May 122006

Have you morphed from a jovial party-animal to a cranky old party-pooper? Was it you that called the police at 2am to complain about the noise from your neighbour’s kid’s 18th? Or are you just tired of gangs of pimply youths hanging around outside your shop, wrestling and blocking the footpath?

Here’s a gadget to warm the hearts of the anti-teen brigade everywhere.

Welsh inventor and cranky old party-pooper Howard Stapleton solved the problem of rowdy teenagers for a local shopkeeper in 2005 with a device called The Mosquito which sends out a high-frequency sound that can be heard within a range of about 15 to 20 metres by most people under 20 and hardly anyone over 30.

Stapleton tested the device on his children before coming up with the perfect pitch – a pulsing tone broadcast at 75 decibels designed to irritate young people so much that they move away from the area after a few minutes.

The shopkeeper was delighted with the results on local troublesome teens and was quoted saying – “It’s very difficult to shoplift when you have your fingers in your ears.”

Now marketed by UK company Compound Security Devices, the device takes advantage of a phenomenon called ‘presbycusis’ – age related hearing loss. From the age of about 18, all humans slowly lose their ability to hear upper-frequency sounds.

Unfortunately the spread of the iPod may render the Mosquito ineffective – studies have shown that some 18 year olds have hearing loss equivalent to that of the average 60 year old following years of listening to personal stereos at too-high volumes.

Bottom Line: Unleash your inner party-pooper
Price: about Au $1350

Apr 152006

james_bondIf you’re a James Bond fan, and you’ve always had a hankering to have your very own Q  delivering you-beaut wearable gadgets – boy, will you be impressed by these! MP3 sunglasses have been around for a year or two now, so prices are dropping and quality rising. Now could be the time to indulge your Inner Bond.

Standard inclusions are a rechargeable lithium battery and USB-compatible player built into the sunglass arms.

(The USB function means that – yes, it doubles as a flash drive. Could be the perfect place to store those secret files, Miss Moneypenny.)

Controls are usually on the top of the arms, which also hide the swivel-down earphones when not in use.

Oakley –

The original and therefore, of course, the dearest.  Ever so cool, the Oakley Thump and new Thump 2 brand themselves as “the world’s first digital eyewear.”  Between $400 and $600 gets you light, stylish lenses made from something called ‘Plutonite.’ Sounds good enough to impress Q.

Linophir –
The bargain-priced Chinese-made Aigo sunglasses still look the part, and deliver the audio goods without breaking the bank. The 256 MB version retail for just $129, while for $229, you’ll get 1 GB of storage.