Author Archive | Robin Raskin

A Security Blanket You Can Wear on Your Wrist

Last Gadget Standing Nominee: Laipac S-911 Bracelet Locator

Price: $329

Think of the S-911 Bracelet Locator as a 911 call on steroids.  It’s a multipurpose device that includes a digital watch, a GPS location tracker, an emergency cellular phone (with a tamper detection lock wrist band), an SOS Emergency button, and a motion sensor. A keypad lets users send alerts in the event of an emergency; they can enter a pre-defined group e-mail list that directs emergency events to any smart phone and/or call center. The S-911 uses intelligent motion detection and a geo-location system that uses GPS and a GSM/GPRS transceiver, integrated on the SIM card.  The result is a lightweight watch-sized device with 40 hours of battery life that allows a person to move around without restricting his or her liberty. Top 25


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Two Ways to Find Where You’re Going–Including One With Satellite Messaging

DeLorme Earthmate

Last Gadget Standing Nominees: DeLorme Earthmate PN-60W and Earthmate PN-60

Price: $549.95 (PN-60W); $399.95 (PN-60)

The Delorme PN-60W is the first handheld GPS with Type & Send outbound text satellite messaging, enabling users to stay connected with friends, family, and emergency services, from locations around the world. They can pinpoint their position on DeLorme’s included maps of North America. If their adventures take them beyond cell phone range, they can still send their text messages to recipients’ cell phones and email addresses, and to social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Fire Eagle, SpotAdventures.com, and Geocaching.com. In addition, family and friends can track a user’s progress via Google’s free online maps.

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Personal Workout Plans to Go

Last Gadget Standing Nominee: BodyMedia FIT Armband BW

Price: $249

Calorie balance–calories consumed vs. calories burned– is the key ingredient to weight loss. BodyMedia FIT, a body monitoring weight management system, lets users to actively manage their weight by checking their calorie balance on demand. The user completes his or her calorie balance profile using the app’s food logging tool, then the Armband BW provides near real-time caloric burn data, as calculated by BodyMedia’s system. Now achieving the desired calorie balance is as easy as using the BodyMedia FIT app to create a personalized workout based upon caloric, activity, or step targets. And for those seeking extra motivation, the app even lets you choose music from your favorite playlist to power you through those final tough calories.

The Armband BW will be available on November 15th.


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3D Will be Ubiquitous at CES, But Will It be Good?

If you head to CES in January, make sure you pack your Emetrol along with the rest of the first-aid kit.  You’ll be walking through miles of aisles of 3D TVs, PCs, and other gizmos, and it’s not likely you’ll be wearing your 3D glasses.  Life is about to look very out of focus.

Still, like any nascent technology, 3D has its rightful place amongst competitors in our Last Gadget Standing contest. 3D TVs and monitors, profilic as they are, don’t fit in your hand, so we’re not including them in this year’s LGS.

One big topic among our LGS judges is 3D eyewear. What happens when you invite the gang over to watch the big game?  Bring your own glasses?  Compatibility issues?  One-size-fits-all issues? There’s enthusiasm for universal glasses that cross brand lines and work with all 3D systems.

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Help Us Pick the Hottest Smartphones

Seriously, folks–these days, you can barely move your contact list to your new phone before coveting the next one.

I queried a few of our Last Gadget Standing judges and they’ve got no shortage of opinion on which phones should be in the running for the award we’ll hand out at CES next January.

Some voiced concern about the Nokia N8 being an oddity.  Yeah, well, it’s an oddity with a 12 MP camera (with Zeiss lens) and HD video recording.  Those video watchers amongst us will be intrigued by the form factor; those who are dubious about Symbian less so.

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iTwin: Like a Cable Between Two PCs Anywhere in the World

Last Gadget Standing nominee: iTwin
Price: $99

USB drives get lost.  Google Docs and Dropbox are not known for their high security. iTwin just announced a plug-and-play device that makes it both easy and secure to keep computers synchronized—regardless of where they are. Think of it as a secure cable from one computer to another—without the cable.

The iTwin creates a highly secure, peer-to-peer, hardware-enabled, AES-256 encrypted connection between the two computers. The two halves of iTwin are first paired on a user’s computer, creating a crypto key which is specific to the device. Only the two halves of the user’s iTwin know the key. Plug the halves into the USB ports of any two online computers, anywhere in the world, and iTwin works like the two ends of a cable, without the cable. A window pops up allowing you to edit, synchronize or transfer between your two devices.

The device is no bigger than a USB drive and fits comfortably into pockets and bags. It is available in two colors, lime green and gunmetal gray.  iTwin goes on sale in December.


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The World’s Smallest Set-Top Box

Last Gadget Standing Nominee: BnCom TeraVue DTV STB Interactive Tuner

Price: $199

Availability: Q1 2011

How small is this portable TV tuner?  Imagine this.  It’s smaller than a credit card and it’s a complete set top box tuner designed for the up and coming Mobile DTV, ATSC-MH technology.  The system is designed to be installed on the roof of your car or in the rear for the ultimate automotive entertainment. The system is also a natural for use  as in-vehicle TV entertainment system via over the air TV broadcasting services for use in taxis, limos, buses, and even the subway.  The unit receives ATSC-MH signals from broadcasters and streams the content via RCA to an  LCD display.  It is operated by a simple remote control to control channels, volume, and various other settings. BnCom says it’ll be available in the first quarter of 2011.


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Drivers’ Ed at Home

3D PC driving simulation gameLast Gadget Standing nominee: SimuRide Home Edition

Price: $75

Normally we want to focus on the gadget, not the software, but this one is worth knowing about. Teaching someone to drive a car ranks right up there with the Cyclone on the fear factor. The SimuRide Home Edition (SIMHE1) is a 3D PC driving simulation game (software CD) for beginner drivers. Used with any PC steering wheel device, beginner drivers can practice parallel parking, merging, passing, and other maneuvers in preparation for their driver’s license, featuring error alerts and reporting.


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Ten Years of Last Gadget Standing History

For 10 years Last Gadget has played to standing room crowds

Last Gadget Standing, now in its tenth year, made crowdsourcing fashionable before it was even a buzz word.  The idea was simple.  People know what products are winners. Marketing has its place, the press have their place, but ultimately the product is going to rock your world or not–and the best people to decide which are the rockers are the people who buy products.

In January of 2011 at our live event at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas (and online) we’ll re-live a few of the craziest moments of Last Gadget history.  Crazy as fox, that is. The products that have been the winners combine the perfect blend of passion, entertainment, education and great products to nab the title.

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An Antidote for Blaring TV Commercials

Last Gadget Standing nominee: Gefen Auto Volume Stabilizer

Price: $299

Ever notice how TV commercials and movie trailers are decibels louder than the shows? If so, you’ll appreciate Gefen’s use of Dolby Volume Technology to level the volume on TV programs and commercials for a consistent audio experience. A simple solution for home entertainment systems, this tiny device automatically equalizes audio from different sources so everything is heard at the same audio levels. Channel surfers will appreciate the stability.  And music listeners will enjoy a consistent level of volume when enjoying random CDs.  The Auto Volume Stabilizer incorporates Dolby 5.1 digital decoding and converting to 2-channel audio. It also supports both digital (TOSlink; S/PDIF) and analog (L/R) audio formats. It will work with most popular home entertainment devices on the market, including television sets, A/V receivers, CD players, DVD players and more. Multiple audio sources can be connected at the same time, and accessed with the included IR remote or a tiny selector on the device used to switch between sources.


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