Big Little Advances
7 small improvements with major benefits
by Top photo: John B. Carnett
1. ONE CAMCORDER THAT CREDIBLY DOUBLES AS A STILL CAMERA
We’re not convinced a single device can be great at both stills and video, but Sony’s DCR-IP220-the first digital camcorder with a 2-megapixel CCD-is as close as
it gets. It’s even packed with great camera features, including an intelligent pop-up flash and Hologram Autofocus and Night Framing for low-light situations.
2. FRIDGE MORE FROZEN THAN COLD
Sears’ Space Station reverses the usual ratio, with two-thirds dedicated to the
freezer and a third to fresh foods. One
reason for the design, Sears says, is America’s still-escalating consumption of prepackaged frozen dinners.
Price: $1,199 to $1,399.
3. NOW, BE A WALKING E-BILLBOARD
Pictures, logos, your latest MRI scan-this prototype shirt from France Telecom is made from woven optical fibers and allows you to download images to it.
4. LAUGHING GAS MEETS NINTENDO
Designed to reduce the anxiety of children during medical procedures, the PediSedate headset plays music or sounds from a Nintendo Game Boy while monitoring respiratory function and distributing nitrous oxide. The headset is now undergoing clinical trials.
5. TOUCHY-FEELY SPEAKERS
JBL’s Creature Audio System speakers not only look cool, you can adjust their volume by simply touching them.
THE GLASS BUILT FOR BOURBON
There’s a science to maximizing the smell and taste of liquor, and Austrian glassmaker Riedel claims to have perfected the first-ever bourbon glass. It’s more svelt than
a cognac snifter and, by our test, nicely concentrates bourbon’s intense aroma
just below the nose.
Price: $27 for four.
A MULTI-BRIGHTNESS MONITOR
Turn up your monitor’s brightness for
gaming and you’re left with fuzzy text the next time you open Word. Turn it down, and lose graphic detail. Samsung’s MagicBright 765MB monitor has separate brightness modes for text, video, and
gaming. You can even apply a setting to
a specific open window.