It's a Snap
Need a diversion from the shark-eat-shark business world? The $999.99 Gatling rubber band gun is sure to impress your office mates. The ultimate evolution of the rubber-band-behind-thumb-and-index- finger method, the four-foot-long toy gun on a tripod sprays 144 rubber bands in machine-gun fashion up to 40 feet away. No missing the office enemy with this one. www.rubberbandguns.com/catalog.htm. A $395 model can be found at www.backyardartillery.com/machinegun/.
For Napsters Only
Naps are usually something only the biggest corporate bigwigs can get away with. When they do, they often turn to the Metronap Pod, a high-tech recliner that looks like something a Star Trek set designer got hold of. The Metronap Pod comes with a privacy shield and/or an ambient sound creator, so you can rest while listening to ocean surf, a babbling brook or gently falling rain. It's designed for 20-minute snoozes; a timer awakens the napper with easy vibrations, sounds and two halogen lights. $7,950. www.metronaps.com
If you have nightmares over your company's hostile takeover, you need Yumemi Koubou, a 35-inch-tall machine that claims to shape your dream world. Dreaming about a night out with Britney Spears? Place her photo on the machine and record your desired dream. Select a fragrance and a musical selection and hit the sack. The Yumeni Koubou lulls you to sleep with soft light play and serenades. Its built-in timer estimates how long before deep REM sleep begins. That's when the machine goes into action, releasing fragrance, playing music and repeating your recorded comments. Made by Japanese giant toy company Takara, Yumeni is coming to America in early 2005. $140. www.takara-usa.com/gifts/dreamworkshop/index.php
For Mr. Player
Playstation 2 has developed the first interactive video game that uses a player's voice to control the on-screen character's actions. The game setup has you, Mr. Player, in a locked room giving your beautiful cohort Rio explicit instructions to avoid bad guys and alien creatures. Rio does what you tell her, up to a point. Say, "Take a shower, Rio!" and she responds, "Not in your lifetime, buddy." The game, called Lifeline, was developed in Japan by Sony and uses voice-recognition software from ScanSoft that understands 5,000 words and 100,000 phrases. You'll need a headphone. $40; available in stores now.