'Elvis Alive' and Other Offbeat Gizmos
LAS VEGASI should've known I couldn't escape a trip here without an encounter with Elvis. Only this version didn't have the gyrating hipsin fact, he had no hips at all. A robotic Elvis, from the shoulders up, at least, was one of the more bizarre products to get attention at the Consumer Electronics Show here this week. Here are more details on Elvis and a couple of other offbeat, if potentially useful, gizmos:
Elvis Alive is from WowWee Robotics, the folks who brought us the successful Roboreptile, a dinosaurlike kids' toy. At $350, Elvis seems aimed at an older group who might swoon at the eight songs included and some 30 anecdotes from the King himself. More songs and jive can be had on $30 cartridges that will be available along with Elvis in time for the 2007 holiday season. Elvis can also see enough to know if you walk by, which adds a bit more to his somewhat lifelike, and somewhat creepy, presence.
No more leaving home without an umbrella with the Forecasting Umbrella from Ambient Devices. A battery-powered light in the handle flashes if rain's coming in the next 12 hours, with the flashes speeding up depending on how high the chances are of precipitation. The umbrella gets its forecast wirelessly for your local area from accuweather.com. Should be available later this year, but at a price approaching $100, not an umbrella you want to leave in the cab.
The Hydrabrush seeks to shorten one task that bedevils us every day (three times if you follow directions). Its inventor claims the brush can thoroughly clean teeth in 40 seconds or less, instead of the two minutes recommended by dentists. To demonstrate, and to a round of applause from a group of reporters, one of its marketers bit down on the brush, which is actually eight brushes in one that clean top and bottom at once while massaging the gums. Available on the website for $100.
Hunters no longer need lose their dogs with the Astro, a GPS dog-tracking system from Garmin. The kit includes a hand-held device that points in the direction of a dog with a transmitter attached to its collar. It's an unusual foray for Garmin, which apparently plans no push into other tracking devicesa spokeswoman said, for example, that it won't get into the growing business of parents tracking their kids. But many of the company's customers are outdoorsy, including hunters who might spring for the $650 for Astro, which, by the way, was the name of the dog in the futuristic Jetsons animated TV show. "Rut ro, Reorge," indeed.