New automobile key could help save lives

Teenagers - most of them get the euphoric feeling of being independent from their parents the moment they pass their driving exams, and receive the keys to dad’s car. Regardless of whether you’re from a well-to-do family or will inherit a vehicle that’s as old as you, there is nothing quite like being in a jalopy with you at the wheel. No longer will you have to endure dad’s over-careful driving style, and neither do you have to subject yourself to elder sister’s maniacal forays down the highway. You are in charge of your destiny, be it a shiny new Ferrari or an old Ford pickup truck that requires 10 minutes of warm-up before it can get going. Unfortunately for parents, instead of worrying about their kid’s newfound freedom on the road, they also have to think about cell phone usage habits. Good thing somebody came up with this new automobile ignition key that prevents teenagers from talking on cell phones or sending text messages while driving. That ought to go a long way in helping reduce the amount of accidents, eh?

Researchers at the University of Utah were the ones who came up with this invention, and they have dubbed it Key2SafeDriving, targeting a lower number of road fatalities. How does it achieve this noble intention? For starters, it will rely on Bluetooth connectivity to remain hooked to compatible cell phones wirelessly. and is aimed at cutting down on road deaths. It relies on Bluetooth technology to wirelessly connect keys to phones. Before the engine is turned on, the driver must slide the key out or push a button to release it. The device will then send a signal over to the driver’s cell phone, moving it into “driving mode” while displaying a “Stop” sign on the handset’s display screen. Any incoming calls or texts will be answered with a message , “I am driving now. I will call you later when I arrive at the destination safely.”

According to Xuesong Zhou, an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering who co-invented the system with Wally Curry, “The key to safe driving is to avoid distraction. We want to provide a simple, cost-effective solution to improve driving safety.”

Source: FOX News


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The Black & Decker Ll4000 3.6-Volt Lithium-Ion SmartDriver

The older we get, the less coordinated we’re going to be.  Eventually our hands will likely shake and it’ll be difficult to do certain tasks.  Frankly, I already am overly clumsy and lack coordination at times.  Well if you’re either just clumsy or getting up there in years, but still want a way to be independent with your DIY projects, this is the way to go.  Magnetic screwdrivers are always incredibly helpful, well this SmartDriver takes things one step further.

It has an extended arm that can retract and will hold your screw steady  while you work on securing the screw into the wall.   To make things even more simple it has a 6-position clutch to prevent stripping any of your screws.  It also has an LED work light and a Lithium-Ion battery.  Now the bizarre thing about this product is the way Amazon lists the price.  You can purchase this directly from Amazon for $3,997 or from Target through Amazon for $39.99.  I tried to find this sold on a different site to figure out the price, but it seems Amazon is the only place with it.  Basically, I have no idea why it’s priced this way, but that’s the way Amazon has it listed.

Source: CraziestGadgets


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Speed Bump that rewards careful drivers

No one likes dealing with speed bumps.  Even if you drop down to crawling speeds, some are so severe that they jar your car around like crazy anyway.  With some cars they even make them scrape the ground, like the 90s Mustangs.  Well now someone has decided to create a speed bump that makes things easier for a lot of drivers.  If you like to fly over speed bumps then these won’t help you out at all.  However, if you are one of the ones that slows down for them then it will make it a much smoother ride.

When you approach the speed bump at high speeds, like above 30 mph then you’ll hit the bump.  However, if you drop below that speed the speed bump will flatten out and allow you to drive over it comfortably.  This was done by Jae-yun and Jong-Su Lee and hopefully someone will find these brilliant and put them to use.  The only bad thing is that I’d be willing to bet that these cost more than the average speed bump.  Which means it would be a while before these ever became mainstream.

Source: CraziestGadgets


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Wearable Toy Piano Shirt

This next device is currently not available at any particular catalog or website, but it really should be. After all, ThinkGeek is already offering the Electric Drum Kit Shirt, so why not one that is a Piano?

The DIY Wearable Toy Piano shirt is designed for a DIY Festival that was held in Zurich last weekend. You can go to the Instructables site for some step-by-step instructions on how to make this homemade gift.

Much of the materials can be obtained from a normal toy piano, and it appears that the buttons are put on the side, which makes this piano shirt easy to play. If the designer had put the piano keys on your chest, then it would be complicated and awkward to play. It looks like you have to do some kind of adapting to play this particular piano that you can wear.

After seeing this YouTube video below, you can’t deny that it works. However, it could probably work better if it was attached to a speaker of some sort. Perhaps the filmmaker should have turned up the volume on the camera.

I guess the real question is whether or not you would be pleased if someone made you a Piano shirt and gave it to you as a gift for Christmas.

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Casio makes an attempt at geek chic Calculator Watches

Everyone remembers the signature calculator watch, it was far from geek chic the first time they came around.  However, Casio is making an attempt to make them look cool, or at least cool enough to pass for geek chic.  I doubt they’d become cool enough to be deemed trendy at any point.  Well in order to add a little appeal for the geek crowd, now they’re adding a burst of color to these watches.  They still of course look cheesy, but for the brave geek soul, they might be the perfect watch.

