Product News

Product News

by / April 30, 1999
Can't Resist the Wrist | Gizmo engineers seem to have a forearm fetish. Phones, medical-info chips, prisoner IDs, traffic report terminals -- anything smaller than a microwave oven, they want to strap it to your wrist.

The latest entry is from Casio: a wristwatch with a built-in global positioning system (GPS). An eight-channel receiver can pick up signals from up to eight GPS satellites. Data is received from at least three GPS satellites to determine the location. A user's destination can be specified, and the watch graphically indicates the direction and distance to the destination. A single standard lithium battery provides up to 600 single readings, or 10 hours of automatic monitoring in which the reading is updated once per minute. It is suitable for hiking, fishing or any outdoor sport. It weighs 5.22 ounces with a screen size of 0.69 inches by 0.82 inches. It will hit the consumer market late this year. Additional information is available by contacting Casio Computer Co. Ltd. at 800/442-5707.

Palm Potential | What they're not strapping to your wrist, they're putting in the palm of your hand. MobileManager extends the capabilities of Microsoft Projects to 3Com's PalmPilot, and to palm-size PCs running Windows CE 2.0 developed by Microsoft.

"The idea is to allow project managers to use and edit their project plan while they are away from the desktop," said Ward Hitt, USDev's CEO and founder. It costs about $49.95. Additional information is available by contacting USDev at 703/986-9620.

Top Chopper | The Coast Guard is using the HV-609, a tilt-rotor aircraft designed to mix the speed of aturboprop airplane with the landing capability of a helicopter. The 609 hits speeds up to 275 knots and ranges to 750 nautical miles. It flies just fine over land, too. The aircraft seats up to nine people, and is suited to medical transportation, surveillance, training, etc. It requires two crew members, and the cabin measures 17.5 feet by 5 feet by 5 feet. No word yet on in-flight movies. Additional information is available by contacting Bell Helicopters at 817/280-2011.

With This Ring, I Thee Pay | The iButton is a computer chip embedded in a 16mm stainless steel MicroCan, capable of holding a user's identification and storing cash value for small transactions, among many other tasks. The iButton can be attached to a badge, key chain or watch and is well-suited to a variety of portable applications -- interfacing with desktop, laptop and hand-held computers, as well as controlling access to buildings, vehicles, PCs and other pieces of equipment.

Information can be transferred between the iButton and other systems when the user simply touches the ring to a receptor or probe. Information is transferred at up to 142Kbps. Developed by Dallas Semiconductor, the iButton is shielded with a stainless steel cover and can withstand impact, moisture, dirt, cold and chemicals. Additional information is available by contacting Dallas Semiconductor at 972/371-4448.

Feeling in Your Gut | NASA, in cooperation with the Fetal Treatment Center at the University of California, San Francisco, is developing a "pill transmitter" capable of monitoring expectant mothers and their fetuses following corrective fetal surgery. The device can be implanted in a mother's womb and is capableof transmitting body temperature, blood pressure and other vital signs to physicians. It is one-third of an inch across and just over an inch long. As if that's not already too small to keep track of, NASA is planning to develop a smaller version that can be swallowed by astronauts to track their vital signs during space travel. Additional information is available online.

The Face is Familiar... | The Layered Biometrics Verification Security Server requires facial and vocal matches before access to a network is granted. The system features a camera and microphone and access is granted through matching of live biometric data