Macworld hardware report: The serious and the wacky
SAN FRANCISCO (IDG) -- Making their appearance at day one of Macworld Expo were quite a few hardware peripherals, a term used loosely for some of the wacky products on the show floor.
So not everyone needs the ability to have Adequate Spatial Sampling for their noggin. But the handy Dense Sensor Array EEG from Electrical Geodesics does just that. Available in a 64 or 128 Channel Electrode array, it gives an excellent EEG, applies quickly, and is comfortable to wear for hours. The information gathered while wearing the "helmet" -- which looks like a seismograph print out -- can then be made into a QuickTime movie, and provide doctors with needed information about the brain of whomever is wearing the device.
Wacom Technology's handy, and inexpensive, Graphire provides users with both a USB pen and a wireless mouse, and now you can get one to match your iMac. For anyone who likes using a pen instead of a mouse for creative art projects on the computer (in Photoshop or Canvas for example), the tablet is an ideal device and sells for just $99.
Also from Wacom is the eye-catching PL-300/400 LCD Display Tablets with Erasing UltraPen. A bit higher priced than its colorful peer, it allows you edit images, draw, and even add your signature to documents. The best part is, you touch the pen to the display so the feedback is instant.
Looking at the SANcube from MicroNet Technology, you can't tell if it's some kind of high tech disco light, or a sub-woofer that features an LED display. So what is it? It's a storage device ideal for small groups of users who need fast access to lots of space. Using FireWire, the SANcube can support up to four users at once, and is configurable for up to 220 GB of space. And since it's a FireWire connection, expect a performance increase from 100Base-T Mac networks, up to 30MB/second. Not to mention that it looks cool and costs a lot less than comparable technologies such as Fibre Channel.
SoftAcoustik attempted to bankrupt a few audiophiles by showing a pair of $2,000 FireWire speakers. But the coolest they had to offer was the world's first FireWire Hi-Fi digital gateway, allowing you to connect to your stereo digitally. Best of all, it can act as a digital sound card for recording from DAT (digital audio tape) onto your hard drive through FireWire for less than $500.
A little less high-tech, and a little less-expensive, is the Laptop e-clipse from Hoodman. This $40 Nylon hood springs open like a pop-tent to go over your laptop's screen for easier viewing outside. Besides cutting out glare, it also lets you work in privacy, so nobody will be able to steal your brilliant plans for a car that runs on apple juice.
NEC Technologies showed the PetiScan, a tiny flatbed and handheld scanner. Powered by the USB port it plugs into, the $149, 300 by 600 dpi scanner can only handle a postcard-size image, but included stitching software from Presto means plain old 8-1/2 by 11 paper shouldn't pose too much of a problem.
And just when you thought your portable MP3 options were limited for the Mac, Creative Labs has come up with the Nomad II. Not only does this puppy play MP3 files, but it can also record your voice and tune in FM radio stations. For about $200, you'll be able to buy one soon -- but without any memory. That'll cost extra, and a model with a 64MB SmartMedia card (the current limit for this device) will cost about $270, similar to Diamond Multimedia's Rio 500.
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