No, it's not some kind of futuristic crossbow, though we would certainly understand if you thought it was. This weird-looking contraption is the "Loopwing Wind Turbine," a wind-powered energy source designed for home use and scheduled for official introduction at Japan's Eco-Products 2006 Exhibition. Treehugger says the device's wing design operates with "low vibration" but notes that the specs are vague--"43 percent power performance at optimum wind speeds," whatever that means. Still, we're reasonably sure it has more guts than the recently discovered wind-operated lamp.
This is either a mildly interesting gift idea or a way to ruin the holidays/someone's life.
The DNA Ancestry Project has produced a CD-ROM Participation Kit that gives you information on your family history and heritage. Packages range from $119 to $199, not including shipping. The interactive features allow users to collaborate with other project participants to research his or her own ethnic and national origins back 150,000 years ago.
For a fun C.S.I.-style twist, there's a cheek swab kit included. The DNA Ancestry Project will trade you the stuff you've scraped … Read more
Here's yet another stocking stuffer for the 007 wannabe in your family. When he/she is on a mission and doesn't have a miniature spy camera to photograph secret documents, the "DocuPen RC800" might well come in handy.
Portable scanners have been around for years, but this one claims to be the smallest ever made. It isn't really pen-sized--unless you happen to have unusually large hands--but it's close enough, weighing only 2 ounces and scanning a full page in 4 seconds. The drawbacks are the price ($300 or $350) and a few usability issues … Read more
It's one of the experiences we dread most: The cursed "Check Engine" light goes on. That's when you're destined for the even worse experience of seeing the mechanic.
The most frustrating thing is you're never sure if it's something real or just a cranky electrical circuit deciding to be difficult. Either way, you know you'll be paying for it somehow. That's why we have high hopes (and prayers) for the "CarMD" to succeed. We know this handy gadget debuted a few months back, but it's worth mentioning again … Read more
When we got the 2006 BMW X5 in for review eariler this year, we panned it for its pathetic tech offering: the baseline model (which came with a price tag north of $50K) didn't even come with a CD player, insulting our tech sensibilites instead with--brace yourselves--a cassette deck. Well, from famine, we go to feast. Today at the 2007 LA Auto Show, BMW unveiled its next-generation, 2008 model-year X5. We're pleased to announce that the cassette player is gone, and in its place is a veritable host of interior tech features, including a simplified iDrive, a rear-seat … Read more
How about a video game in your FJ Cruiser? Or just a kickin' audio system in whatever you drive? Toward the end of our first day at the Los Angeles Auto Show, we stumbled across the Al & Ed Autosound booth. This custom installer goes far beyond merely upgrading stereos. Founded in 1954, the company can do to a car just about anything that a customer wants and can pay for.
In its booth, the company had a GMC Yukon Denali modified with sideboards that automatically lower when a door is opened. The Denali also had a cappuccino maker between … Read more
At the Los Angeles Auto Show, Ford unveiled its redesigned 2008 Escape, so we no longer have to complain about small LCDs and CD changers mounted under the passenger seat. The new Ford Escape, which comes in straight gasoline and hybrid flavors, gets an exterior redesign that emulates its big brothers in Ford's SUV lineup. The front grille and headlights serve to emphasize the Ford-truck look.
But tough doesn't preclude green in Ford's playbook. The 2008 Ford Escape uses 100-percent recycled material for its fabric seats. And if that's not green enough for you, the hybrid … Read more
The 2008 Saturn Vue, unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show, brings significant upgrades to the exterior and interior of this small and affordable SUV. Exterior lines are considerably softened from the previous model's, and vents have been added to the front fenders--we assume to better cool the big 3.6-liter V-6 engine in the XR and Red Line versions. Any Vue with a V-6 also gets a new 6-speed automatic transmission. But Saturn doesn't end its technical upgrades there. The Vue will now have a navigation system as an option, and even the standard stereo plays MP3 … Read more
We were expecting to see a convertible version of the 2008 Chrysler Sebring here today at the LA Auto Show; what surprised us was the kind of drop-top that was unveiled. In additon to a soft-top convertible, Chrysler showed off the 2008 Sebring with a power-retractable hard top, following the recent trend among automakers to offer an alternative to tradional ragtops.
Like that of the Volvo C70 that we reviewed recently, the Sebring's roof folds away in an elaborate process of interleaving panels, with the whole process taking less than 30 seconds from start to finish. Chrysler claims that … Read more
If you're a Cingular customer who's crazy over Motorola's Krzr K1, it appears you may not have to wait much longer for the thin handset. Though the carrier has made no official announcement regarding the phone's availability, an eagle-eyed Crave reader recently reported that the phone was featured in a Cingular ad in the November 30 issue of Rolling Stone. The ad was equally mum on a release date, but when I called a local Cingular store, an employee told me it wouldn't be available until next year.
Yes, it's all a bit mysterious, … Read more