Great New Gadgets for Work or Play

By Hannah Wallace August 31, 2005


Techies assure us computers are going to be integrated into almost everything. So it should be no surprise that tire maker Pirelli has introduced the Cyber Tyre, which can communicate with a vehicle's master computer, telling it the driver is taking a curve too fast and the tire is in danger of losing traction. At that point, the master computer applies brakes and throttle relief, saving a fool from his actions. Using Bluetooth technology, the newest Pirelli tire will place a wireless call to inform the driver: "Sir, this is the right rear tire and I'm about two pounds under proper pressure. Please exit to a service station when convenient and properly inflate me." Coming this month to a tire dealership near you. Prices TBA.


Here's the perfect gift for that green tree hugger in your office: Gardens-in-a-Bag, plants that grow in the same waterproof bag in which you buy them. You put one on your desk, open the bag, put some seed from an enclosed tin into the soil, add water and watch your plant grow. Plants need light, so the Garden-in-a-Bag folks suggest placing it on a windowsill or directly under a desk lamp. Choices include basil, oregano, Italian parsley, chives, lavender, Alpine strawberry and mini-tomato. Each Garden-in-a-Bag is $8.


A built-in camera is the hottest feature demanded by cell phone consumers. For those rainy days of late summer, now comes Wavecase, a housing that fits 95 percent of all cell phones and is waterproof to depths of more than 60 feet. It comes in four colors. It's $62, but you'll have to order from a German dealer until these reach the United States. Speaking of underwater: You can now take your iPod under or play MP3 music while you swim laps, surf or water ski. The case and earplugs are $149.95.


A friend in North Carolina has a basement with a huge wall-mounted projection TV where he "races" Dale Earnhardt's black Chevy No. 3 in near-photorealistic views of tracks on the screen. Another friend has a $2,000 jet cockpit from which he plays aerial combat games. Enter the newest toy from Australia's Serious Racing company, a Formula One shell and cockpit from which a gamer can control and experience racing on the world's great tracks against the world's greatest drivers. It's super-realistic, with force feedback controls (meaning the steering wheel has "feel" as you corner), incredible surround sound and motion vibration that comes through the seat. The cockpit is as real as a real racecar's. Starting price: $10,000.

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