8GB HDD in Micro-drive
Japanese electronics giant Hitachi employee Saori Osu displays the world's first HDD/DVD hybrid camcorder called the "Hybridcam Wooo", equipped with a 3.31 mega-pixel CCD on its image sensor, a 6.1 - 61mm/F1.8 - 3.0 zoom lens. Information is stored on an 8GB Micro-drive HDD on its DVD camcorder body. Hitachi has recently put it on the market with a price tag of USD 1,130.
Home Office? It's in the Yard
A Canadian company has made the jump to cedar-wood 2.0, modifying its standard hot-tub enclosure and marketing it as a backyard Do It Yourself home office kit. Cedarsheds specialises in gazebos and spa enclosures, and each kit includes a customer survey. The company noticed a demand for home office kits surfacing in the surveys and got serious about offering one in February. Using the basic design of a spa enclosure, it created the office kit that debuted at the national hardware show in Las Vegas last May. "Everyone is trying to become their own boss. It's the flexibility, and being able to call your own shots," Cedarsheds President Bruce Cheng said. "With that and gas prices, people want to work from a home office and employers are getting more receptive." Cedarsheds' basic kits run USD 13,000 and include prefab materials to construct a sturdy 10-foot-by-12-foot office with a 9-foot-by-9-foot deck. Although he admits the kits are a little pricey, Cheng argues they cost less than a room addition, don't require contractors and can be assembled and ready for use in one to four days. "It just looks cool, it looks like nature. It looks like I'm out in the woods. That is the picture I want to project."
Clean Diesel Alternatives Growing
While low-sulfur diesel is making its way to fuel stations across the country, new diesel additives are promising to further clean up the once dirty vehicles. Oxonica is selling Envirox, a diesel additive that uses nano-sized particles to enhance the combustion efficiency of the fuel. The Oxford, England, company claims that Envirox increases fuel efficiency by 5 to 10 percent while reducing particulate emissions by up to 15 percent. The company signed a multimillion dollar deal with Petrol Ofisi of Turkey to add Envirox to its fuel supply. Meanwhile, O2Diesel is getting more buyers of its fuel that combines ethanol and an oxygenating additive with diesel to reduce particulate and NOx emissions. O2 Diesel previously said it's fuel was made from biomass, but in Kansas, the company is using corn. It will take a few years to remove the smelly stigma associated with diesel vehicles, but we will likely have a lot more of the vehicles on the road by 2010, hopefully many of which powered biodiesel.
Eco-Heating System for the Lazy
Until now, pellet heating systems have appealed mainly to the ambitiously eco-minded -- it takes a little work to keep them up and running. Now, a new system could attract even the indolent environmentalist. Most pellets are made from a single fuel source, usually wood or corn, and commercially available stoves usually burn one or the other, not both. Bixby Energy Systems has developed a pellet made from various types of biomass and a stove that can burn all of them. The pellet formula can be customised to use local resources, such as grape waste, olive pits, almond shells, cotton-gin trash and hog waste, cutting shipping and distribution costs. "Various experts insisted I couldn't make a business out of this," said Bob Walker, founder of Bixby. Bixby's first generation stove, the 55,000 BTU MaxFire, burns corn, wood or biomass pellets at 99.7 percent combustion efficiency, meaning it gives off little ash. One remaining drawback to pellet stoves is, well, the pellets. Unlike other fuels, pellets have to be bought and stored, and the stove must be refilled regularly. The extra work can be too much hassle even for consumers with the best intentions. The company has also acquired a delivery company that will bring biomass pellets directly to the consumer, depositing them into a storage tank that the furnace can access automatically.
Watch Doubles as a Bluetooth Headset
The Bluevoice is primarily a wristwatch -- but when you get a phone call, you can detach the watch face and use it as a Bluetooth headset. When you hang up, you reattach it to the watchband. It's available in analogue and digital and sells for about USD 130. Besides the questions of hygiene raised by the idea of taking something out of your ear and wearing it on your wrist, it frankly just seems kind of silly, but we guess it's one way to keep from misplacing your headset.
The Standing Wheelchair
No, this isn't another generation of the Segway. It's a Standing Wheelchair, and despite its oxymornic name, we think it's a pretty empowering innovation. It lets folks with lower-body disabilities to stand upright, allowing them to function in ways the rest of us take for granted, whether it's pulling up to the counter at Starbuck's or talking to someone at eye level. We're not sure if this concept will make it to market, but it seems like it could improve the quality of many lives.
Compiled by IMRAN H. KHAN
Source: Wired and Webindia123
(R) thedailystar.net 2006