MIT team reach new heights at super-speed

The last time I was trapped at the top of a burning building, I was quite miffed that it took firefighters so damned long to reach me climbing up their ropes.  In fact, I was so annoyed that I refused to go back down with them until they’d talked me through the complaints procedure and given me a form to fill in.  All that unpleasant paperwork would be a thing of the past if they’d only had Atlas Devices’ Rope Ascender.


Grill Alert gives BBQ info galore!

Grill Alert gives BBQ info galore!

Grill Alert consists of two units; A transmitter, a stick-like device that is jabbed into thie of meat in the grill, and a receiver that is put on a table nearby so that you can monitor the meat. Besides being a thermometer, you can set the level of cooking you want (rare all the way to well done).

This device is great if you have a smoker that smokes meat over a long period of time (I am investing in a smoker, so when I get it, a review will come for sure). If you don't want to sit next to your smoker for hours (like most people), you can carry around the receiver and it will beep when everything is ready.

The receiver is LCD, and has bars and words to guide you through. The whole unit can be bought for $75 USD over at Brookstone.

Grill Alert - Remote Meat Thermometer [Via: Uber-Review]

Underwater camera is bulky and low-res.

It would be easy for me to lambaste this wrist-worn underwater digital camera for a) being so bloody huge, b) only having a meagre pixel count (the 32mb of fixed internal memory can manage 360 pictures) or c) being intended for outdoors-types which, as a geek, intimidate me, but I’m not going to.  Because I’m sure there’s someone out there desperate to take low-quality shots of wet people, fish, plantlife and water at a depth of up to 30-feet, but who can’t afford anything more than the $79.95 being charged for this.

Y’see, it’s the day after Boxing Day and I’m still suffused with a gently contended glow, so mediocre products have some leeway with me.  So all you need to know is that the Digital Hero Waterproof Wrist Camera weighs less than 12 ounces, is both shockproof and waterproof (obviously) with auto-exposure and timer.


Up in the air, junior birdman

Have you ever looked at your hairdryer (or the hairdryer of a loved-one) and thought “yeah, make that much bigger, hang it from a crane and I could ride that bad boy!”?  Well if you have, you should’ve patented the idea; it’s too late to do it now, because New Zealand company Fly By Wire have already built a petrol-engined tethered sled that riders can fly around dizzily.

Attached by (hopefully very strong) cables to a point 200 metres above a canyon, riders use the adjustable fan-propeller to steer and control altitude.  A span of 400 metres means there’s a whole lot of airspace to whizz through, launching initially from a near-vertical position and plunging toward the ground.  Rides start at $95 (US) for 25-minutes.


Another Rugged Handheld PC

You know I love the rugged go-anywhere computers.  Even though I’m rarely more than six foot away from a well-paved surface, and harbour a deep phobia of greenery, the idea of a laptop (preferably a Tablet PC) which I could drop on my foot and sustain only broken toes rather than the far more serious hard-drive failure makes me tingle in my private areas.  Black Diamond are certainly hitting all the right spots with their SwitchBack Mobile PC – yes, it might not be a powerhouse, but its magnesium housing, rubber isolators and shock-mounted electronics mean that it either meets or exceeds the military specs for shock, vibration, humidity and extremes of temperature.

A 1.0GHz Celeron M doesn’t sound too bad, and 1GB of 400MHz DDR RAM is actually quite impressive considering the paltry amount most rugged handhelds seem to make do with.  Hard drive options up to 60GB – removable, at that – aren’t pathetic either.  There’s a full bevy of wireless options too; Bluetooth 2.0, WiFi b/g and GPS, together with a swappable module system on the rear of the device which can be used to add biometric scanners, RFID/barcode/mag-stripe readers, custom I/O devices or even additional processors, hard-drives or batteries.  The 5.6-inch outside-viewable touchscreen and button-rich thumb-board make control simple.


Finally, a legal way to watch falling squirrels

If you’re anything like me you’re currently wearing a jumper, drinking strong coffee and harbouring a love-hate relationship with squirrels.  On good days, I think they’re cute little fellas with their bright eyes and capable claws; on bad days, I think they’re disgusting rats with show-off tails.  Either way, I know that they cause havoc in gardens eating all the food people put out for the birds (don’t get me started on birds!) and becoming fat little barons.  Well, look out squirrels, because you’re going down!

