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Measure your blood-alcohol levels, reduce stress and wake up in different ways with these handy devices

Agam Shah Today’s Top Stories or Other Hardware Stories
May 23, 2007
(IDG News Service) --

Looking for quick answers to problems? Gadgets are here to help. Blood-alcohol levels can be hard to estimate, so OmegaPoint Systems LLC's BreathKey keychain attachment provides an instant reading of a user's blood-alcohol level, potentially saving lives from drunken driving. After a long day of work, Sharper Image Corp.'s StressEraser can relieve stress by easing breathing and coordinating it with a person's continuous heart rate. Two alarm clocks from Hammacher Schlemmer and Co. -- the Flying Alarm Clock and the Peaceful Progression Wake Up Clock -- make it easier for sloths to wake up.

Keychain breathalyzer

It's hard for alcohol drinkers not to be intoxicated by OmegaPoint's BreathKey, which can gives a blood-alcohol level reading in seconds.

A user first needs to press a button in the middle of the breathalyzer, which displays the previous blood-alcohol level, and must then blow into a hole on the device for about four seconds. A tiny screen then displays the current blood-alcohol content level, which determines if it is safe for a person to drive, among other things.

The legal blood-alcohol content limit for drivers is 0.08% in the U.S., but impairment starts at 0.04%, according to OmegaPoint. Though approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the device will not prevent users from getting arrested by law enforcement for drunk driving and should be used only as a tool to determine blood-alcohol levels for the purpose of deciding whether or not to drive, OmegaPoint warns. For $69.99, it's not a bad price to pay for those who love a pint in the evening. The device is available at the BreathKey Web site.

Relieving the distress of stress

The science of effective breathing is behind Sharper Image's StressEraser, a yogic contraption that relaxes a user's body and mind by countering stress nerves by synchronizing effective breathing with a user's continuous heart rate.

Stress activates the "sympathetic nerves," activating stress response and increasing heart rates, brain activity and breathing levels. Using an infrared fingertip pulse sensor and algorithm software, the StressEraser measures and charts the effect of sympathetic nerves on a user's heart rate as waves on an LCD. Based on that feedback, the StressEraser provides instructions to coordinate deep breathing with the continuous heart rate to activate the "parasympathetic nerves," which counters sympathetic nerves and reduces stress levels. The device can store the charts to display over time.

At $300, the device is costly, and Sharper Image provides a 60-day trial to see if it works. It is available on Sharper Image's Web site.

Acrobatic alarm clock

The Flying Alarm Clock from Hammacher Schlemmer is a real wake-up call for deep sleepers. When an alarm goes off, the clock launches a small wheel that flies around the room, and the alarm stops only after the wheel is installed back in the clock's base. The wheel rotates up to nine inches high and is a great way to get sloths out of their beds. The $39.95 alarm clock is available at Hammacher Schlemmer's Web site.

A less acrobatic alarm clock is the Peaceful Progression Wake Up Clock, also from Hammacher Schlemmer, which uses a wake-up alarm ritual including ambient light, aromatherapy and melodic sounds. When setting up the wake-up time, a user can place aromatherapy beads into the aroma bowl and choose a melodic sound. Over a half-hour prior to wake-up time, the clock gradually increases ambient light, aromas and melodic sounds to awaken sleepers. At wake-up time, a buzzer goes off. The clock also operates in reverse, slowly putting a user to sleep.

Sounds available in the clock include nightfall, thunderstorm, Zen melody, mountain stream, songbirds and ocean surf. In addition to the aroma beads provided by the company (energy, morning caf, stress relief, lavendar), users can use their own aromatherapy oils. In case power goes out, the $49.95 clock also operates on two AA batteries for backup. It is available at Hammacher Schlemmer's Web site.

We all Groove with iGroove

Klipsch Audio Technologies has announced its Klipsch iGroove SXT iPod Speaker, a two-way speaker system that can dock an iPod and deliver video to TV sets. At four pounds, this speaker system is portable and delivers strong sound throughout a room with the help of built-in woofers and tweeters. iPods can also be docked in the middle of the speakers to recharge iPods, and an S-video output delivers video to TV sets. It works with all iPods, according to the company. The $169.95 speaker system comes with a remote control. More information about the speaker system is available at Klipsch's Web site.

source: computerworld.com

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