Home delivery dock for e-tail buys
One of the big obstacles to e-shopping is that you are never in when the delivery man arrives. To get round this, Laing Homes is developing a home delivery dock, a cupboard built into the kitchen wall with both outside and inside doors. When ordering the groceries from your e-tailer, you give it a four-digit code that the delivery man can use to open the outside door. When you get back, you unlock the inside door and pack everything away. The dock even has sections at ambient, chilled and frozen temperatures so that food does not spoil if you dally in the wine bar on your way home.
Ink jet printer
Lexmark’s Z52 ink jet printer can place no fewer than 2400 dots per inch on the paper – each dot is just seven picolitres in volume. The result can be digital camera prints as good as anything you would get from Boots, as long as your camera has a resolution to match. The Z52 is also faster than its predecessors, producing up to 15 pages a minute in black and white – almost up to laser printer standards. And it costs just £140.
Computer users are divided into mouse people and trackball people, and never the twain shall meet. So far, only mouse people have had the benefit of cordless technology, but now Logitech has introduced a trackball without wires. The base has a thumb-operated ball that is tracked by an optical sensor to move the cursor on the screen accurately. Two buttons and a scroll wheel make navigation around web pages particularly easy. It has no wires – just a radio link to a concealed receiver – and costs £50.
Palmtop computer that can turn into …
The Handspring Visor is a palmtop computer with a secret weapon – a slot for add-ons, known as Springboard modules, that can transform it into anything from a radio to a mobile phone. The Visor looks very much like a Palm computer, which is hardly surprising as they were designed by the same man – Jeff Hawkins, founder of both Palm and Handspring. It has a touch screen and a stylus for entering text, and can store contact details, diary entries and e-mails. The standard Visor costs £150.
… a digital camera
One of the Springboard modules that will be of particular interest to construction professionals is the Eyemodule, which transforms the Visor into a digital camera. Just slip the module into the slot at the top, and it is ready to take pictures. The image appears on the screen in black and white, although it can be taken in colour or black and white. Snaps can be cropped and attached to e-mails – very useful for sending instant pictures of a structural problem back to base. Unfortunately, the image quality is very basic. The Eyemodule can be bought at Ideo’s web site for $150 (£100).
… and a satellite navigation system
Korean company Navicom has created HandyGPS, a tiny satellite navigation module that can tell you where on earth you are to within 10 m. The golfball-sized antenna is all that protrudes from the Visor when it is in position. Navicom has also developed a range of mapping software that will allow Visor users to create “you are here” maps on screen. It will then be possible to take a picture of a site with Eyemodule and use HandyGPS to record the site’s location on a map. The module will be available in September priced about $160 (£107).