<firstimage=”//static.makeuseof.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/nabaztag-300×300.jpg”>Wireless devices have really made a mark on our daily lives, whether it be in the form of unresponsive keyboards that drop words every 2 seconds or AA-battery guzzling mice – but there is so much more fun to be had with WiFi than any of us realize. Here I present the 2010 MUO Awards for the top cool wireless devices that you’ve probably never heard of.
Before we begin, you might want to check if your wireless network is safe, and learn about how hackers might get into your wireless network, and strengthen your weak wireless signals.
Hilarious – Wifi Bathroom Scales ($150):
For those looking to track their weight – these awesome WiThings scales cut out the tedious and possibly error-prone step of having to manually enter your weight into your app – because they do it automatically over WiFi for you.
The scales record your weight, body mass and BMI, and integrate with the free (and password protected) website or iPhone app, as well as Google Health (so presumably you can now get targeted “lose weight now” ads delivered to your personal browsing experience!), or even Facebook if you are brave enough.
The cool device handles up to 8 family members, and cleverly (scarily) knows who you are without clumsy menu systems. This is the kind of simple tech we like, and it just works. Available from ThinkGeek.
Incredibly Geeky Beyond Belief – Dr Robot X80-H (~$3,500)
The Dr Robot X80-H is not just your garden variety robot, it’s an entire “wifi mobile development platform” – with a head, no less. Rather than settling for a lame pan-and-tilt camera, the latest revision of the X80-H has “five servo animatronic head with integrated IR sensor”.
Capable of an astounding 1 meter per second, it can also carry 10kg of weight – like, a baby from a burning building, or an axe, or something. The unit is of course fully programmable via all your favorite programming languages, and totally compatible with Microsoft Robotics Studio, whatever that is.
Creepy: The WifiRobin Autohacking Router ($120)
Creepy perhaps, but admittedly very clever. The WifiRobin device is an innocent looking compact router, with a small LCD screen menu. Having chosen your target Wifi network, this sneaky little Chinese device sets to works “sniffering” packets, until it has enough to crack the password, at which it re-broadcasts the signal for you to use. Not only does it change the name of the network so that the original owners have no idea they are being leeched from, it also adds a higher level of security so that it itself cannot be hacked!
The device is currently limited to WEP only networks, as cracking WPA secured networks takes significantly more effort. If your Wifi is still secured by WEP, then take this as a big hint that you ought change your security to something more secure.
Genuinely Useful: FOSCAM Wifi Security Camera
As a British citizen, I’m quite used to being recorded by CCTV literally everywhere I go – heck, the newest generation of CCTV cameras even add the ability to talk back to the public to tell them to pick up litter or stop loitering. So it is with no hesitation that I heartily recommend the same level of security for your home with this almost too-easy to install . Just bolt it on the front of your house and give it some power, and your security feed will be viewable anywhere in the world on the Internet, or on your iPhone, so you can see your house being burgled live.
In fact, I’m thinking that one of these combined with an X80-H mounted water pistol would make an incredible autonomous home security system, or at least some rather funny YouTube videos.
Quirky – Nobaztag (~$80)
is a curious little device, but one that might actually prove useful in a variety of niche situations – none of which I can imagine at this precise moment. This Wifi rabbit-thing has a host of features that nobody really needs, the most significant of which is reading out your emails and RSS feeds, and changing color or moving its ears according to the mood. Your friends can also send messages directly to you – a unique feature that no other device has yet been able to achieve *.
* excluding answerphones, computers, cell phones, and pagers.
Like all great things, it’s been hacked too. I can’t wait for someone to publish a directory of these things so some teenager can spam rude words to them!
As for the name – it’s Armenian for “rabbit”. Yes, sorry, I was expecting a rather more colorful story there, too.
Well, I certainly learned a lot over the course of this article, how about you? Hands up who knew Microsoft had an entire Robotics Development Environment, or that Google was secretly collecting health information about us all?
Do you have a favorite awesome wireless device you absolutely must tell the world about? Then tell us about them in the comments!