Friday, July 11, 2014

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Technology On The Horizon: Quirky Items Satisfy Needs You Didn't Even Know Existed

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NY1 Tech Beat Reporter Adam Balkin ends his week-long series on the latest in audio and video, "Technology On the Horizon," with some quirky items that may not fit into either category.

A digital still camera that plays video games — it’s one example of how every year, tech manufacturers try new ideas that have potential to either start the next big trend, or are destined for a crash landing.

That camera is FujiFilm's V10, a 5-megapixel with image stabilization for better low light, handheld shots, and it has four built-in games.

“With digital you can do a lot of different things. With a three-inch LCD display on the back, we thought it might be a fun way to add something extra to the camera,” says Andy LaGuardia of FujiFilm. “The camera is first and foremost a great picture-taking device, but if you can go and add something a little bit fun it makes it a more appealing product."

What makes a Swiss Army knife more appealing? A few years ago it counted a USB storage drive among its hidden tools. This year, it adds a 1 to 4-gigabyte digital music player.

"It’s a full-fledged mp3 player, it has an FM tuner in it, it can play mp3 files, wav files, all the shebang,” says Robert Phaeffli of Swissbit.

It does detach from the rest of the knife, so you don't lose the thing the first time you try to board an airplane with it.

In a concept you may've seen in some hotels or gyms, now you can have your own personal oxygen maker that allows you to breathe oxygen through a headpiece. What a minute - don't we already breathe oxygen without this thing?

“Well, 200 years ago our oxygen levels were actually 38 percent. Now, depending on the quality of the area like L.A. or New York, it's probably 10 percent. It ranges between 10 and 21 percent,” says Parre Purcell of Oxygen Experience. “It takes about 10-15 minutes to bring your blood oxygen levels up to 100 percent. People that have hangovers, it wipes it out in 15 minutes. Migraine headaches? It gets rid of them. You're tired? It wakes you up. If you're exercising with oxygen, you can go 30 percent longer."

However, doctors are quick to point out that there is no scientific evidence to back those claims, and breathing extra oxygen likely has little if any measurable effect on an otherwise healthy individual.

Finally, a man's best tech friend is the Sony Aibo. The newest version understands 30 voice commands in Spanish, and it'll fetch your morning paper from the Internet as something called an RSS feed.

“There is a wireless LAN card inside Aibo's body which will communicate with your own PC, and on that PC you can set up different RSS feeds," says Todd Kozuki of Sony Electronics.

Though, just after Sony announced this guy even existed, it decided to scrap the entire Aibo line in an effort to cut costs. Maybe that's also why he's programmed to wave goodbye.

- Adam Balkin
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