset which is full of sensors.  The headset then measures your brainwave activity.  Using mental concentration, the gamer guides the ball through the obstacle course which is customizable.  Of course I’m sure a great deal of people will be suspicious as to how well a product like this would work and understandably so.  I imagine it’s just one of those things you’d have to give it a try to find out.  It will be available this fall for $79.99.  At that price, hopefully it won’t end up being one of those games your kids play twice then bury at the bottom of their closet.

Source: Ubergizmo


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Discovery Robot In My Room

Want to find a way to encourage your child to start the saving habit? Of course, there is no better way to teach the little ones than by your example, but just in case you want to augment your thrifty lifestyle, here is the Discovery Robot In My Room that could go some ways in helping. This smart-aleck talking robot comes equipped with a motion detector and a twisted sense of humor, belting out something funny each time a coin is deposited. It has a repository of over 50 humorous responses, phrases and sound effects, featuring an LCD display that shows off your total coins and a built-in alarm clock. The Discovery Robot In My Room will retail for $39.95. It does look rather strange being headless though.


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Toyota’s Solar-powered Car

About six months ago, we reported that Toyota was planning on putting solar panels on the Prius to power the air-conditioner. It has been recently been released that the famed Japanese motor company plans to release a car that is completely solar-powered.

As you can see on the photo, the solar panels are on the roof like solar panels of a house. This is only one way the car gets its power, as the company wants to supplement power by somehow attaching the car to the solar panels on the roofs of homes. This way, a car can be powered in a garage or parked outside.

Toyota is actually quite ahead of the solar power game. Their company in central Japan has solar panels on the roof that are equivalent in area to sixty tennis courts, and can produce enough energy to power 500 homes. That is enough annual savings for 740 tons of carbon dioxide emissions, which is equal to using 1,500 barrels of crude oil.

So is this the dawning of the age of the solar car? I used to think that a solar car was a useless invention, as most people drive at night. However, if it is possible to charge a car with solar power, then I guess we’d power our car in a manner similar to solar-powered cell phone chargers.

Originally, Toyota said that it would have the solar panels on the Prius by Spring 2009. However, a car that is entirely solar powered will take years of development, so we don’t know exactly when we will see Toyota’s solar car. I’m sure you will agree that it is a step in the right direction for a greener world.

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Washing Machine project lets it Twitter when finished

Everyone has dealt with those days where you’re running around and doing other things so much that you forget all about the load of laundry you put into the washer or dryer.  Then you come back and they’re either overly wrinkly or mildewed.  Now luckily dryers do have buzzers, however, if you have a house where the washer and dryer are away from the main living area, then that’s really not helpful.  Frankly, leaving your laundry to sit might be a rare occurrence, or one that happens every single time you do a load of laundry.  Either way, someone has decided to create a hi-tech fix that will work on even the most archaic dryer.

He has a video posted on YouTube that might help out those of you that are good at DIY projects.  Basically he has it set up so a giant flashing sign lets him know when to switch out the load.  However, for those of you geeks that like to keep your geeky style a little less obvious there are other options.  It can also be set up to Twitter you when the load is finished.  Now not all washers make you have to worry about rushing to change out the load, but I’ve had experience with a washer that you couldn’t leave the load in for even a few hours because it got a strange smell.  It was the only washer I’ve had that issue with, but it got overly frustrating after a while.  To watch the video, just follow the link.

Source: Techeblog


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HP/Voodoo’s New Firefly Concept Laptop

Go ahead and stare in awe at HP/Voodoo’s concept laptop known as the Firefly. You may never see it hit the market, but it is quite a machine.

The screen is at a whopping 17.1 inches with 1920 x 1200 resolution. It also comes with a secondary screen that is 4.3 inches with 800 x 430 res. I would imagine the second screen would come in handy for checking e-mails or Instant Messaging.

If that second screen isn’t enough to sell you, then you should see the Firefly play Far Cry 2 with settings on “Very High”. Not many laptops, even the gaming kind, can do that.

As for what is inside, it has a 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo CPU, 4GB of RAM, a 250GB hard drive with 7,200 RPM, as well as two ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3870 GPUs set up in CrossFire mode.

It also has multi-touch trackpad that, for some reason, is on the side. The keyboard is backlit, and the audio is Creative X-Fi. Not only does the Firefly feature a built-in webcam, but the camera can see in the dark with its night vision enhancement.

So, it might be a while, if ever, before the Firefly shines its light. Just to let you know, the Firefly weighs a bit more than most laptops at 13 pounds. You might want to get a shoulder bag for this one.

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Cordless Heated Car Screen Ice Scraper

Right now, it is the dead of winter where I live. The snow level keeps rising, and it is getting colder and colder. As a result, my windshield is filled with frost that must be scraped off every time I want to go out for a ride. It is enough to make me want to move a place that always has a warmer climate.

I saw this gadget and thought that it was perfect for me. It is the Cordless Heated Car Screen Ice Scraper, and the name alone sold me.

This Ice Scraper is designed to charge in the cigarette lighter socket, and works for about 20 minutes. With the rugged teeth and heated pad, it just what you need to break up the big chucks of ice that are blocking your view. The Scraper also comes with an LED light so you can use it at night.

Anything that can help me get the annoying frost off the car windshield is definitely worth buying. Too bad I didn’t report on this device a few weeks ago, because it certainly would have been the Perfect gift for that hard-to-shop person during the holidays.

You should be able to get the Cordless heated Car Screen Ice Scraper for about £24.99 off the Maplin site.

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