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Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2011

TECH_JAPAN

TOYS

Project from an iPhone and tell the time at the speed of light


Japanese company Thanko, the creator of an assortment of crazy — if not always practical — gadgets, has recently released an intriguing device targeting iPhone users. The iPhone Mini Projector is tiny, at 48 × 58 × 16 mm, and weighs only 32 grams. But once connected to an iPhone it projects the display onto nearby surfaces.

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But don't get your hopes up too high just yet. This is not going to be any good for boardroom meetings, as the maximum projection distance is about a meter with the resultant projection maxing out at about 63 cm, with a resolution of 320 × 240 pixels.

It might, however, bring a little pizazz if you ever have to give a presentation on the fly. It could be fun in a cafe for example, or if you ever had to literally give an elevator pitch. For travelers it could be a decent pocket solution for showing a photo slideshow or a video of your trip.

The projector also includes a one-watt speaker and comes with a handy mini-tripod. Users who own an iPad or a 4th-generation iPod Touch will be pleased to hear that the projector is compatible with those devices as well. It also works with the just-released iPhone 4S.

Regrettably it comes with a steep price tag, ¥15,800, which is a lot to pay for this one very specific function. The black plastic finish doesn't win any style points either, clashing with the black finish on your iPhone. But if it's a function that you really need, then Thanko's iPhone Mini Projector would certainly be worth the money if you can afford it.

If you're in search of an attention-getting watch, then you should check out the latest offerings from Tokyo Flash. The unconventional designs of their Kisai series consistently push style boundaries beyond comprehension. Tokyo Flash actively invites readers to submit designs on its blog, a great way to build a base of engaged customers and fans. Among its recent fan-submitted concepts is the new Kisai Seven LED watch, a design inspired by the recent movie "Tron: Legacy." The idea comes from Scott Galloway, a Tokyo Flash reader and fan, marking the third time that Tokyo Flash has developed a unique fan idea into working product.

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Most fans of the film probably can't afford to rock their own light cycle, but if you're willing to settle for some light rings on your wrists, then the Kisai Seven might just be your ticket.

At first glance the two concentric blue light rings might not make any sense. But the watch communicates the time using the darkened break in the rings to represent the conventional hour and minute hand (the latter in 5 minute intervals). To check the time up to the minute, see the lights off to the sides which represent the minutes one through four. It might be tricky to comprehend at first, but once you figure it out, it's as easy as riding a light cycle... um... I mean bike.

The blue LED lights look especially slick at night, making it an eye-catching accessory to wear to a dance club. As for power, it charges via USB connection, so you won't have to bother with batteries.

The limited-edition bracelet-style watch sells for $139, and according to the company it's currently sold out. But Tokyo Flash expects that it will be available again at the end of December. More information will be posted to its website in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, a good place to keep up with the latest creations from Tokyo Flash is on its Facebook page which is regularly updated with even more crazy watch designs: www.facebook.com/tokyoflashjapan

Kisai Seven: www.tokyoflash.com/blog/2011/10/kisai-seven-concept-to-reality/ Rick Martin is a contributor to Penn-Olson.com. Read more of his work at 1rick.com.


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