Gadgets and gizmos


Don't let anyone tell you space research is a waste of money. Scientists at NASA's Ames Research Center have developed what must surely be a contender for the title of Ultimate Game Controller. An armband containing eight electrodes converts neural signals into computer commands, allowing experimenters to fly simulated aircraft without joysticks, mice or keyboards.



Watch camera

One step closer to Dick Tracy's Two-Way Wrist TV . . . Casio has released a range of digital cameras built into wristwatches. The 1MB memory of the WQV1D-8CR can hold about 100 of the pictures produced by its 28,000 pixel CMOS sensor.


Price: Not sold in Australia


Zip style

The venerable Zip 100 drive has received a fashion upgrade and a new interface. With its sleek styling and versatile USB interface, Iomega hopes to retain the popularity that led to the Zip drive becoming a de facto floppy replacement.


Price: $249

Phone: (02) 9925 7799


Smart iShare 56

As home networks become more common, so do the products to support them. The Smart iShare 56 from Netcomm combines a four-port Ethernet hub with a V.90 modem and firewall, enabling a small network to share an Internet connection. The microchip that manages all this runs on an embedded Linux system.


Price: $528

Phone: (02) 9424 2000


Really small robots

A research team in the US has created the smallest untethered robots yet built. Less than 2cm on a side, the devices are powered by three watch batteries and trundle about on rubber band tracks. The autonomous robot's brainpower is provided by a processor with 8KB of ROM, and it may some day carry cameras or other sensors.

Sandia National Laboratories


Super floppy

Have you got shelves and boxes full of old 3.5in floppies that are just too small to hold anything meaningful in these days of MP3s and video? Don't throw them away yet, as Matsushita has developed the FD32MB system, which connects by USB and allows the storage of up to 32MB of data on a standard 1.44MB 2HD floppy.


Price: $TBA


Seat of power

Despite its relatively small numbers of aerospace researchers, Australia is nevertheless becoming a world centre for weird game controllers with the invention of the Firefly. This is a sit-on device for flight and racing simulators that you can swing around on in the real world, as you use its joystick emulation to control your movement in the virtual one.


Price: $395

Phone: (03) 9312 3448


The big picture

DVD is to videotape as CDs are to vinyl records, so it was only a matter of time before somebody got the idea of taking a high-quality TV and building a DVD player into the cabinet. Philips's effort incorporates a 68cm flat-front picture tube and a DVD player with all mod cons. No word on whether it's multi-regional, though.


Price: $2420

Phone: 1300 363 391


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