The weekly gadget review

By November 05, 2007

This week, Atelier reviews what is trendy on the web magazine of our great expert contributor, dedicated to consumer electronics news and reviews. Solar-powered Owi grasshopper This bug-eyed Owi grasshopper look

s exceedingly cute, and best of all it is capable of keeping your little ones entertained all day long without worrying about forking out additional dough to keep this toy going as it draws its sustenance from the sun, just like how Kal-El does. It won't be able to fly around though, but this $21 toy will surely go a long way in introducing alternative energy principles so that little Johnny would by a Prius instead of a Hummer when he grows up.
Eclipse Office Partitioning System
The Eclipse Office Partitioning System is the perfect workplace concept for those 'hermits' in the office, as it keeps your personal space private and far away from peering eyes. This interesting concept comes with a desk, task chair, expandable hood, integrated speakers, and power all set on casters for true mobility. I wonder whether there is such a thing as a claustrophobic hermit - now that would be truly ironic. Hopefully there is some sort of ventilation system built in as well as improved acoustics, since a cramped space such as this will surely result in lots of echo while the lack of fresh air could lead to cabin fever - whereby its updated 21st century version would be known as cubicle fever.
USB Vacuum Cleaner
The way the corporate environment is structured these days, pressure is always bearing down on workers to complete never-ending tasks. This leads to a shortened lunch break, and most folks have experienced the inconvenience of snacking at the keyboard while going through long-overdue reports. Crumbs from late-nite pizzas and tea-time sandwiches are bound to drop on the keyboard and its surrounding area, which is where this USB Vacuum Cleaner comes in handy. Measuring 8" tall, this retro-looking peripheral sucks up any offending food bits in exchange for $20. The cord measures 45" long, so it ought to be sufficient for most cubicles.
Taser-proof gear to be patented
Somebody has gone through the trouble to apply for a patent for an "energy weapon protection device", which means you could soon see Taser-proof gear being sold at a retail store near you. Not too sure whether this patent will be approved or not, or else the peacekeeping forces in our country will have to find a different method to neutralize threats in high tension situations.
MII Flashcam records video as well
The MII Flashcam is one unique flashlight as it not only helps you see when everything around you is pitch black, it also features a built-in video camera that helps record whatever's going on. Makes me wonder whether this was an inspired product after watching the Blair Witch Project. Encased within its matte-black aircraft-grade aluminum body is a high-resolution Sony system, a 1.5" color LCD, and 1GB RAM (good for an hour of video and audio). It can switch between its Hi-Flux LEDs and night-vision mode at the touch of a button, making it the perfect device to record dastardly deeds done in the middle of the night. This water-resistant flashlight will set you back by $1,500.
Casio USB Label Mouse Printer
Casio has just released a mouse that doubles up as a label printer - a first of its kind, I believe. This Casio USB Label Mouse Printer works great for those who absolutely have the need to label just about everything in sight, but do take note that the thermal roll paper isn't exactly cheap, retailing for $14 for a pack of 3. As for the mouse itself, it will cost you $29. Truly an interesting addition to your desktop if you are trying to kill two birds with a single stone.
Winnie The Pooh Alarm Clock Nanny Cam
This Winnie The Pooh Alarm Clock Transmitting Camera is perfect for paranoid parents who have no choice but to work while leaving their child with a nanny back home. While it takes time to build trust between people, at least this nanny cam will be able to stand in at the moment just in case any untoward incidents happen to the child. Not only does it transmit full color video, it also records audio thanks to the integrated microphone. The alarm clock is powered by a couple of AA batteries, but the receiver and camera have their own separate power supply. You can pick one up for £98.99 after taxes.
Oven burns garbage, powers slum
Fancy an oven that uses garbage as fuel while providing power? This is what's happening in a Kenyan slum, as a specially designed oven features a superheated steel plate within an incinerator box that vaporizes drops of water. Released oxygen from this manner helps burn up discarded oil from vehicles - one of the chief causes of pollution in the slum area, which pushes up the temperature. It is hoped that this cooker will be able consume half a ton of waste energy each day when its trial finishes in approximately a month. Sounds like something every nation could use, and not just slums.
Fisher-Price Smart Cycle
Fisher-Price has just released its Smart Cycle, a physical learning arcade system that targets kids. We all know how tiny tots have tons of energy to burn up, and it would be better for them to spend it that way instead of getting in your hair at home. The Smart Cycle connects to a TV and supports game cartridges in order to introduce some variety, although those are sold separately. This exercising toy targets kids aged between 3 to 6 years and retails for $89.92. Would you get that or settle for the Wii Fit instead, since that title will be able to be played by the entire family?
Gasoline car now runs on solar power
Japanese scientists have taken a standard gas-powered car (the legendary Mazda MX-5 in this case) and converted it to rely purely on solar power to run. This was made possible by the Total Mobility Project, as the team removed the MX-5's engine and gas tank in lieu of an electric motor and battery. Seven solar panels were also installed across the hood of the car, and this setup enabled the vehicle to run at a top speed of 100km/h with a maximum range of 30km. Conversion will hit your pocket hard though, as the entire process will cost $21,000 but for drivers who run an average of 60km a day can save up to $8,400 across the time span of five years. Guess it will take a good 15 years or so before you can start counting your ROI, which by then the car would've probably be sent to the junkyard.
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