Tag Archive | "electronics"

Hospitalized Kids Get Games

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game knights photo for sag harbor express 003

Imagine being confined to a bed for days on end.  You cannot venture outside, you lack the freedom to really move about, and you’re stuck in a room that’s made to look generic and bland.  As if that wasn’t bad enough, you’re here because you’re sick—and you’re only a kid.

“You know, younger kids who are in hospitals, they worry,” said Ben Snow, a seventh grader at Pierson Middle School.  Though he doesn’t know from first-hand experience, he and his older brother Max, a sophomore, take this image to heart.  Last year, they founded the Hamptons chapter of a non-profit organization called Game Knights, which collects pre-owned DVDs, video games and electronic devices to donate to local hospitals to give to children when they’re sick.  “These video game consoles distract you so you won’t really think about your condition,” Ben continued.

The idea was born from a good friend of Max’s, a high school student in Manhattan who realized the benefits of hand-held electronics while briefly hospitalized one summer.  “He was sitting in the hospital with literally nothing to do,” Max said.  He continued to explain that then his friend’s parents brought him an Xbox to use while he was confined to his hospital room, and it proved to be a much-needed distraction.  He knew not every patient had such a luxury, so upon leaving the hospital Max’s friend donated the game system and made it his mission to continue with such donations.

Admiring their friends’ work and eager to help make a difference, Max and Ben decided last spring to take up the mantle and form Game Knights Hamptons.  Centered here in Sag Harbor, the boys said they already have about 10 members and are set to make their first donation to the children’s wing of the Stony Brook Medical Center next Thursday, November 10.

“I knew something was missing from our school,” Max said.  “We collect food and toys around the holidays, but besides that [Pierson] doesn’t have a real organized charity.”

Most of last year, Max and Ben tried to make Game Knights more of a prominent fixture on campus.  The boys had to pitch the idea to administrators at Pierson Middle/High School and gain approval before soliciting donations and volunteers who could use the charity as a viable option for completing service hours.

“I don’t think you would find a person that would denounce a charity that benefits sick people; [the administrators] were happy about it,” Max said.  “But that doesn’t mean that right then and there it was accepted and automatically mainstream.”  When asked how much time the boys spent trying to get the program to where it is now—poised to make its first drop-off—Max stared straight ahead and with a straight face he didn’t pause or hesitate before replying: “Oodles.”

After discussions with administrators, and after giving a presentation to a collection of middle schoolers and their parents, Max and Ben were ultimately allowed to set-up a drop-box inside the school where students can now donate unwanted DVDs and video games.  (There is also a drop-box at the .)

Their donation next week will include roughly 40 DVDs and video games, along with 10 brand new, portable DVD players and an Xbox 360, which were given to the group by the father of one of Game Knight’s founding members.  Plus, with proceeds from a bake sale the boys held at Pierson last year, in addition to money donated by two Sag Harbor parents, the Game Knights Hamptons has purchased a new iPad II to add to the mix.

“This is an amazing donation because it’s our first endeavor,” said Gay Snow, the boys’ mother.  She has helped the boys organize the charity and will drive them to the hospital next Thursday to deliver their gift.

It’s somewhat ironic, she continued, because neither Max nor Ben actually play video games. “They’re very addictive in nature,” she confirmed.  In fact, the Snow household has been “unplugged” for at least two years’ running, Gay noted.  “They’re ok every once in a while,” she continued.  “But, in this instance, when you’re in a setting when you’re convalescing, they’re actually therapeutic.”

Gadget-o-Rama 2011

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web sunglasses

The Five Best Gadgets at Consumer Electronics Show
By Anetta Nowosielska

By now you have probably heard about Lady Gaga’s latest collaboration. No, it’s not a dance tune with Madonna that will be on a permanent rotation on every radio station. This time the monstrous pop phenomenon is hooking up with Polaroid to produce Polarez GL20, sunglasses that contain a built-in camera and two 1.7″ OLED screens that can immediately display the photos you have taken right in your face. Come next holiday season you’ll also be able to upload photos to the web right from these very glasses. This is some super duper, futuristic gizmo that could not have found a better spokesperson, who did, after all, wear a dress made out of skirt steak to an award ceremony.

Polarez’ debut took place in Las Vegas during the recent Consumer Electronics Show, world’s largest consumer technology trade show. From home robots to fancy kitchen aids to electronic marvels all about to hit the consumer market, CES is a bit of a checkpoint for how our daily lives are about to be impacted by the latest in electronics. But since I’m not best qualified to assess the significance of the new Bilo e-reader (if I could I would still be using the old, bulky Motorola cellphone,) I’ve asked Melissa Kelley, a self-proclaimed techie, who owns a landscape design company and calls Sag Harbor home, to rank the usefulness of the gadgets heralded as the next best thing.

Toshiba’s CELL TV
A couch potato’s wish come true, Toshiba unveiled CELL TV that operates with gesture technology. One simply has to wave their hands in a specific motion in the air to control the menu, fast-forward movies and turn the volume up or down.
Price and availability: unknown/2011
Melissa’s verdict: It beats looking for the remote or the replacing of dead batteries… this feels very “clap on, clap off …the clapper.”

TCL 3-D TV, without the glasses
3-D TV systems are about to hit the stores. Good news is that the same experience reserved until now for Disney movies at your cinema of choice will be available in your living room. Naturally, the home system will require 3-D glasses, which are expensive and goofy looking not to mention in some cases have caused headaches and nausea.
TCL Corporation has added a layer of rippled lenses to the front of the TV screen to produce the three-dimensional effect taking out the need for 3D. “Basically, we put the glasses that you’d be wearing on the TV,” a TCL spokeswoman said.
Price/availability: unknown/2011
Melissa’ verdict: Fantastic and fun with no pieces to lose.

Inter Reader
This hand-held device scans printed text, converts it to voice and then reads it aloud. Hold it over a page of a book, snap a high-res image of the text and the thing will read it aloud to you almost immediately. It also plays documents you transfer from a computer.
Price/availability: $1500/now
Melissa’s verdict: Why not just read it?

LG Smart Appliance Management System
This year LG unveiled its technology that offers a complete smart solution that lets consumers manage their homes in a more centralized and convenient way. For example, the system easily identifies what is in the refrigerator, as well as where certain items are located and when they expire. This information is also accessible via smart phones or tablet PCs, allowing consumers to reference this while grocery shopping. For minor problems – refrigerator door left open, ice-maker switched off, washing machine off-balance – the appliance alerts the owner either on its display panel or for future models, via a Wi-Fi connection, on the consumer’s smartphone or tablet PC.
Price/availability: unknown/2011
Melissa’s verdict: Now this makes sense. Practical uses for technology are always exciting.

Withing’s Blood Pressure Monitor
Smartphone-connected blood pressure monitor that transfers home blood pressure readings onto the iPhone. Users then can send that data to a doctor, personal trainer and friends on social networks.
Price/availability: $129/now
Melissa’s verdict: Must we broadcast every thing these days? Sometimes it is nice to have personal interaction especially with your doctor.