New Amazing Gadgets for Hi-tech Fun

February 18, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. snap on (verb phrase) – to easily and quickly attach a thing to another using a snap
Example:  I snapped my watch on my wrist before leaving the house.

2. synchronize (v.) – to make something work at the same time or the same speed as something else
Example:   Dancers synchronize their movements to keep up with the music.

3. monotony (n) –  lack of variety or change
 Example: The professor sometimes teaches outside the classroom to break the monotony of lessons.

4. miniature (n.) –a small version or model of something
Example:  The museum has miniatures of ships that look like the ones used by Chinese merchants thousands of years ago.

5. rotate (v)-  to turn or make something turn like a wheel around a fixed point
Example:  The toy car can be rotated in opposite directions using a remote control.

Read the text below.

Three new and fun devices from Japan are sure to interest tech lovers.

The first one, Pinoky, is a ring-shaped gadget that can bring anyone’s toy to “life” by making the toy's arms or legs move. The wireless device is first snapped on a toy’s arm or leg. A mechanism inside the gadget then pushes a bar against the toy’s limbs, making it seem as though the toy is waving or kicking.

Pinoky can also remember and repeat previous movements with its recording and playback functions. It can also coordinate and synchronize multiple actions with another Pinoky nearby.

The gadget was created by ERATO, a research program funded by the Japan Science and Technology Agency. Unfortunately, Pinoky is only a research prototype for now and will not be sold at stores.

The next device is particularly of good use to smartphone and tablet users. The Droid Phone × Phone, a telephone receiver shaped like Google’s Android robot, can be connected to a smartphone through its headphone jack and used as a phone speaker. When making a call, one simply has to press down the left arm of the robot to activate the receiver. The voice of the person on the other line can be heard through the robot. To end a call, the robot’s head is pushed down.

While its functions may not be so different from those of a normal telephone, this device gives smartphone users the option to make hands-free calls. The Droid Phone x Phone can now be found in retail and online stores and comes in green and pink.

Finally, for those who want a little break from workplace monotony, the USB Missile Launcher by may help bring some office fun.

The miniature missile launcher is attached to a computer’s USB port, and can fire tiny missiles up to 5 meters in the air. It also has a camera on the front so the person controlling it can see potential targets. The launcher can also be rotated horizontally and vertically using a mouse. The gadget is also already available online at a reasonable price.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         What is the most important factor that you consider before buying new gadgets? Why is this important to you?
·         Are new gadgets such as those featured in the article useful? Why or why not? Do you sometimes still buy things that are not really useful?

Discussion B

·         If you were to create a new gadget for yourself what would it be and why?
·         What kind of gadget or technology do you think scientists and researchers should focus on making? Why should they make such a device?


February 18, 2012