The watches have a ten year battery and an 8-digit calculator that does the usual functions of adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing.  It also features four multi-function alarms and one that comes with snooze.  The watch also comes packed with a stopwatch, 13 language display, and an auto calendar.  In other words, it’s a very complicated watch that you might actually need to glance at the instructions to learn how to use.  Casio is selling these in five different colors for $59 a piece.

Source: OhGizmo


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The ThinkGeek Epoch Clock

Want to show the rest of the world that your brain is a cut above the rest? Well, with the ThinkGeek Epoch Clock, you are able to impress geeks with your ability to read binary numbering systems in a flash, while the rest of the room try to figure out just what is that strange looking device trying to say.

Reminiscent of the Rosetta Stone this multi-format alarm clock helps you easily convert between different numbering systems. Do you need to be able to effortlessly read the time in Binary or Hexadecimal? Well that’s debatable - but quickly converting a time display like C:2B into 12:43 (while others stare blankly at this clock) makes it pretty clear that you are a human possessing superior number skills. Like the enigmatic monolith from 2001, this clock will appear only as a mysterious geometric shape to those of inferior intelligence. The more evolved will easily decode the elegant time display rendered by its LEDs. Others may appreciate beautiful words or works of art but your language has always been numbers, the closest expression of eternal truth.

Features of the ThinkGeek Epoch Clock include :-

  • Displays the time in multiple formats: Standard, Hexadecimal, Octal, Binary, Roman
  • Unix epoch time display
  • Day, month, year display
  • Date display and Unix epoch display can be turned off/on
  • 12-hour (AM/PM) or 24-hour (military time)
  • Alarm clock with snooze and two volume settings
  • Back-up power from two AA batteries
  • USB port on back provides output power
  • Awesome LED display

This puppy will cost you a cool $49.99 - know any geeks who need a clock desperately this Christmas?


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Cool Gift Ideas for People to Make

Our next gift guide is aimed at the techie that enjoys making stuff before playing with it.

Magna-Bones 32 pcs - $14.99

Magna-Bones 32 pcs

Magna-Bones includes the skeletal remains of a Triceratops. Once you dig out your bones, assemble and pose Tri-Tops. Learn about their history and life on the collectable tin card.
- Feel like a real paleontologist!
- Build cool models with bone shaped rods.
- Endless hours of construction!
- An excellent way to develop scientific knowledge and social development.

The Magna-Bones 32 pcs is available from Amazon for $14.99.

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Wooden War Engine Kits - $19.99+

Wooden War Engine Kits

These kits let you bring back all the fun of flinging. Each one can assemble in just a few hours, and provides a fantastic scale model of an actual war weapon of yore. The catapult is perfect for chucking balls of paper and other small objects over cubicle walls. The trebuchet is better for long range targets (like the water cooler or networked printer). And, all you need to put them together are some strong fingers (or pliers), a cutting tool, and glue (not included). Both kits are perfect for showing your love of retro weaponry.

The Wooden War Engine Kits is available from Think Geek for $19.99+.

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Classic Video Table Tennis Kit - $19.99+

Classic Video Table Tennis Kit

Blocky table tennis with a ball and two paddles was one of the first real video games to make it into mainstream culture. It took an awful lot of high-tech electronics in 1972 to create this classic game. Now however you can cobble together your very own Classic Video Table Tennis Game with a little determination and some basic soldering skillz. This kit contains a pre-printed circuit board and 39 various resistors, diodes, and capacitors. Solder everything together (following the instructions we hope) and plug the audio and video into any standard TV for instant Table Tennis action. You can play against another lowly human or challenge the computer at four different skill levels.

The Classic Video Table Tennis Kit is available from Think Geek for $19.99+.

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Cannon Propulsion Kit - $20.97

Cannon Propulsion Kit

Explore basic concepts of physics as you aim and fire cannons at your target.
- Harness electric power to fire cannons at a target
- Measure speed, velocity and inertia of moving objects
- Learn about math, gravity and parabolic flights of projectiles
- Comes with a built-in measuring tape for precise experiments

The Cannon Propulsion Kit is available from Discovery for $20.97.

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100 Project Snap Together Circuitboard Kit - $29.95

100 Project Snap Together Circuitboard Kit

With dozens of exciting projects to choose from, this kit teaches children how electricity works and guides them through building their own burglar alarm, flashlight, doorbell, and more. All parts are mounted on plastic modules and snap together easily (no soldering is necessary), and disassemble quickly so they can be used to build something else. The instruction manual introduces children to such electrical terms as “capacitor”, “resistor,” and “integrated circuit,” and takes them step by step through one hundred experiments.

The 100 Project Snap Together Circuitboard Kit is available from Hammacher for $29.95.

