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 been all over the news and blogs today. Rather than launching a preemptive strike against North Korea (unless that's their next step), the U.S. government has decided to hit Kim Jong Il where it really hurts: they're cutting off his party-toy and gadget supply. Now that's a major ouch.
Of greater interest to tech-loving Crave readers, however may be the extensive list of Kim Jong Il's luxury preferences listed in the original Associated Press story. This is one dictator who really knows how to get the party started. In fact, I'm guessing … Read more
Murphy's Law for mobile phones: the minute you turn off your cell phone to spare your co-workers that Weird Al ring tone, your crush will finally dial or text message you.
MoPods can spare you this cruel fate. They're cutesy little plastic-encased creatures that rotate and flash to let you know you're being contacted when your phone can't. You can choose to get crazy cell phone dances from characters including a gangster, one-eyed monster, bulldog, monkey, pitchfork-wielding devil or pink kitten (hey, this gadget did originate in Japan!).
To work, the battery-run MoPods--which sell for about $… Read more
We're just as tired of LED products as you are, but this one is worth mentioning.
This mirror can show up to 4,000 characters that can scroll personalized messages displayed in different fonts and effects of your choosing, such as "Put down that cigarette" or "No doughnuts today." And you pay just $585 for the privilege of reading them all day.
On second thought, maybe this wasn't worth mentioning after all.
Do you enjoy watching Microsoft squirm as it tries to grapple with the open-source software movement? Well, there's a similar opportunity to rattle the cages of entrenched corporate powers, but this time it's the cages of hardware companies.
Bringing the open-source movement's collaborative approach to hardware is the ambition of the Fab@Home project at Cornell University. Project members hope to popularize all-purpose manufacturing devices--variously known as fabbers, 3D printers or rapid prototyping machines--and share the blueprints of the physical objects those machines can produce.
Who says marketing and science don't mix.
Zelens is selling skin creams whose active ingredient is C60, the soccer ball shaped molecules constructed out of 60 carbon atoms. Fullerene C60 led to Nobel prizes in chemistry for the individuals that first crafted the molecule.
Finding a practical, commercial application for C60, however, has been tough. Many companies have concentrated instead on its more elongated cousin, the carbon nanotube. Still, some in the medical field continue to work with C60. (Fullerene refers to the shape of the molecule.)
Zelens says that their face creams can neutralize free radicals 100 times … Read more
The "Reborg-Q," from Sohgo Security Services, is the latest evidence that Japan is moving toward a human-free society. We've already observed recent developments in that country's service industry, notably in hotels and hospitals, but security is a significant leap toward full-fledged borgdom. (That's Sci-Fi 101.)
Thankfully, the Reborg-Q is fully operational only with human assistance. "When the robot encounters something suspicious, it … Read more
This little dining table, which I read about at Treehugger, might either be the grossest or the coolest eco-tech idea I've heard in a while. Or maybe both. The cone-shaped thing under the table is a fabric bag that's home to a functioning ecosystem full of creepy crawlies like worms and sowbugs, which break down your leftover food and turn it into compost that your house plants or garden will find very yummy. The compost then sprinkles out the bottom of the bag when it's ready. Plus, there's an LCD screen that's hooked up to … Read more