Interesting Gadgets

Interesting gadgets and gadget sites.

Doesn't have to be of use, just a neat gadget. This page is just to help me keep track of some gadgets I've heard about.


Dallas Semi TINI Tiny InterNet Interface
Embedded Model 390 processor with Java, TCP/IP stack, designed so you can web enable your gadgets with this miniature web server. Has an 1-Wire interface to i-Button gadgets. Size is 1.25 inch by 4.05 inches. Plugs into a socket board and 5+ volt regulator. Formerly try Maxim-ic site now.
Digital Wallet
A portable US$499 smart storage device from Minds at Work, with a small LCD display for status reports, a 2.5 inch 6 GB Toshiba hard drive, and PCMCIA and USB ports. A Motorola ColdFire controls it. Use a rechargeable battery good for up to 200 minutes, and can read digital camera photos on CF without a PC. Twelve ounces, 3.69 x 5.2 x 1.14 inches. Single drivers for Windows 98 or Mac OS 8.6 and up (so much for real device independence). Comes with battery pack, CF adaptor, AC adaptor, USB cable, software. Minds at Work no longer seem to exist at or however there is a support site at Some MP3 music players can now handle similar tasks, however I prefer the Addonics Multifunction Recorder which burns CDs from camera cards.
JKS's removeable 8 MB flash memory drive for the Palm platform, versions 2.04 and up. Plugs into the handheld, runs over serial port at up to 115,000 bps, weighs about 10 grams, size 32mm x 28mm x 15mm. Power drain 4 mA maximum, 2 mA typical. Sounds to me as if the design is similar to the old serial to flash memory Psion used with its Series 3 organisers.
Fliklite LED flashlite
LED flashlight torch, with 4 white LEDs, takes three N cell batteries. Waterproof to 30 metres. Batteries last 50 hours. 24,000 candles. Seems a bit expensive compared to some LED torches I've seen, but it is considerably more waterproof than most.
Hitachi M2 multimedia recorder
VHS quality MPEG-1 video, MPEG audio, JPEG audio. Optional PCMCIA card storage to 1 GB for two hours of video with audio or 12,000 images. ISA interface card for PC, SCSI for MAC. LCD display for thumbnails. View on TV as well as computer. Starts at US$999. MPEG10W
Nightstar flashlight
Flashlight has a high energy capacitor for storage, bright LED for light, and a high intensity magnet in a coil for energy. Shake it for 30 seconds to recharge enough to use. No batteries. Almost indestructible. Transparent case. Luminous so you can find it in the dark. Applied Innovative Technologies Inc Since I first wrote about this, many cheaper models of this flashlight have appeared. Check any decent gadget store, such as Jaycar. Be careful however, as many cheaper imitations lack some of the thoughtful features of the original Nightstar, although the luminous switch feature to make it easy to find in the dark is the only one that is obvious on casual inspection.
Quick Link Pen
A hand held text scanner from WizCom Technologies. Unlike the cheap (and lousy) hand held scanners I recall from early days (replaced by cheap flat beds), this is more a pen shape, and works along each line. US$180 or so, more like A$400. Runs on a couple of AA batteries. Windows only support is included on a CD. The scanner can have its own OCR upgraded. It transfers data via a either a serial cable or IrDA link. Version 1.52 of the software can beam to Palm PDAs, but not apparently to a Psion (maybe it needs IrOBEX, which only appeared mid 1999). I believe plBeam may be able to access it from a Psion. Got a good review on, at least for decent newsprint. This gadget includes a complete computer, so it can be upgraded from the Wizcom web site. Formerly
Polaroid Digital photo printer
The Polaroid P-500 portable (650 gram) digital photo printer runs off the polapack battery in a Polaroid instant film pack. Plug in a Compact Flash (Type I or II) from your digital camera, and use the four buttons and LCD display to decide what to print. It appears 25 seconds later. I wish I could say that I had been able to find something about it on, but I couldn't. I couldn't even get access to, because it starts with a Shockwave video that I'm not willing to waste the time downloading. I suspect this would be a great product for grey nomads like us, who use digital cameras. However if we can't find anything about it, buying seems unlikely. Get with it Polaroid. Luckily since I wrote this, many printer companies have added the ability to print photos from camera cards or from cameras. Great stuff. The more often you can get rid of a Windows computer in your gadget mix, the fewer problems you have.
Story Box
An interesting Internet Appliance from Kodak. A smart picture frame with modem, for three dozen photos, connected to the Internet, and also able to be updated from a Compact Flash memory. It will act as a slide show, or as a still picture. Also subscribe to information updates such as stock quotes, news, entertainment or weather. Supporting network area for storing your photos, and a virtual copy of the StoryBox memory.
The frame is 8.4" by 7.1" by 1.58", weighs under two pounds, and provides a VGA (640 x 480) display. Takes 13 watts from the power line, via a 9 volt adaptor. Automatic on-off times can be set. Internal memory for 36 photos, or up to 1500 using removeable Compact Flash. RJ11 phone socket included for modem output. The Storybox web site is now so badly designed that it won't work with most browsers. Fi on them. or formerly

Gadget Sites

Online store specialising in gadgets, like cameras, remote control cars. Seems to have disappeared (2005).
Future Technology News
Brief mention of interesting gadgets, with links. They listed three credit card sized organisers recently, for example. Site not responding (2005)
The Gadgeteer
A really neat site for gadgets, which has a lot about palmtops and PDAs, and a whole heap of reviews of all sorts of gadgets.
Oregon Scientific
Make a bunch of interesting gadgets, including several levels of PDA (Echo, like a Rex, an Epoc model, a pen based model). They have pedometers, radio clocks, cameras, and heaps of other gadgets. They also (2005) have a flash based site that does not load in my browser, with VBScript and IE specific code. I'm not willing to link to sites doing that. Try manually.
Wrist Dreams - Watches
A site devoted to high tech watches. They have nice photos and brief descriptions of Casio GPS, Casio wrist camera, Casio MP3, Samsung PCS phone, Spoon Secret Agent Man PDA, and OnHand PC PDA watch. News on Seiko Epson PDA watch and IBM Linux watch. Cool! (Well, dumb and geeky as well, but cool!) Seems to update every month. Great stuff.
I hope you have enjoyed