Its prototype, dubbed the "Hana"--which means "flower" in Japanese--has taken an appropriately Ikebana form that kind of looks like a silver-plated calla lily illuminated by an LED. Whatever it resembles, the lamp functions as an MP3 player with "full-length" speakers, according to Plastic Bamboo, though we can't quite tell what that means from this photo alone. Speaking of which, … Read more
It's UMPC day at the Intel Developer Forum in Beijing, and Intel offered plenty of examples of devices that would be built on the just-announced Ultra Mobile Platform 2007. The Fujitsu pictured here, spotted on UMPC Portal, particularly caught our attention: it looks like a consumer-electronics version of the LifeBook P1610 tablet, which has long been a niche product marketed to business travelers. It begs the question: will UMPCs ever move into the mainstream?
As a former hamster owner, I can tell you that this concept for a hamster-powered paper shredder is really, really inefficient. Sure, it's not a mass-market product, but rather a design concept by artist Tom Ballhatchet that will be on display in Milan next week. The device works like this: the hamster runs on the wheel, which powers the shredder, which shreds the paper into hamster bedding. Clever, right?
Um, here's another idea. Just put the paper in the hamster's cage. Hamsters' teeth never stop growing, which is why they constantly need to chew on things. Consequently, … Read more
I won't even bother making the requisite jokes about how it's well past 2000 and we should all be behind the wheels of flying cars by now--that humor is so 2006. But I'm really digging the design of the SmartFish, a Swiss prototype for a hydrogen fuel-cell mini-aircraft that will optimally be more efficient than a car and will be able to travel at 560 miles per hour. Ooh, speedy. It'll be about 20 feet long and will hold two people, though the designers hope to work on a 20-seater version yet. (Perfect for your kid'… Read more
A lot of the "conceptual gadgets" we feature here are just for laughs. Case in point: Buster the snail vacuum. But this one, called Coo.Boo, I think is actually pretty neat. It's shaped like a spatula, but it's actually a "digital cookbook" that wirelessly collects recipe information or even audio-visual cooking lessons from your computer and displays them on its screen.
I love to find recipes on food blogs and recipe sites, so this could be really cool so that I don't have to either jet back and forth from the stove … Read more
Some of the coolest products at CES are destined never to make it onto store shelves or into homes. They're prototypes and mock-ups, designed to test new features or solicit industry feedback.
Fujitsu had a series of mobile PC prototypes on the show floor, each highlighting some interesting technology that may eventually trickle into mainstream consumer products.
One prototype was called the Ultra Mobile 2007. It's about the size of Mac Mini and is a handheld touch screen UMPC. Fujitsu describes it as, "A futuristic interpretation of an ultraportable tablet PC, fully operable via touch screen, a … Read more
Sony's gargantuan booth at CES 2007 covers a lot of real estate, and it's always packed full of onlookers soaking up the sights and sounds. But the flashy booth hides a dirty little secret: Aside from a handful of headline products, very few of the devices on display are actually new. Instead, the company waits until late February to announce a detailed product plan for the forthcoming year (at which time CNET will have in-depth coverage).
In the meantime, there are a few gems on display in the form of prototypes. Designed to showcase a technology or a … Read more
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.
Those of us who followed the Segway phenomenon back when it was known as "Ginger" and was touted as the biggest technological innovation since the Internet sometimes ask--what if? What could be done to this thoroughly dorky mode of transportation to make it really catch on? A ways back we wrote about a fratboy prototype called the "Kegway," which would make it a whole lot easier to booze on the go but also a whole lot easier to score yourself a DUI. Plus, there's the whole "laws of physics" thing that would probably … Read more
Why can't every dull domestic task involve a ridiculously cute appliance like this one?
I would actually look forward to pulling on the gardening gloves and clogs if I had this shiny white toy to play with. I mean, it's an electric lawnmower-slash-mulcher shaped like a bubble. With neon green accents! Sigh.
Alas, the Droplet Electric Mower/Mulcher is but a prototype created by Australian designer Ashley Marsh-Croft. Ash-Design.com says the Droplet is designed with small spaces in mind and meant to improve the gardening experience. Check aaaand check. I'm sold. Can they just please make … Read more