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How Drunk Are You? Just Ask Your iPod

By Donald Baker MacNewsWorld ECT News Network
Jun 30, 2008 4:00 AM PT

Since the release of the iPod, the market has flooded with accessories ranging from the mundane to the radical. All are meant to further incorporate the tiny device into another aspect of daily life.

How Drunk Are You? Just Ask Your iPod

Many of these add-ons are innovative solutions for common problems. Others are just gimmicks targeting consumers with a taste for silly novelty items.

iBreath Tests for iDrunkenness

The iBreath is an accessory for the iPod that allows you to transmit your music on an FM radio frequency so you can listen in your car using a radio tuned to your preset channel. This is a great feature for cars that don't have the necessary hookups for iPods or similar devices built in.

The FM transmitter feature is common to several devices; however, the iBreath comes with a bonus. The iBreath can actually be used as a portable breathalyzer test. Blowing into the attached tube is all that is required to get a measurement of your blood alcohol content (BAC) within seconds.

The device apparently measures accurately to within 0.01 percent BAC with a maximum limit of 0.12. This is the only iPod accessory I've seen with the potential to keep you out of jail. The iBreath snaps on the end of your iPod for easy carrying. No longer will you have to carry bulky breathalyzer equipment with you to all of your favorite hangouts (if that's what you've been doing before) -- just take your iPod on your late-night excursions, and you're ready to go.

Personally, I would not trust my life to any such device, but the iBreath could help indicate when it's just time to call a cab instead of driving home. David Steele Enterprises developed the iBreath, which retails for US$50. This is an attachment no hip partygoer should go without. I am anxiously waiting for a waterproof, beerproof model.

Pocket-Sized 80-Inch Screen

The iPod nano is certainly an impressive piece of technology. Unfortunately, the incredibly small screen can be frustrating with any sort of long-term viewing. Again, David Steele Enterprises has developed a solution. The same people that came up with the iBreath have released iPod Video Glasses. These three-ounce glasses are made to emulate the experience of an 80-inch screen with true stereo. The resolution of the glasses is 640 by 480, which isn't as detailed as the resolution in an 80-inch plasma TV. Luckily, the glasses are much more portable.

iPod Video Glasses come with a built-in lithium battery, which provides up to five hours of play time. The glasses are compatible with most video sources, including any device with RCA hookups. It is now possible to get the experience of watching a big screen TV with your portable DVD player. iPod Video Glasses retail for $299; similar products can be found from Myvu and Vusix. This sort of device could be very useful for people with less-than-perfect vision who would rather not tote around a larger portable video player.

Musical Pants

Levi Strauss has attempted to gain an even larger share of the young-adult clothing market with the RedWire DLX jeans. These jeans have a special pocket for your iPod with a docking station inside the pocket. A joystick attached to the watch pocket is used to control the device while docked, and a retractable headphone storage device built into the jeans removes the risk of tangles. The headphones are above the watch pocket and are conveniently located near the joystick controller.

These jeans are pricy -- about $250 -- and, as you can imagine, cleaning them means more than simply throwing them into the washer. All electronic parts must be removed before cleaning. It's unlikely that this high-tech clothing technology will become widely used unless the price goes down -- a second mortgage should not be required to buy a new wardrobe.

Make the Chair Go Boom

iRockerOnline has developed a new chair for your listening pleasure. The Boom Chair B42 has audio jacks for your iPod so you can listen in style. It has a pair of three-inch speakers for relaxing with soothing music, or blasting away with the latest action movie. The design is similar to the seat of a sports car. The Boom Chair even folds like a car seat for easy storage and transportation. The head rest is easily adjusted to provide the most comfort.

This chair retails for $199. It would stand out in any room, though the small speakers may not be powerful enough for a truly immersive experience. Also, the Boom Chair has no legs -- anyone using the chair is mere inches above the floor, so don't count on using one as your everyday office seat.

iPhone in Shining Armor

The iPhone has become incredibly popular since its release, offering a long list list of features. The touch screen removes the need for large keyboards or number pads, which cuts down on size.

Unfortunately, the sophisticated technology used in the design of the iPhone is far from rugged. Several consumers complain about the iPhone breaking due to small impacts that cheaper phones would survive.

A naked iPhone is simply too expensive and delicate to use in high-risk conditions. OtterBox is now producing a new line of cases designed to greatly increase the resilience of your iPhone. The iPhone Armor Case is designed to hold your iPhone securely while preventing water, sand or dust from damaging your iPhone. A thin membrane allows for full touch screen functionality. The case makes it easy to snap your phone inside or remove it when the extra protection isn't necessary.

The iPhone Armor Case retails for $69.95. It's bulky, which is bad for everyday use, but the shock resistant case can save your iPhone from certain destruction. Unfortunately, the armor does not allow for normal use of the phone without a headset. This requirement might be a nuisance, but it's necessary for the degree of protection the case provides. I would highly recommend the case for anyone toting an iPhone while engaging in activities such as sports or yard work. It could save you a lot of heartache.


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