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August 2008's 7 coolest gadgets revealed

Check out this month's hottest gadgets and gizmo

The sun may not be shining but technology manufacturers are making us sizzle with their latest products. We check out August's hottest gadgets.

Summer may have been a wash-out but the gadget makers aren't letting that affect them. There have been some interesting products announced and launched here in Tokyo in the past few weeks. The highlight has to be Toyota's Winglet, which is sort of like a shrunken version of the Segway transporter. Toyota let me take it for a test drive and it was a lot of fun.

Despite a little nervousness getting on it the first time, it was soon a breeze to drive.

The potentially most significant news of the month was the consortium formed around Sony's TransferJet technology. While there are a few competing standards out there, TransferJet leaves the starting gates with a host of big-names behind.

But frankly, whether it’s this or wireless USB or some other technology, I just can't wait to get rid of all the gadget wires in my life!

Toyota Winglet

It's not very often that we get to see something as futuristic as Toyota's Winglet!

The Segway-like device was developed with engineers from Sony's robotics program and can scoot people around at about 6km per hour, which is the speed of a brisk walk. You ride by standing on it and steer by moving the handle.

The rider pushes a handle forward to make the device move ahead, pulls back to reverse or stop and pushes the handle to the side to turn. Three versions have been developed with the smallest weighing 10kg. Toyota envisages the device will be someday used by people to travel around urban areas and is small enough for a commuter to carry with them on the train or in the trunk of a car, it said.

However the company doesn't have any immediate plans to commercialise the device.

Toyota Winglet

Sony TransferJet

Back at CES in January Sony unveiled a prototype short-range, high-speed wireless data system called TransferJet. Now that system has taken a big step towards commercialisation with the launch of a consortium that will work on promoting it and ensuring gadgets are compatible. TransferJet is a Sony-developed wireless system that can send data at speeds of up to 375 megabits per second (Mbps) over distances of around 30mm.

It's designed to replace the cables that are typically needed to connect gadgets and its speed rivals that of USB 2.0 and Firewire, the two dominant cable-based systems in use today.

The 14 companies include some of the biggest names in consumer electronics including Panasonic, Nikon, Samsung and Toshiba.

NEXT PAGE: More of August's hottest gadgets

  1. Check out August's hottest gadgets and gizmos
  2. Sanyo's contactless Wii charger
  3. The Casio Exilim Zoom EX-Z150

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