The Rollerfeeder is a precariously-balanced drum of bird-food which, when a squirrel sets foot on it, tumbles round and dumps the rodent unceremoniously to the ground.  A carefully weighted bottom (just like my third wife) then rightens the drum so that small birds can again feast.  Large birds are probably unable to eat from this, due to being too heavy, but then they should lose some weight anyway unless they want to be cat food.

Rollerfeeder is available now for $79.95.  Go buy two.

Product Page [via OhGizmo!]

NEC says “pah!” to danger with rugged Tablet PC

You’re a rough and tumble kinda guy, with a taste for danger and buttocks like two firm plums in a handkerchief, and you demand the same rugged go-anywhere, do-anything spirit from your Notebook.  At the same time, you’ve a lovely style of cursive handwriting and you’d like to be able to show it off.  What you need, sunshine, is NEC’s latest hardy Tablet PC, the ShieldPRO.  Capable of being dropped 90cm without damage, withstanding temperature extremes of minus-20 to plus-50 degrees centigrade and shrugging off water, sand and dust that would make any normal notebook squeal like a piggy and run home to momma.

The spec sheet has obviously lagged a little behind the armouring – a 1.2GHz Core Solo U1400 processor and 256MB of RAM aren’t all that impressive, although the 60GB hard-drive and 12-inch XGA screen are better.  NEC will happily configure your ShieldPRO with a variety of hardware and OS options, however, before you go on your manly trek.


Logging sub makes short work of underwater forests

Anyone who thought that Thunderbird 4 was the best ever underwater craft might have to have a rethink after seeing the Sawfish.  Designed for underwater logging, the 7000lb remotely-operated craft was developed by Triton Logging and can harvest up to fifty trees in each dive, sending them floating to the surface via reusable inflatable airbags.

Sawfish control centrePowered by a 40-75HP electric motor that uses biodegradable and vegetable oil-based hydraulic fluids, a combination of eight video cameras and a sonar system allows the operator to use the Sawfish’s 55-inch chainsaw to make short work of underwater forests.  I think it has the potential to be this Christmas’ bath-toy.

Triton Logging Company [via Core77]

Tetra’s Go-Anywhere, Brave-Anything Tablet PCs

Few people know it, but Steve from The Carrypad UMPC Journal has the rugged body of a one-man mountain underneath his casual attire.  I think that’s why he’s drawn to ruggedised Tablet PCs, because only they can cope with the crushing forces of his enormous, Hulk-like hands.  Fresh for his pen-punishment come these three Tetra models from Logic Instrument, on display at the World of Mobility show last week.  Two slates and a convertible, bristling with rubberised bump cases and magnesium chassis, each is capable of surviving the perils of water, dust, salt air and being dropped.

They’re well worth a look if you’re interested in doing work in the harsh outdoors – or if, like Steve, you can snap a ThinkPad with a simple flex of your eyebrow.


Viteo outdoor shower sends 4m jets up your leg

It’s a hot day, you’re out in the garden with your bunny-head, you want to cool down.  Yeah, you could go indoors and have a drink, but drinking is for fools, sun-shy fools.  You could shelter underneath a small umbrella and/or parasol, but then what about your kick-ass tan?  Nah, what you need is this inverted shower from Viteo – you stand on it, press the middle-button, and water sprays up, potentially causing great surprise should a well-aimed jet manage to navigate the folds of your shorts.  Genius stuff.

 Viteo inverted outdoor shower

Viteo [via Core77]

Virtual Canoe stops short of simulating a soaking

The last time I got in a canoe I promptly ran it into a rock, capsized and drank what felt like half of a not especially clean river. True story. Something tells me that no matter how real this simulator, I’m not going to be spitting grit and small fish out for a few days after using it; that, to me, is a pro rather than a con.


Nanotechnology Strom Fishing Lures Catches More Fish

Nanotechnology Strom Fishing Lures Catches More Fish

For all ye fishermen out there prone to over-priced shiny lures. Coming out in October is the shiniest of them all created by the major vacuum equipment manufacturer, Ulvac. The "Strom" lure as they call it is produced using advanced nanotechnology featuring a nanocoating that makes it reflective and shiny from any angle you view it. Yes, fish like em shiny things, but I think these suckers attract more humans than fish as with most lure products on the market. However, Ulvac claims these lures, under much testing, prove to attract four times more fish. Anyhow, if you got the money, these suckers go for $25 a piece and come in two sizes, 2.4g and 3.7g.

Via: pinktentacle

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