Technogear for Your Hi-Fi Friends

Monday Magazine | December 7, 2004
What it is: Adidas 1 smart shoe

What it costs: $300 (approx.)

What it does: Does the world really need a computerized running shoe? Adidas seems to think so. A microprocessor embedded in the heel operates a screw-and-cable system to adjust the shoe’s cushioning between each step. It comes with an on-off switch and a CD-ROM to help you operate it. Slight drawback: After 100 hours of running, you have to change the battery or it could crash. Thank goodness Microsoft didn’t make it.

Where we will find it: Island Runners (due early in 2005.)

What it is: Motorola Digital Cable Box with Personal Video Recorder

What it costs: $339 (after programming credits)

What it does: Looking for a better picture than you get with ordinary cable TV? Even better than DVD? The latest version of the digital cable box offers access to six high-definition TV channels, providing the closest thing to cinema-quality pictures now available for TV. (Of course, you’ll need an HD-ready TV to get the HD picture.) This model includes a personal video recorder, the device that may eventually replace VCRs. It can record up to 60 hours of digital TV on its 80 GB hard drive, or up to 10 hours of HD TV—along with 5.1 channel surround sound. And it’s a lot smarter than a VCR: you can watch the beginning of a program while the machine is only halfway through recording it.

Where we found it: Shaw

What it is: LightScribe disc labelling system

What it costs: TBA

What it does: Throw out the sharpies and sticky labels! The LightScribe lets you create high-quality labels on your CDs and DVDs, by burning text and images directly onto the discs with a laser. No more worrying that unstuck labels will gum up disc drives. Some versions will be incorporated into disc-burning drives built into computers, while others will be sold as standalone burners. Due early in 2005.

Where we found it:

What it is: Oakley Thump Sunglasses with built-in MP3 player

What it costs: $549

What it does: No more wires! No more carrying around a separate MP3 player! These sunglasses have adjustable earphones attached, so you can listen to MP3 tracks from the 128 MB built-in player. And to listen to music at night, the sunglass lenses flip up. Unless, of course, you’re into Corey Hart.

Where we found it: Radio Shack

What it is: Drink Detective

What it costs: $5 U.S.

What it does: Worried that the charming guy sitting next to you might have spiked your drink with a date-rape drug while you were in the can? Here’s the solution. Place a few drops of the drink on each of three pads on The Drink Detective’s test card. If the drink has traces of GHB, ketamine or rohypnol in it, after 30 seconds the pads will change colour, indicating it’s time to dump the creep.

Where we found it:

What it is: Kaleidescape movie jukebox

What it costs: $27,000 U.S. (basic model)

What it does: OK, so it costs more than a new car. But the Kaleidescape copies all of your DVDs to a server, so there’s no more hunting around for jewel boxes. You can store up to 180 movies—copyright protected—and sort them by various criteria, such as director, genre, etc. With extra storage, the Kaleidescape will hold 500 movies. By linking several servers together, the capacity can be boosted to the thousands. But who’d have time to watch them?

Where we found it:

What it is: Flybar 1200 high-powered pogo stick

What it costs: $300 U.S.

What it does: This huge rubber-band-powered pogo stick will get you high—up to eight feet off the ground. Not for kids, the Flybar can provide up to 1,200 pounds of thrust, while you cling to the adjustable handlebars. The Flybar, which the company refers to as a “mobile exercise and stunt bar,” uses no power beyond that provided by the rider’s legs. It’s supposed to feel more like a trampoline than an ordinary pogo stick. There’s even a B.C. connection: The Flybar’s rubber-power mechanism was invented by Vancouver physicist Bruce Middleton. Cheaper and less powerful models are due out next year.

Where we found it: (not available at

What it is: Jetboil camp stove

What it costs: $80 U.S.

What it does: This compact backpacking stove weighs less than a pound, but boils water much faster than standard camp stoves, thanks to a new heat transfer setup that is twice as efficient as other portable stoves. The gas-fired burner and cooking cup are all part of the same unit, so the whole thing can be stored in a fanny pack. There’s even a French coffee press accessory, meaning no more instant coffee while hiking!

Where we found it: M

Monday Magazine

Founded in 1975 to provide a critical voice in Victoria's political and cultural communities, Monday Magazine continues to shake British Columbia's conservative capital city with tell-it- like-it-is features and reviews. Targeting educated, active adults and Victoria's growing youth market, Monday...
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