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May 6, 2008

BehindTheMedspeak: Human Exoskeleton


Called ReWalk and pictured in use above, it was invented by Israel-based Argo Medical Technologies.

Long story short: It borrows a concept popularized by the spider and horseshoe crab, namely, "... an exoskeleton, designed to assist disabled people with standing, walking and climbing stairs."

Here's Ranit Mishori's article about the device, from today's Washington Post Health section.

    A Human Exoskeleton

    It's a concept borrowed from the spider and the horseshoe crab: an exoskeleton, designed to assist disabled people with standing, walking and climbing stairs.

    ReWalk, by Argo Medical Technologies of Israel, consists of a lightweight brace-support suit featuring motors at the joints, rechargeable batteries and a computerized control system carried in a backpack.

    The user chooses the desired movement — stand up, take a step, stand still, sit down — on a remote control. Sensors then determine the angle of the user's chest and guide the legs along while allowing the person to maintain his or her balance. The user typically uses crutches while wearing the suit, which is intended to be worn under clothing.

    Now undergoing clinical trials, the device is expected to be available to the public next year.


Watch a video of the device in action here.

Pretty impressive.

I wonder if the inventors(s), back in their youths, saw James Cameron's 1986 film "Aliens," in which Sigourney Weaver as Ripley fights for her life after donning a very formidable exoskeleton.

May 6, 2008 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Designer Scratching Post


From the website:

    Designer Scratching Post

    This sleek and stylish scratching post, made of black sisal and chrome, will not only save your furniture from destruction but will also save your decor from clashing with ordinary pet accessories.

    7"W x 23.5"H.




May 6, 2008 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Who's got your keys?


I learned from Colin Harrison's superb new novel, "The Finder," that all New York City firemen have skeleton keys which allow them to enter any building in the city.

OK, that makes sense.

What I found very interesting (assuming it's true, which it sure would seem to be, judging from the ways of the world) is that though retired firemen are expected to turn in their master keys when they leave the department, few — if any — do.

Then yesterday, reading David Halbfinger's New York Times article about the Pellicano trial in Los Angeles, I happened on the following:

    Wiretapping is really, really easy

    Amateur spooks and crooks need only to learn which pair of wires, known as a cable pair, is associated with someone’s phone number to tap it. The wires can be found in a curbside neighborhood "b-box," if you don’t have the passkey to a central office.

    Every phone company service technician is given copies of two keys that can open nearly all of Southern California's b-boxes, and retired technicians apparently keep them.



May 6, 2008 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Car Hanger Expander


From the website:

Car Clothes Hanger

Handy carrier adds extra hanging space

This handy hanger holds five times more clothes than a standard car hook.


The built-in handle makes it easy to move your dry-cleaning or a trip's worth of clothes from car to home.

Heavy-duty metal construction won't bend or buckle.


$7.95 (clothes and hangers not included).

May 6, 2008 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

How to guarantee I won't feature your whatever in bookofjoe


Send me daily emails with websites or products or designs, concluding with the instruction, "Please review it on your website."

Even more likely to evoke a snicker of derision from all of us here at bookofjoe World Headquarters is an offer of a loaner to try out for two or three weeks.

Excuse me?

A loaner?

So I'm supposed to remember to send it back and pay for the return myself?

This really happens all the time — just ask Shawn Lea, head of my crack research team.

You want me to consider featuring whatever you've got, you send it to me and I like it or trash it or whatever but it sure ain't coming back to you.

May 6, 2008 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Mace Pepper Gel


Pretty scary.

But then, that's the point.

From the website:

    Mace Pepper Spray Gel

    Mace's new patent pending advanced pepper spray product is a sticky gel that has a 10% pepper formulation (1.4% total capsaicinoids).

    Different and better than foam, the sticky gel comes in 1.59 oz. (45g) and 2.79 oz.(78g) canisters, and is propelled out of the canister by compressed air.

    Mace Pepper Spray Gel is a less-than-lethal personal defense device that has the ability to neutralize an assailant effectively from 18 feet away (max. up to 25 feet).

    The Mace gel formula sticks to the face of an assailant [top], leaving him temporarily blinded, which allows for safe detainment by law enforcement and military officials and/or a safe escape by civilians.

    Three year shelf life.

    1.59 oz. can contains about 7 one-second sprays.

    2.79 oz can has about 13 one-second shots.

    The gel is non-flammable and has been tested safely with Tasers and stun guns.

    It is ideal for indoor use and minimizes cross-contamination.

    This is important because streaming pepper sprays can contaminate a home, mall, hospital, business, prison cell or police car with an uncomfortable pepper scent that will take several hours to dissipate.

    The gel formula allows an assailant to be sprayed without contaminating the entire area.

    The pepper scent remains on the affected area as it is suspended in the gel.




May 6, 2008 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

TorrentFreedom.com — 'Show your ISP who's boss'


Long story short: "For $17 a month, TorrentFreedom gives you unlimited bandwidth, 1-Gbps upload/download speeds, and anonymous , encrypted VPN access to shield your shenanigans."

[via the May, 2008 issue of Wired magazine]

May 6, 2008 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Popys Rain Hat


Yesterday I received the following email from joehead Jim Cooley (above):


    Behold, the Popys umbrella hat.

    85 rupees. Just got back from India and brought some home for friends.

    Okay, so it's a gag. But it's pretty darned useful for taking pictures in the rain. I use it here in Seattle.




FunFact: 85 rupees = $2.

FunFact #2: After retiring from baseball in 1979, Hall-of-Famer Lou Brock got involved with a device similar to the Popys.

From his Wikipedia entry: "Brock also lent his name to a unique rain hat, shaped like a miniature umbrella and to be worn at games during showers in lieu of retreating to the concourse. The product was called the 'Brockabrella.'"

Hat tip (as it were) to my crack research team for that one.

May 6, 2008 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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