When my little flashlight or my electric toothbrush goes dead, some atavistic impulse leads me -- and I suspect I'm not alone -- to stare for a moment at the misbehaving gadget and then give it a violent shaking, as though the electrons are stuck and just need a little encouragement.
Soon, thanks to Brother Industries, that caveman approach to technology could actually work. The Japanese company is demonstrating standard AA and AAA batteries that incorporate vibration-powered induction generators, so they actually charge when you shake them.
Flashlight: Surefire’s military-grade torch shines more than 500 yards, even though it’s not much bigger than your hand. Its LED combines four light-emitting chips on one circuit board, instead of giving each its own electronics and case. The result is a concentrated yet efficient beam. A processor regulates power to run for 100 minutes on high, 500 on low.
SureFire M3LT $450; surefire.com
Over the past few years, hand tools have become more user friendly. By making tools from lighter materials, and incorporating ergonomic styling with comfy grips, even the humble hammer has evolved. Stanley's tweaks to a new suite of tools takes garage staples (like flashlights, levels and tool storage) and goes a step further by using technology to help you get the most out of your gear.
By Suzanne LaBarrePosted 08.03.2009 at 10:59 am 21 Comments
Swine flu, nuclear tests, global warming—signs of impending doom abound. Should the unthinkable happen, the smart survivalist has two options: flee the planet or, for those of us who aren't Richard Branson, stock up on gear that will meet your basic needs during Armageddon. If the world doesn't end, you can always take your new gadgets camping.
Just in time for the holidays, PopSci presents our roundup of the year's must-have products. From high-voltage flashlights and the flattest-screen TV to a waterproof camera and carbon-fiber laptop, it's the best and shiniest of 2007. Enjoy the offerings here.