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Tech Trio

Ideas, inventions, and innovations.

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Curvaceous Sounds

It is impressive that the only thing more distinguishing than the name of a new speaker designed by Israel-based sound system company Morel is its design. And what a design it is: standing just over a metre high, the rounded black case is almost extraterrestrial in its sleek appearance. Yet there’s more to the Fat Lady speaker than just a slick look and a droll name.

The most notable feature of the Fat Lady is that the inside of the voluptuous cabinet is, in fact, empty. By omitting any internal damping materials, Morel allows the cabinet (which, like a musical instrument, contains no straight lines) to vibrate, or “sing”, making the speaker sound as if it’s not housed in a cabinet at all. This development, along with high-end components and incredibly immersive sound quality, helped the Fat Lady to win the 2009 CEA Design and Engineering Innovation Award at this year’s International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

And about that name. It refers, of course, to the well-known adage. But in this case, the show doesn’t begin until the Fat Lady sings.

Ready, Set, SMS

Urban Tool is quickly becoming known for its accessories that are specially designed to hold modern-day weaponry: BlackBerries, iPhones, MP3 players, and laptops.

The Austrian company offers a wide range of wares, including items you might expect, like the slotStar, a handy pocket-laden laptop bag. But they’ve also created a few offbeat offerings, like the slyDog, a mini pack that can be affixed to a belt or a shoulder strap, and that is good for holding a range of portable electronic devices. Then there’s the Urban Performer Unit, which resembles a standard leather satchel except that it’s adorned with Swarovski crystals and incorporates an iPod interface panel that allows you to control your MP3 player without having to dig it out.

But the most distinctive accessory has to be the holster, which pairs the unlikely sensibilities of Dilbert and the Man with No Name. The hipHolster—which has room for a music player, a wallet, and a camera, as well as a secret passport pocket—sits on your waist, or can even be fixed to your leg. And the businessHolster is unique: it’s a shoulder holster for your smart phone, ideal for a corporate cowboy.

 Shows On The Go

When it comes to entertainment systems and TV screens, the trend was first bigger, then wider, and now thinner. And that’s all fine when you’ve got room for a mondo screen and a few theatre-style easy chairs. Built to maximize downtime—on planes, in waiting rooms, and anytime you’ve got some time to kill—is Myvu. Resembling a pair of futuristic sunglasses, it connects to your iPhone, iPod, or other media player, and allows you to watch movies, TV shows, and even play games.

The full VGA resolution ensures a quality image, which, along with the stereo, noise-reducing earphones, makes it a worthy viewing experience, with a virtual screen larger than the tiny, nausea-inducing, postage stamp–sized viewers of other MP3 players. The Myvu includes a USB-rechargeable battery that lasts anywhere from four to 10 hours, depending on the model.

For much of the last century, movie-viewing has been a group experience, but over the last two decades and with the proliferation of personal viewing apparati, the habit of watching films solo has become much more common. Myvu represents the ultimate experience; certainly, you’d be hard-pressed to find anything that looks quite as innovative.

 


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August 1, 2009