Gadgets galore at Hong Kong Fair

If you have a baby in your house, then you face two major problems: sleep deprivation and measuring the baby’s temperature when it’s ill. As yet, there’s no cure for the first problem, but the second has been addressed by a novel thermometer that eliminates some of the more uncomfortable options open to parents in the past.

Called the Pac-Temp 2, this thermometer from Taiwan-based Acute Ideas looks like a child’s dummy, or pacifier. A two part device, it can be used either as a regular dummy or as a pacifier/ thermometer once the thermometer half of the device has been installed. Now your baby will enjoy, rather than resent, having his or her temperature taken. Especially at two o’clock in the morning.

If waking up after a hard night up with the baby crying is tough, and conventional alarm clocks make you want to throw them across the room, then consider the Action Alarm Clock, designed by Hong Kong based Daka Development specifically for that purpose. Once the ‘Bouncing Ball Clock’ has reached the preset alarm time, it can be stopped by throwing it against a wall. On impact, it emits a noise of breaking glass, a screaming woman or an explosion. Choose from a tennis ball, golf ball, basketball or baseball.

Now it’s off to work to interact with your PC. But why leave your bed? Your PC is on your wrist! Symbolic of the shrinking world of electronic devices is the ‘wearable PC’ from Seiko Instruments. The imaginatively named ‘Ruputer’, is described as ‘the computing solution for mobile professionals’. Two versions are available: the standard issue and the Ruputer Pro with a larger memory. Both can transfer data to and from a personal assistant or PC via a built in communications port. Although it’s portable, it’s rather bulky, and reminiscent of my son’s LCD watch that runs off a small piece of potato. But, if you fell for the personal organiser, you’ll want one of these too. Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of details available at the moment, unless you can read Japanese if you can, visit the Ruputer Web site at www.ruputer.com.

Still in your bed, why not fire up your PC and check that the other folks have turned up at the factory on time and are getting on with the work. How? Remotely, of course, using the TeleEye Pro from Kowloon-based Signal Communications Limited. The TeleEye Pro is a video monitoring system that lets you view your business remotely without leaving your office (or bedroom). A typical system comprises a transmission unit linked to a number of cameras in the factory and your personal office or home computer which runs dedicated software called ‘Reception Software’. You need the special receiver software to handle image transmission speeds that can be as high as 10 frames/sec at a 33kbs modem speed. Or you can hook the transmission system to a video server and the resultant images are transmitted via TCP/IP over a corporate intranet or LAN.

THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING PC

Just as PCs like the Ruputer have diminished in both size and cost, so have mobile phones. Now they are everywhere, consistently interrupting meetings with their annoying alarms. You can’t stop people calling you, but now there’s a solution to noise abatement called the ‘Ingenious Mobile Phone Receiver Pen’. Pilar Y. Y. Wu, a representative of it’s makers, Taiwan-based Laxor Technology, tells us that it’s the perfect way to be alerted to an incoming call in the middle of a meeting even when the mobile phone you are using is turned off.

The user places the pen next to his mobile phone. When a call is made to the phone, the RF energy is inductively coupled into the pen where it lights up a display on the top of the pen. An optional battery operated pen is also available for users who want to put the pen some distance from their phone, such as their top pocket. Like everything else these days, the pen is multifunctional – it can also be used as a wireless camera detector, microwave detector and… a ball-point pen.

Although communications technology should allow most of us to work from home these days, levels of pollution in our major cities are still high, as the majority of people still get to work by car.

Even if we can do little to stop the rising smog levels, by using a new device called the Pollumetre Air, we can at least tell when they have reached such high levels that we must lock our infants, elderly and infirm inside. It’s a small yellow device with an LCD screen, developed by Pollucorp Industries to detect and measure the concentration of carbon monoxide. The CO sensor, built in conjunction with Japanese-based Figaro, is highly accurate even when measuring low CO levels.

If pollution levels are low, however, you will want to get out and shop. What better then, than a car reversing aid, an automatic system that alerts you to the presence of potential obstacles while backing up your car in this month’s crowded car parks. The Mini3 series reversing aid from Hong Kong based Poron Corporation consists of two sets of acoustic sensors and receivers, an IC-based electronic control monitor and a seven segment LED display that mounts beneath your reversing mirror. The sensors transmit a narrow beam that can penetrate fog and rain. When the signal strikes a solid target directly in the path of the vehicle, it bounces back to the receiver and on to the processor. The processor works out the distance from, as well as the closing speed between, the vehicle and any obstacle. If the processor determines that the driver needs to take preventative action, a signal is sent to the display.

LET’S PARTY LIKE IT’S 1999

However good the party, it’s still not advisable to drink and drive. But some people never seem to know when they have had enough. And if they’re driving at you at 70mph, not even the Mini3 reversing aid will help. Potential inebriates should check out the Alcohol Calculator from Hong-Kong based Keysbond before climbing into the driving seat.

The level of intoxication of an individual is usually indicated by the Blood Alcohol Level. This gives information about how much alcohol has entered the bloodstream, but not how drunk a person is. The Alcohol Calculator, on the other hand, is a preventative device that measures the BAL by simulation. It predicts the concentration of alcohol in your blood based on a number of factors including height, sex, age, and weight, so you can keep your alcohol level within legal limits.

To order these new products, why not use one of the latest fax machines, such as the Legacy 2000 from Internet Magic. This little baby allows you to fax over the Internet, saving all those BT International call costs.