Inspecting (Digital) Gadgets
Add-on Products Taking Digital Imaging Experience to New Heights
By Diane Berkenfeld
Casio's Wrist Camera; Digi-Frame's DF-57;
Old Dick Tracy cartoons (and comic strips) were filled with scenes of the detective using his two-way wrist radio which was complete with a screen to view the caller. Captain Kirk's yeoman Rand on Star Trek carried a data pad and stylus not unlike today's PDAs. In the movie Tron, Jeff Bridges' character was trapped inside a computer video-game. Ouch! Today there are a variety of game devices and software programs that give you the sensation of being a part of the game without the trouble Jeff found himself in. Characters in George Orwell's 1984 found themselves constantly watched by Big Brother - don't turn around, you might just find "They" are watching you!
And James Bond had Q and his laboratory of scientists creating a plethora of gadgets to help the secret agent get out of sticky predicaments. Some of these include: A Rolliflex camera with a recording device in From Russia With Love; a helmet camera in You Only Live Twice; a rocket firing Nikon camera in The Man With The Golden Gun; a cigarette lighter camera in Moonraker; a binocular camera in For Your Eyes Only; a TV watch and video camera in Octopussy; a video camera that determines the identity of a subject from a central computer (Ed. note: This is reality today.) in A View To A Kill; a Hasselblad camera that can be broken apart and reassembled as a gun and a Polaroid camera that emits laser beams and takes X-ray photos in License To Kill; and a silver tray that doubles as an X-ray document scanner in Goldeneye.
Agate's Q. drive.
Its a bird, a plane, a camera!
Although we don't have room to highlight all the gadgets and gizmos available today, the following includes a sampling of the fun and exciting products you can stock and sell to heighten your customer's imaging experience.
Last year Casio introduced a wristwatch that took black-and-white digital pictures. This year Casio debuts the WQV3D-8 (metal band) and WQV3-1 (resin band) color wristwatch digital cameras. With a CMOS sensor, they can capture up to 80 full color images that can be transferred to computer for viewing or e-mailing. A grayscale LCD panel acts as both viewfinder and playback monitor. The camera/watch can transfer data to computer or another wrist camera using IR data exchange and will be available next month. www.casio.com
Turn a PDA into a digital camera - Kodak's newest PalmPix for the m500 and m505 series Palm PDAs is a sleek accessory that takes digital images. www.kodak.com
For the HP Jordana Pocket PC crowd, HP offers the CompactFlash type 1 camera card to capture images and record audio. The CF type 1 camera card features optical and digital viewfinders and a swivel lens capable of rotating 180 degrees. www.hp.com
Visor's Handspring users can turn their PDA into a digicam with the addition of the Eyemodule. The Eyemodule unit integrates into the Visor's springboard module port. The Eyemodule2 raises the ante by offering mini-movie making capability, 640x480 resolution, and more. www.visor.com
Need a digital camera that is even smaller? Try one of the many pen cameras available. Aiptek offers three versions of their Pen Cam. The Pen Cam 2 features a VGA CMOS sensor, and with interpolation software the images can be bumped up to XGA. Eight MB of built-in SDRAM allows for still image shooting, full motion video in two modes; and with USB connection the ability to videoconference over the Internet. www.aiptek.com
Mind your media
The Q. is a remarkably small USB hard drive. Available in capacities of 16, 32, and 64 MB, it plugs into the computer's USB port and is durable enough to carry on a keychain. The Q. allows you to leave your stacks of floppies at home. www.agate.com
For transporting really big digital image files or other large data files, SmartDisk's FireLite is a 5 GB drive that is built for travel. The FireLite drive connects to computer by FireWire for lightening fast transfers. This drive fits in the palm of your hand, purse, or shirt pocket. www.smartdisk.com
Want to be able to accept all of the major types of digital media with one card reader? Imation will begin shipping the FlashGO in September. The FlashGO is a USB card reader that accepts CompactFlash, SmartMedia, MultiMediaCard, SecureDigital, MemoryStick and the IBM MicroDrive. Never worry about being able to read multiple media formats again. www.imation.com
Ceiva Logic brings the second generation Ceiva digital picture frame to market this summer. The Ceiva II's features include a CompactFlash card reader, speaker to play audio files accompanying the images, and IR remote control for operating menu options. Interchangeable mattes and frames also allow your customers to customize the frame to their style. Also new this year, members of the Ceiva Network can order prints through Ceiva.com and will eventually be able to order prints directly from Fujicolor Processing through their Ceiva frames. www.ceiva.com