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MAKE: Technology on Your Time (Subscription) - $34.95

MAKE: Technology on Your Time (Subscription)

MAKE brings the do-it-yourself mindset to all the technology in your life and celebrates your right to tweak, hack, and bend your technology to your will. MAKE ignites your ingenuity and connects you with your fellow “Makers.”

The MAKE: Technology on Your Time (Subscription) is available from Amazon for $34.95.

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Hydrodynamic Building Set - $69.99

MAKE: Technology on Your Time (Subscription)

The instruction manual shows you how the girders connect, how to build the various tanks, and some rendered images of completed projects - but not step-by-step. Your entire model gets built up from the bottom of the carrying case, which acts as the water reservoir and also has a special footing to be the structure’s foundation. Level by level, you build your support frame and add your tanks. Then connect all the tubes, add in the valves, and turn on the electric pump. If you’ve done it right, you’ll have an awesome construction everyone will marvel at (a little food coloring helps). Fail and you’re all wet - quite probably literally.

The Hydrodynamic Building Set is available from Think Geek for $69.99.

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Executivity Spring Bend Twin Tower - $88.99

Executivity Spring Bend Twin Tower

Spring Bend Twin Tower Motorized Marble Run ages 9 to Adult. Excutivity is an entertaining toy for the excutives who are still enchanted by sophisticated toys and gadgets. This is a spectacular building construction toy with a motorized elevator. This fun innovative product is great for adults and kids ages 9 and up. Lots of motorized movement and creativity. AA Batteries not included.

The Executivity Spring Bend Twin Tower is available from Amazon for $88.99.

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LEGO Mindstorms NXT - $224.99

LEGO Mindstorms NXT

Sure, Mindstorms NXT is a toy, but it is an important toy, like a piano or a chemistry set. It’s one of those items that engages an imagination and possibly opens doors to new interests. Since our future is surely to be shared with robots–it’s already started happening, just look at Roomba–those robots will need, at least initially, humans to program and maintain them. Those people, years from now, will likely remember their experiences with Lego Mindstorms.

The LEGO Mindstorms NXT is available from Amazon for $224.99.

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6 Foot Working Ferris Wheel Kit - $499.95

6 Foot Working Ferris Wheel Kit

Offered exclusively by Hammacher Schlemmer, this operating Ferris Wheel from K’NEX, makers of innovative construction sets worldwide, rises to 6′ when assembled, with an intricate design that harks back to George Ferris Jr.’s original 1893 creation. Containing 8,550 pieces, the color-coded rods, connectors, and gears snap together easily to form the wheel’s platform, frame, and cars. Simply follow the step-by-step illustrated instructions to create this working masterpiece. A heavy-duty electric motor leisurely turns the Ferris wheel through two full revolutions a minute.

The 6 Foot Working Ferris Wheel Kit is available from Hammacher for $499.95.

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Transformers Optimus Prime Projection Alarm Clock

We all know that Michael Bay has at least another Transformers movie up his sleeves, which is why you will find Transformers toys sell very well during the movie release, with Hasbro executives laughing all the way to the bank. Why not launch a pre-emptive strike on the speculator’s market with the Transformers Optimus Prime Projection Alarm Clock? After all, for £24.99 you will get a decapitated Optimus Prime who speaks phrases (’Autobots transform and roll out’, ‘This is Optimus Prime, do you read me?’, ‘It’s time to stomp some Decepticons’) that suit the Autobot leader’s personality while projecting the Autobot Shield every time the alarm goes off!


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iBreath Alcohol Breathalyzer for your iPhone or iPod

Just when you thought that iPod accessories consist of nothing but cases, speaker docks and earphones, along comes the iBreath Alcohol Breathalyzer. This is pretty much a self-explanatory device - it allows you to take your own alcohol breath test before your brain cells decide that it is better to catch a cab home instead of attempting to rush headlong into a DUI charge.

The iBreath Alcohol Breathalyzer does not require any batteries to run as it sips power off the iPod it is connected to, and all functions as well as results are shown on the iBreath LCD display. It has a BAC range of 0.000 to 0.100% and comes with a timer to let you know when’s the next time for a test. Nice to see it comes with an integrated FM transmitter as well, transmitting your favorite iPod tunes to just about any FM tuner.

Further info.


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The Hanging Alarm Clock jerks out of your reach

This new alarm hangs on a 30cm cable and when it’s time to wake up it will creep up that cable and hide out on your ceiling.  The only way to shut it off is to grab it off the ceiling and hit the stop button.  Which means you’ll end up having to stand to reach the thing.  Hopefully you don’t have a cat though, because it would end up attempting to rip it down from the ceiling.  Which doesn’t look good for either your alarm clock or the cat.

To hit the snooze button, before it reaches the top, smack it good.  Then after five minutes if you haven’t shut it back off it will go off all over again.  The alarm itself actually ticks all the while giving off the sound of a wailing siren.  Then to top it off it flashes a white light.  All together this light would drive anyone insane.  You can pick it up for $29.50 or £19.95 on Firebox.

Source: Newlaunches


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