Sunday, January 22, 2012

1. Thermaltake Level 10 M Mouse

This is what happens when Thermaltake rounds up those cool dudes at BMW DesignworksUSA to create a mouse that looks like it was plopped down from some kind of time machine. The mysterious pointing device comes with scant info so far, except this gorgeous pic and a promise of Spring availability.

The best news? This is just the first of a series of gaming peripherals from Thermaltake and BMW Designworks. Taking its design cues from the spectacular Thermaltake Level 10 PC case, all you need to add is a Level 10 keyboard (hopefully coming along after this mouse) to give yourself a complete PC system of the future.

2. Nike+ FuelBand

Slip this Nike+ FuelBand on your wrist, and it'll keep track of your activity throughout the day, awarding you "fuel points" that track calories burned, steps and the time.

We got our hands on a Nike+ FuelBand, and the snazzy device performed as promised, syncing up with an iPod Touch and keeping track of physical exertion throughout the day.
When it goes live next month, it'll be able to share its data on Twitter and Facebook, revealing our slovenly ways for all the world to see.

3. App-Controlled Fireplace

We're already digging our fake fireplace that looks surprisingly real, but now we want to control this smart Wi-Fi-connected Escea fireplace with an iOS device. The gas fireplace's flames can arise from within simulated logs, white or black coals, or a custom arrangement of materials that match your house's stonework.

The tech doesn't stop there, though -- it can be configured with a direct vent that gathers warm air from the fireplace's enclosure and distributes warmth through vents in the room, and the app lets you control the resulting room temperature.

4. Solar OLED Sunroof

The OLED tech we've seen lately is astonishing enough, but now BASF and Philips have created transparent OLEDs that can be built into a car's roof. The advantage? You can darken those OLEDs when the sun's too bright, but flip a switch and you have a transparent roof when you want to let the sunshine (or moonbeams) in.

Beyond that, the transparent OLEDs can be combined with transparent solar cells, generating electricity while the car sits in a parking lot all day. The concept is part of the two companies' OLED 2015 initiative. Someday, maybe all car roofs will be made this way.

5. iPad 3 to Have Retina Display?

When Apple rolled out its iBooks 2 initiative this week, included in that application were a couple of telltale images that pointed toward the iPad 3 having an ultra-high-resolution "Retina Display."

According to The Next Web, those extra-large images uncovered within the iBooks 2 application would correctly display on a screen with a 2048×1536-pixel resolution, with a PPI (pixels-per-inch) of 260. Could this be foreshadowing the iPad 3?

Further iPad 3 rumors are floating around, hinting that we get our first peek at the next iPad sometime in February.

6. GM's "Windows of Opportunity"

Attention bored kids: All that talk of transparent displays could someday make those long road trips a whole lot less boring. In its "Windows of Opportunity" project, GM's working on backseat windows that double as interactive displays.

At the same time, GM has invited researchers and students to create applications for this electronically charged "smart glass" technology, although the company says it doesn't have any immediate plans to start creating cars with such way-cool technology. Perhaps that smart glass could also facilitate heads-up displays on the windshield, too.

7. Camcorder Attachment Streams Video, No PC Required

Live Shell makes it a lot easier to stream live video from a video camera. Snap this $299 device on top of your camcorder, and you can transmit video to streaming site Ustream via Wi-Fi, Ethernet or a mobile router.

8. Russia/NASA/Europe Moon Base

Just when we thought a moon base was out of the question, here come the Russians talking with NASA and the European Space Agency about a joint venture to establish a permanent settlement on the lunar surface.

The Russian Space Agency Roscosmos has two different plans in mind. One would be to construct a permanent base on the moon, and another would be to assemble a space station in lunar orbit. Either of these ideas seem like the logical next step -- the agencies have had considerable success with the International Space Station.

Among the numerous hurdles: Which heavy-lifting rocket will carry the construction tools, materials and humans to the moon?

9. Butt Biometrics

Here's a novel way to pass a security check: forget about retinal scans -- Japanese researchers at the Advanced Institute of Industrial Technology say that people can be identified by the pressure of their posteriors.

Yet to be worked out: "The recognition tends to be compromised by different clothes," says one of the researchers. If that little problem can be fixed, maybe you won't need car keys at all, depending on a butt scan to correctly identify you when you plop yourself down in the driver's seat.

10. GHOST High-Speed Attack Watercraft

This scary looking vehicle is a combination of a stealth fighter plane, attack helicopter and super boat. GHOST, built by Juliet Marine Systems in New Hampshire, uses a concept called "supercavitation," where the three-person watercraft's twin hydrofoils are each surrounded by bubble of gas, significantly reducing friction and making it go extremely fast.

Another advantage is this high-speed attack craft's silent-running capability, letting the boat sneak around to deliver troops to enemy beaches or quietly creep up on unsuspecting ships. This is just the first of the vehicles the company's working on -- next it'll be creating a larger 150-foot version, as well as an underwater vehicle.