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Good Thinking

RFID tag implant for humans DIY kit

May 5, 2006 While RFID hasn’t exactly got a great name in some circles thanks to the technology’s capabilities becoming a threat to privacy, there are some people on the planet who just can’t wait for the technology to develop. Like Amal Graafstra f’rinstance. Graafstra heard about RFID being used to tag cats and dogs and decided he wanted to explore what was possible. He now has two RFID implants - a 3mm by 13mm EM4102 glass RFID tag in his left hand and a 2mm by 12mm Philips HITAG 2048 S implant with crypto-security features and 255 bytes of read/write memory storage space in his right hand. Getting implants meant there was no need to carry an RFID access card around and he could implement his own RFID access control systems instead of buying expensive off-the-shelf products. Amal has now built systems that enable him to access his front door, car door, and log into his computer using his implants, and has written a book called RFID Toys ($US$16.50 here) which details how to build these and other RFID enabled projects and produced a kit of the parts you’ll need (book and kit US$96.85 here).  Read More

The PanelPod - turns a panel into a display

May 5, 2006 With sound and high resolution graphics, computers can now be used to display anything. You just need a convenient place to put the screen. Which makes the Panel Pod kinda handy. It’s not rocket science – just a convenient way to mount an LCD monitor or LCD TV to a tripod. It has widespread application at trade shows, store merchandising, as an adjunct to any vehicle for “tailgating”, backyard barbecues, home entertainment flexibility and experimanetation and corporate meeting rooms. It’ll handle a 20 inch screen with ease, can be set up and taken down in seconds and will handle up to 18 pounds - US$249 gets you the mount and tripod.  Read More

Personal Dashboard from Ambient Devices

May 3, 2006 Ambient Devices is a company which specialises in producing glanceable information displays which allow any customer to have a constant awareness of their important information, without the anxiety of information overload. Ambient's vision is to embed information representation into everyday objects such as lamps, pens, watches, walls, and wearables so the physical environment becomes an interface to digital information rendered in subtle changes in form, movement sound, colour or light.  Read More

Flying Billboard with wireless interactive marketing system

May 3, 2006 As the world of advertising continues to embrace new technologies, we will see some wonderous and compelling new ways to meet people who are selling what we need when we need it. Last week at the National Association of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas American Blimp Corporation’s Lightship/Lightsign subsidiary unveiled a new advertising platform of sheer genius. We’ve seen a few media concepts of great foresight of recent times, but this promises the hamburger with the lot to advertisers. The A-170 Video Lightsign airship marks a new era of outdoor advertising, one that has been long heralded by scifi writers – flying electronic billboards. It has a high quality colour LED screen measuring 30' X 70' that can be used to broadcast live TV, Internet sites, stock tickers, slide shows or any other media. Indeed, the Lightsign has been designed with such an array of technologies in mind, that it’s really more an integrated marketing medium than an outdoor medium utilizing GPS tracking (changing the message to suit the audience below and the time of day), two-way communication with customers, text messaging and phone tie-ins. Modern materials and technologies now offer what was previously an almost cost prohibitive promotional platform into a very cost-effective, completely portable arsenal of sticky and very effective marketing technologies to target a mass audience or select demographic or any captive audience! Mark our words – this is big!  Read More

The Beerbelly – stealth beverage container

April 28, 2006 The Beerbelly enables you to take up to 80oz. (2.4 litres) of your favorite beverage wherever you wish ... disguised as a beer belly. Primarily designed to avoid the high price of drinks at sporting events, movies etcetera, and to enable the consumption of alcohol where it’s not allowed, the device is still legally applicable to a wide range of leisure pursuits. The Beerbelly uses an insulated neoprene “sling” and a polyurethane “bladder” worn under your clothing for concealment, masquerades perfectly as a genuine beerbelly, and stays cold for hours! The Beerbelly is not exactly a socially or legally responsible and things could get ugly if you are apprehended, but the Beerbelly web site has thought of all this, offering helpful advice should you be challenged with the device in situ. In such situations the web site has a range of helpful and in some cases quite humourous strategies.  Read More

