Gadget lovers still shivering with iPhone shock should take a moment to collect themselves.
Even in the gizmo limbo between major electronics shows and holiday shopping seasons, more electronic toys for all ages are on their way.
Many upcoming goodies were previewed recently in Manhattan, two months before the DigitalLife consumer technology show.
For owners of portable media players who love their music so much they never want it to stop even while they chat and socialize, Ken Wright has an answer.
The veteran inventor created AirDrives, new earphones that let life’s sounds in instead of blocking them out like popular noise-cancelling models. He calls it adding “a soundtrack to your life”.
“It’s a neat experience. You can go for a walk and hear birds chirping and music,” Wright said. He said he developed the technology after worrying about the hearing of his 13-year-old daughter, who was often sealed off from the world behind earphones.
AirDrives hook over the ears and lie just outside, instead of slipping in like traditional ear buds. It is possible to talk to someone and hear them clearly while the music plays, sounding as if there were a stereo in the room.
Wright said the earphones are good for jogging while staying aware of traffic, listening at work while not missing calls and even enjoying tunes while talking on the phone.
Mad Catz Inc. sells AirDrives for a suggested retail price of $99.99 (about Rs4,000), or $69.99 for a kid-sized version. It can be ordered at www.airdrives.com and should begin shipping next month.
Turning from ears to eyes, VTech Electronics Ltd will, this fall, sell a digital photo and video camera for kids aged three and up.
The Kidizoom ($59.99) is a 0.3-megapixel camera that can store 120 photos or five minutes of video in a chunky orange and yellow package. The camera can connect to TVs or PCs for playback, photo editing, and adding special effects and games.
While the kids are snapping pictures, parents may want to kick back and listen to their favourite Internet radio station or podcast on Com One’s Phoenix Wi-Fi Radio ($249).
Going on sale on the Web and in stores next month, the alarm clock radio from the European company Baracoda allows people to wirelessly access the world of online music without a computer. Users customize their listening choices on a personal Web page.
Battery-powered and weighing about 1kg with built-in speakers, the radio requires only a Wi-Fi connection.
Perhaps the preview event’s most literally head-turning item was WowWee Ltd’s radio-controlled FlyTech Dragonfly, which buzzed above the crowd on plastic wings. While the dragonfly ($49.99) went on sale this spring, it succeeded in drawing attention to upcoming items from the company known for its Robosapien robot.
Among them was the $149.99 Robopanda, an interactive 19-inch-tall panda bear coming this fall. Robopanda crawls, tells stories, sings songs, moves its ears and chats with a mini-panda pal.
One of the latest additions to a field of increasingly high-tech and life-like toys, Robopanda is a long way from a traditional stuffed animal.
Seven body sensors can tell where it is touched. It can also detect sounds and ask kids to clap their hands. WowWee says the panda’s “internal dual-axis accelerometer tilt sensors” can tell if it is moved, shaken or tipped over.
In that case, Robopanda might ask for help to get up or say, “Hey, where are we going?”
The New York Times
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