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     Volume 6 Issue 28 | July 20, 2007 |

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Mitsubishi hiring out robots as receptionists
Robots have long been a mainstay on high-end factory floors, but now they're getting a lot more social and interacting with humans in the workplace. These Mitsubishi robots, named Wakamaru, are being hired out in Japan as receptionists for $1000 a day or $25,000 a year. It turns out these goofy-looking yellow droids are pretty good at the job, recognizing faces and even chatting it up with the customers, using their 10,000-word vocabulary to amaze and entertain. Standing at 3'3" tall and weighing 66 pounds, the robots cut a decidedly non-imposing figure, flashing a dorky-looking expression and generally doing non--threatening things. While we see opportunities for employing non--judgmental servants, others may sense the beginning of the end for humanity. It might be a little of both.

Ring, The Vibrating Alarm
Here's a design concept that's long overdue: It's a vibrating alarm that you wear on your finger, bypassing all that morning racket for a gentle jostling. Each of the two rings can have its own separate wake-up time, designed for comfort with an elastic band so you'll hardly know you're wearing it. When you wake up, place the ring on its charging stand, and its indicator light lets you know when its power's replenished.
This design is especially appropriate for two people who must awaken at different times, or for the hearing impaired. However, some users may sleep so deeply they don't even feel that tingling on the finger. Perhaps it could also be designed with a Taser-like electric shock. On second thought, that may not be very popular feature.

iTravl Translates Nine Languages
While some people would say that the iTravl is what I use to write my posts, I don't really know how well it translates between English and the eight languages it supports using its look-Ma-no-hands speech recognition system. In addition to translating your gringo babbling into Chinese, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish out loud (and vice versa), the Ectato's iTravl includes Fodor's guides for 50 cities around the world and audio guides to the most important museums. According to the company, the $499 iTravl recognises 63,000 phrases and includes 1,600,000 words and even slang terms. Now that should come in handy.

Ionic Fridge Freshener Tries to Suck Up Stench
This concept of ionic deodorisation sounds mysterious and scientific, sure to convince the innocent that it will certainly do some good, maybe even kill a few of those horrible germs in the process. Maybe it does. We're big fans of that fresh, wonderful smell after a severe summer thunderstorm, and that's related to ions, isn't it? The cordless Ionic Fridge Freshener might work even better if you put an open container of baking soda next to it. This prettified tin can might do an especially good job of keeping that prosaic-looking box of Arm & Hammer company. The item is only available in Britain for £8.95.

Cellphone Transforms Into Deadly Robot
Check out this transforming cellphone concept found over at Parkoz Hardware. It turns into a little bi-pedal bot, complete with twin miniguns. Definitely reminiscent of scenes from Michael Bay's Tranformers, with a little bit of Batteries, Short Circuit and Robocop Koreans get the coolest cellphones, so it figures their concepts are going to be a hit too.

Firewinder Turns Wind Into Light
The more the wind blows, the brighter Firewinder glows. The concept utilises a corkscrew with light wrapped around the edges of the spiral, which spins when wind strikes it from any direction, converting the power generated by this spin into usable energy. It's certainly a cool idea, and if found to be reliable enough for small lights or storefronts, the Firewinder might corkscrew its way off the cutting room floor and into our hearts.

Compiled by IMRAN H. KHAN

Source: Gizmodo Online and WIRED

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