The Doffing Headphone

April 24, 2006 Etiquette is the code that governs the expectations of social behavior, the conventional norm. It is an unwritten code, and as per the famous quotation, means behaving yourself a little better than is absolutely essential. The rapid introduction of new technologies such as portable computers, cell phones and portable music players has created a technologically induced disconnect in how we act - they came upon us so suddenly that people have begun to act inappropriately and in many cases, downright rudely. Fortunately, new social protocols are evolving and we laud designer Synnove Fredericks for recognising this and creating a wonderful new social prop - the Doffing Headphone. It was all sparked off by a gentleman's protest against the decline of manners and etiquette in a mens magazine. Synnove read the article and soon after attended a Mobile Clubbing event in Liverpool Street Station in London. A Mobile Clubbing event is where a group of say 200 or so people gather with their personal stereos to listen to their preferred choice of music, while dancing with their friends. Watching the masses, Synnove noticed that social protocols had evolved so people could signify if they wished to remain inside their musical experience or wished to chat. “I noticed they would take one earpiece off if they were greeting someone but didn't want to stop, and both if they were stopping for conversation. This is similar to the tradition of hat doffing where a gentleman raises his hat is raised off the head in acknowledging someone in the street, or taken off and placed under the arm when stopping for conversation, particularly with a lady. So Synnove hatched an idea to “show how accessories can be used to communicate with strangers in a similar way to historical props, walking sticks, umbrellas, glasses etc.” Ladies and gentlemen, The Doffing Headphone  Read More

Cognitive Tutor 2006 Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II mathematics curricula

April 20, 2006 Mathematics underpins our understanding of the universe – it provides a lingua franca for everything we can measure and visualize. Which is why we think the new Cognitive Tutor 2006 software of the Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II mathematics curricula are so very important. Having an enthusiastic and knowledgeable teacher/mentor is something few people get to experience with mathematics. Having such attentive coaching and guidance available 24 hours a day during those structured learning years is a gift and it is now available in an extraordinarily advanced form. Carnegie Learning's curricula are based on more than two decades of cognitive science research at Carnegie Mellon University studying how students think, learn, and apply new knowledge in mathematics. The instructional format was developed around an artificial intelligence model that identifies weaknesses in each individual student's mastery of mathematical concepts, customizes prompts to focus on areas where the student is struggling, and prescribes new problems addressing those specific concepts. A Teacher's Toolkit provides the instructor with a report on each student's progress in each area on an ongoing basis and this works particularly well for gifted students – results with exceptional students are also exceptional. If you are a student or have a child who is a student, this is worth a look.  Read More

Fully-automated DropOff and PickUp Station

April 19, 2006 Automated convenience is a growing market, and we’ve recently written about several interesting developments such as a fresh flowers vending machine, a fully-automated convenience store (no staff) and an intriguing temporary physical Virtual Store. Now the envelope is being pushed even further. Last year eAnytime began work on a medication dispensing system with biometric pre-authorisation to complement its virtual nurse biometric dose dispensing kiosks. Now it has announced an ingenious DropOff & PickUp station that opens up a plethora of new retail possibilities and partnerships. The kiosk (pictured) will enable dry cleaners to partner with supermarket and convenience store chains, large employers, office and apartment building management and hotels. The kiosks are being marketed as a cost effective alternative to staffed drop stores and home and office delivery and when installed in a processing store, can even act as a front-end to a racking system. In addition to dry cleaning, the stations can also address laundering, alterations and repairs, leather apparel, household goods and shoe repair and uniform distribution.  Read More

Flowcasting the Retail Supply Chain - groundbreaking book

April 18, 2006 As product lifecycles grow impossibly short and the public remains as fickle as ever, one of the most vexing problems facing supply chain managers worldwide is persistent and pervasive out-of-stocks at the retail store shelf. Help may be at hand though, with the launch next month of a new book entitled “Flowcasting the Retail Supply Chain.” To be released on May 21, 2006 at the Retail Systems Conference in Chicago, the new book reveals how a single forecast conducted at the retail shelf level can drive the entire retail supply chain, eliminating forecasting at all other nodes. The book suggests by using "Flowcasting," instead of forecasting at each level of the supply chain, trading partners will be able to be able to remove US$600 Billion (USD) worth of costs out of the US$10.36 Trillion Global Consumers Goods Industry. Read on to see the praise the book has earned already from those who have seen advanced copies. The first five chapters of the book can also be downloaded free of charge …  Read More

Completely remote PowerPoint presentation tool

April 17, 2006 The Powerpoint presentation remains a crucial corporate communication tool and the latest X-Pointer II Wireless presenters look to us to offer a significant advantage over most other presentation devices. Boasting a 50 metre, the US$180 X-Pointer II operating range allow users complete geographic freedom to walk amongst the audience to read the response, while controlling PowerPoint presentations remotely without the need to physically stand by their computers. The wireless mouse and laser pointer weighs in at just 60g but the ability to have 256 MB of built-in flash memory means you can have your presentation in the remote too – great for plug-and-play functionality after last minute adjustments. The built-in memory means users have the ultimate in mobility as they can save their presentations on the unit without the need for additional disks or drives. X-Pointer is seeking international distribution.  Read More

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