Rumour & Humour: Bluetooth beyond the earbud

With Ontario recently joining the ranks of provinces that prohibit drivers from using any hand-held electronic devices to text, email or talk while behind the wheel, now seems like an ideal time to survey six of the more innovative (read: peculiar) Bluetooth gadgets to hit the market as of late:

Shoes: the “Compass and Blue” shoes from Isaac Daniel build on the recent GPS-equipped footwear “trend” by incorporating Bluetooth technology that can, say, update Facebook with your jogging location via your mobile phone. (There was no word on whether the system could be suspended when you enter a Tim Horton’s.) The shoes can also be outfitted to monitor heart rate, speed, and body temperature. To transmit this data, the shoes’ sole contains a modem and antenna. Interested parties can pre-order the shoes now on Isaac Daniel’s Web site for $150.

Ring: You know that “call me” gesture? That’s how Argentine design firm <a href="http://www.bck-id.com) BCK says its Colour Rings should be used, with a yellow ring fitting halfway down the pinkie, and the pink one fitting on the thumb (should that not be the other way around? Something lost in translation, perhaps?). Kind of gives new meaning to “talk to the hand.” The device is still a work in progress, so no pricing is yet available.

Garage door opener: Looking to save yourself a few seconds each day? Building your own Batmobile? The Blueguard from Cleveland-based EMX is able to open garage doors (or Bat Caves) when its cellphone-toting users are as much as 33 feet away. It costs around $200.

Sunglasses: Here’s another reason to wear your sunglasses at night: the Tri-Specs can connect to an MP3 Player or cellular phone so you can rock out or chat via retractable earbuds that automatically activate the shades when extended. Tri-Specs cost around $220 a pair and come in several colours.

Earmuffs: Ideal for Canadian winters (apologies for using the “W” word), the aptly named Stereo Toasters are oversized padded headphones that feature a snug, behind-the-head fit that keeps ears warm. They’re available in seven colors from herringtoncatalog.com for about $25.

Ski gloves: It seems winter and Bluetooth are a good fit, as the G.Cell GX-1 Bluetooth Ski Gloves from Swany America feature a built-in speaker and microphone for chairlift conversations or tunage. But it had better be along ski season, as they’ll set you back about $500.

What’s next? We humbly suggest a Bluetooth Tooth, which could recharge when the user speaks and chews. It could come in white, gold, or yellow for committed smokers. Early retirement, here we come…

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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