Consumer Gadgets

A roundup of trendy and helpful gadgets for construction professionals
 The Visioneer automatically saves paperwork in one plac..  The iRobot Looj 120 automatically cleans gutters

Written by Amber Ridge


Imagine a world where you're on the road, at some trade show or another, and you can take all of your receipts for out-of-pocket expenses, scan them, and upload them to your server at work. No mess, no fuss and you become the hero of the accounting pool for getting all of your expense sheets in on time. Well, you don't have to just imagine it. With the Visioneer Warrior Scanner, a mobile workforce can be every bit as close to the document workflow as the workforce back in the office. It's listed at 10.6 ounces and scans at up to 600 dpi resolution, and can power up via USB port.



The Wireless Sonos Digital Music System is one of those devices that gives the music control freak inside a business -- and you know who you are -- control over the sound in every room inside a building. For solution providers whose customers range from dentists to real estate offices, attaching one of these to a total solution could endear you to the boss.



The RavenWindowwill darken or lighten its composition based on building heat. It uses a thermochromic glazing that darkens passively as it is heated, reducing the solar transmissivity of a window from about 60 percent to 8 percent. Once the glazing cools it will revert back to its clear state.

This self-tinting system reduces solar heat gain and helps lower cooling costs during the hotter months of the year. The tinting is the result of a blending of organic material sandwiched between two layers of glass.



Sony calls it an "HD Workflow Solution" (their words, not ours) so you know they're gunning for a higher-end, commercial sale. The Sony XDCAM EX is a lower-cost, higher-end HD camcorder that weighs in at five pounds, four ounces and is built 7 1/8 by 7 by 12 3/8 inches and lists for about $6,700. For content creators (professional or semi pro) the XDCAM Ex comes with a software editing package as well, making it a solution sale.



The device isn't just a cell phone, but it combines a slider keyboard, Wi-Fi connectivity, web browsing and integrated IM capabilities. If it's used by someone whose business or workgroup has standardized on AIM, for example, it could offer a nice productivity enhancement. It's also nice eye candy.



The X-Flex wallpaper won’t win any fashion awards, but it will make the surface of your walls nearly indestructible. Its unique combination of Kevlar-like material and elastic polymer wrap make it stronger than the wall it is protecting.

Built by X-Flex Systems, the X-Flex Wallpaper is designed to reinforce buildings against natural disasters as well as man-made blasts and flying shrapnel. The wallpaper is so durable that it is being considered for use in U.S. military bases around the world.



Garmin is working to stake out a leadership position in the PC-Electronics-GPS world, and offers a full lineup of both consumer and commercial navigation devices including the Street Pilot i3 -- which installs in an automobile and guides the vehicle's driver with a 32K Color, "sunlight readable" TFT Display. For the corporate driver prone to getting lost, the $299 list price could be made up quickly in eliminating wasted gas while riding around looking for that missed exit.



P3 International makes this Electricity Usage Monitor, which plugs into a wall and measures watt usage of other electric devices. It makes for either a good, cheap tool for solution providers to perform their own performance test on power consumption -- or a device the VAR can leave with a customer to play around with and decide which IT devices burn too much juice and could use an upgrade.



The Scooba 380 preps, scrubs and squeegees tile, hardwood and linoleum floors while automatically avoiding carpets and stairs.



Avoid dangerous heights  and the tedious repositioning of ladders with the Looj 155. This self-propelled cleaning robot blasts through clogs, debris, and sludge clogging up your gutters.



Specifically designed for homes with pets, the Roomba 562 series uses two cleansing bins and an extra set of brushes to clean up pet hair, food and dirt. An on-board scheduling system lets the user preset up to seven different times per week for the Roomba to automatically clean the house.

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