Leave it to the Japanese, makers of the Tamagotchi and offshoots like the "Otoizm," to bring the piggy bank to virtual life. The programmable "The Bank of Life," from Takara-Tomy, bears an LCD screen with information that reflects life in modern Japan. Spluch's description says it best: "A little Japanese man living in the screen starts off by living in a shoebox home and gradually upgrades to a luxury apartment reflecting on the amount of money in it." Call us old-fashioned, but we'll stick with the porcine variety.
'Tis the season to get sick, and Crave wants to do its part to help keep you healthy. We could list various types of bacteria-resistant and washable equipment on the market, but we've learned of another gadget that claims to detect and zap germs even before touching a piece of potentially infected hardware.
Hammacher Schlemmer says its "Handheld Germ-Eliminating Light" can "eliminate 99.99% of E-Coli, staphylococcus, salmonella, and germs that cause the flu and the common cold." The miracle gadget supposedly works with the same type of ultraviolet light and nanotechnology used to sterilize … Read more
In the end-of-'06 wrap-up madness, there are a whole lot of people talking about Web 2.0, YouTube, social media, connected-home technology, the Wii and its corresponding Wiinjuries...the list goes on. But there's been almost no mention of the rash of completely useless USB-powered devices that infested the gadget market in 2006 with a viciousness that can only be compared to bubonic plague in a medieval village or head lice in a kindergarten classroom. I mean, they were everywhere. They're so ubiquitous, in fact, that I've decided I'm not going to touch 'em in '… Read more
Next to digital photo frames, one of the most common products in gadget catalogs is the weather forecaster. But this trumps them all: an umbrella that tells you if it's going to rain.
The "Ambient Forecasting Umbrella" has an LED light built into the handle that pulses when it detects chances of showers according to an automatic AccuWeather feed. As Gearlog says, "If the chances of rain are 60 percent then the umbrella handle will pulse once every second. But if you see it pulsing a hundred times a minute then that means there's a … Read more
Trying to keep up with new cell phone releases is like counting raindrops in a thunderstorm. And for some people, the constant flood of new handsets is just too tempting to resist.
So if you're one of those junkies who must get a new phone or five every few months (you know who you are), then the "USB Phonebook Flash Drive" from Brando might be just what you need--or not, depending on whether you're seeking help with your addiction. This key stores your address book information and, with the adapters that are included, transfers it to … Read more
Whenever we'd stuck around long enough to see a movie's credits in the past, we always wondered what a "gaffer" was. Finally, thanks to research for Crave (and Wikipedia), we know now that the term refers to the lighting guru on the set.
The "Gaffer's Bounce Lamp," according to Hammacher Schlemmer, was designed by gaffer extraordinaire Edward Cohen, whose works include Spider-Man 2 and A Beautiful Mind. It apparently owes its name to the process of bouncing a 20-watt floodlight onto a "flexible, sanded polycarbonate reflector that directs a soft, diffuse light.&… Read more
When you finally become a celebrity (unless you already are one), this pen will mean you'll never have an excuse not to give out your autograph. Worse, you'll never have an excuse not to write a check when your career goes south.
That's because this writing instrument doesn't need ink to work--that's right, Skippy. Instead, it has a metal-alloy tip that can write on most types of paper and will never smudge or be erased, according to Spluch. That could come in especially handy when your bar napkins get wet.
As the inevitable New Year's resolutions are almost upon us, exercise equipment makers are coming out in full force. But if there's a common thread among them--despite dubious claims of effectiveness--it's their penchant for odd designs.
The latest evidence of this trend is the "My5 Power Plate." (Is it just us, or does a weight-loss machine that includes the word "plate" in its name seem ill-advised?) But it's not just the look of this thing that bothers us; it's how it supposedly works. So far as we can tell, the basic … Read more
Home telephones are like TV sets of the '70s and '80s--except for the cordless breakthrough, technology has seen scant change compared with other consumer products. VTech wants to change that with its new "infoPhone" (not to be confused with the iPhone, thank you very much).
The landline handset is designed to handle many functions that most people reserve for the computer. As Gadgetell says, "The new ip8300 infoPhone uses the Internet to access information directly on the cordless handset's color LCD screen, including news headlines, weather reports, horoscopes, local directory searches and more"--all according … Read more
If CD players like this had been designed earlier, the pending extinction of the disc might have been put off for years.
The "Square CD" player from Yanko Design is as much a work of art as it is a piece of technology, similar to the "Cuboglass" TV. (Both are designed in Italy, of course.) In each case, the appliance is meant to be displayed as part of the decor even when turned off.
Unlike most products created with this concept in mind, however, the Square CD looks even better turned on. That's because the … Read more